By 1994, it had been five years since the Beastie Boys shocked fans when they made a radical turn with their music, beginning with 1989’s Paul’s Boutique. Though it fell short of the phenomenal success of 1986’s Licensed to Ill, it was a winner with critics, and in time would achieve multi-platinum status.
Then in May of that year, the Beastie Boys would find themselves back on the top of the charts, with their fourth album Ill Communication. It knocked Ace of Base’s The Sign from the number one spot, thanks to the single “Sabotage”, which was released back in January (four months before the album), and featured the now-classic video, which was directed by Spike Jonze (who would go on to direct films including the Oscar-nominated Her), and parodied 1970’s cop shows.
Ill Communication was produced by the Beastie Boys and Mario Caldato Jr., and among the guest collaborations included Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest and Biz Markie. Along with “Sabotage”, three more singles were released from the album including “Sure Shot” (which featured another classic video). The album received mostly positive reviews, and has sold over three million copies in the U.S. It would also go on to be considered as one of the best albums of the 1990's by publications including Spin, Rolling Stone and Village Voice.