The Beastie Boys opened their Licensed to Ill album with this jam, which samples John Bonham's drum intro from Led Zeppelin's "When The Levee Breaks."
The Beastie Boys were the first artists to sample the drums on "When The Levee Breaks," but many others have gone on to do so, including Björk on "Army Of Me," Eminem on "Kim," (crazy) Enigma on "Return To Innocence" and Sophie B. Hawkins on "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover." (one of the best fuckin songs ever)
The group didn't have a sampler when they recorded Licensed to Ill, so getting the Led Zeppelin sample required recording it to a reel-to-reel tape machine and looping it.
Writing in the Beasties Boy Book (2018), founding member Mike D described the code of the music scene he was into. “When you first discover punk, it’s sort of your job to hate classic rock,” he said. But that would change.
After hooking up with producer Rick Rubin and shifting the group’s focus to rap, the Beasties came to love Zep and other ’70s rock titans. On “Rhymin and Stealin,” the first track of the band’s debut album, a Black Sabbath guitar riff backs the rhymes of Ad-Rock, MCA, and Mike D.
But you could argue the drum work of Zep’s John Bonham plays an even bigger part in the song. That monster drumbeat came straight from the final track of Led Zeppelin IV.
Rick Rubin is an absolute genius. Not the first time that's been stated in these blogs/ Picturing him looping the beat and recording it on a reel to reel in order to pull it off on the Beastie's opening track is really something.
The track also samples the great Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf".
One of the highlights of the song is in fact when Black Sabbath's guitarist Tony Lommi's solo is layered in over the drums from "When The Levee Breaks". A true mashup before they were even a thing.
The last epic song sampled in this tune comes from The Clash – ‘I Fought the Law’
If they attempted to produce this song today, with the clearance rates and regulations it would cost a billion dollars. Impossible to do.