In the mid-1980s, the idea of white middle-class Jewish rappers may have provoked laughter or outright disdain, but the Beastie Boys' albums and singles have shown that they are anything but a joke. After hip-hop and rock fused into the music of choice for rebellious American youth, it became increasingly clear that the Beastie Boys deserved to be regarded as true musical innovators. The release of 1989's PAUL'S BOUTIQUE began the Beasties' transition from lewd, party-seeking prankers to sophisticated, party-throwing sonic pioneers, with band members ditching the six-packs and gold chains in favor of Buddhism and social activism. The trio's newfound maturity and good-natured vibe only enhanced their success, leading to a continued streak of hit albums. Not bad for three New York City weisenheimers.