Album: Licensed to Ill
Label: Def Jam/Columbia
Producer: Beastie Boys, Rick Rubin
You could look at “Fight For Your Right To Party” as Rick Rubin's most contrived song—with its pop-rock three power-chord riff and whiteboy rallying cry—an attempt to leverage the Beasties' white privilege for a shot at pop stardom. Or you could look at the song as a something honest, another facet of Rubin's and the Beastie's innate and diverse sensibilities, which ran the gamut from punk to pop to hip-hop and back.
Like the best of Rick's work, the song is stupid in the best possible way. Self-consciously stupid and stupid fresh.
Both viewpoints are correct.
“Fight For Your Right To Party” was the song that turned the Beasties into multi-million sellers. It was the song that turned Def Jam from a boutique label into a serious business victory for its distributor, Columbia/CBS Records. It was the song that made people in the pop world—record companies, radio programmers, MTV—really notice Rick Rubin. Without the song, history might have been very different.
It helps that the song, like the best of Rick's work, is stupid in the best possible way. Self-consciously stupid and stupid fresh. The “worst shit.” Again, here's that Rubin high-low: Satisfies those who take it at face value, entertains those who notice the nudge and the wink.