The Aquatic Sessions — A Rumoured & Unreleased Beastie Boys Album

James Gaunt
9 min readNov 25, 2020
Beastie Boys in 1997 — Source: Anthology: The Sounds of Science on

Beastie Boys were a hip hop group featuring Adam Horovitz (Adrock), Adam Yauch (MCA), and Michael Diamond (Mike D), the later of whom also ran their record label Grand Royal. The Aquatic Sessions are the name given to a rumoured Beastie Boys recording session which probably never existed. They were either an undersea themed album/song, the initial demos of Hello Nasty, or just a joke made up by a band who are renowned to make things up in interviews. So where did it all start?

Underwater Rhymes

In September 1995 the Beastie Boys website announced “BEASTIE BOYS FLEE NYC IN SUBMARINE” with a link to a press release with the headline “Underwater Rhymes” and a page title of “Submarine Recording”. The press release’s mixture of fact (Beastie Boys will be touring soon) and what appears to be nonsense (the new album features the entire cast from the Broadway show Showboat) led to years of questions and rumours.

A screenshot from the Beastie Boys ‘Underwater Rhymes’ press release.

According to the press release “the band is travelling around the world in a submarine to finish recording the album”. Images of the bands “underwater studio” were also included, as well as a possible title for one song, Ason, You Caught A Bad One. While at the bottom of the press release the sound of the album was described as “Afro cuban jazz ska core smoothed out on the hardcore hip hop smooth lover tip. Srtictly for lovers, posers, freaks , and weirdos.” The mention of Ason, You Caught A Bad One stands out, as a song called You Caught A Bad One did feature on the bands punk EP Aglio E Olio, which this press release was also announcing. But the above descriptions of “Afro cuban jazz” obviously don’t fit in with the punk You Caught A Bad One, and the paragraph mentioning Ason, You Caught A Bad One is further described in a supposed diary entry:

Sept 1995: Ason, You Caught A Bad One

One day in the studio, one song created. The preliminary title for this song was “Ason, You Caught A Bad One”. “The spirit of O.D.B. was thick in the studio last night,” reported Mike D in a phone conversation the following morning. “After the recording…

James Gaunt

An Australian writer with a passion for research. James edits music fanzine The Shadow Knows and writes regularly about Mo’ Wax Records.