White House — The Unreleased Beastie Boys Album

James Gaunt
10 min readMar 13, 2019
The Beastie Boys in Amsterdam. 22nd May 1987 by Nigel Wright

In 1987 the Beastie Boys were Mike D, MCA and Adrock — aka Michael Diamond, Adam Yauch and Adam Horowitz. The group had just released Licensed To Ill on Def Jam in 1986, and it had blown everyone’s expectations reaching #1 on the Billboard 200 charts in May 1987 and staying there for seven consecutive weeks. After touring the highly successful album the group became unenthused with what the label wanted from them, namely Licensed To Ill Part II, and the Beastie Boys left Def Jam, signed with Capitol and in 1989 released their second album Paul’s Boutique.

While Paul’s Boutique has gone on to be recognised as one of Hip Hop’s greatest albums, at the time the album flopped. Fans perhaps wanted more of Fight For Your Right To Party and weren’t quite ready for Shadrach, and if Def Jam had had their way that was exactly what fans would have got. As the Beastie Boys were finishing Paul’s Boutique Def Jam began hinting to the press that they had their own Beastie Boys album coming soon called White House. So what happened?

Together Forever

After the Licensed To Ill Tour ended in 1987 the Beastie Boys wanted to move away from their frat boy drunken image they had created, with Adam Yauch moving on and starting a new band Brooklyn. Sean “The Captain” Carasov who was the bands tour manager at the time told Spin:

When all the touring was done, Russell wanted to throw them back in the studio straightaway and have them make an album. They were just not ready for it. Russell didn’t really see it ’cause he hadn’t been there. He was insisting, and that’s when the lawsuits against Def Jam and Rush Management began.

The Beastie Boys sued Def Jam for unpaid royalties which began a back and forth fued between both parties. The Beastie Boys meanwhile had signed with Capital Records and began work on their next album which Def Jam took issue with and threatened to release their own album of unreleased Beastie Boys songs.

Spin wrote about the Def Jam album in their October 1989 issue. Citing an earlier report from Billboard they claimed the album was to be called White House and would be made up of “bits and pieces of raps left over from Licensed To Ill.” But was there enough for an album?

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James Gaunt

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