As one of the founding fathers of hip-hop, Mike D of the Beastie Boys has a lot to say about the state of the genre today. In an extensive interview with Vulture, the rapper spoke candidly about his personal and professional life over the last 30 years and how hip-hop has evolved with the times.

Mike D (born Michael Diamond) created the supergroup with Adam Yauch (MZA) and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) in the early 1980s, shifting from a punk sound to more hip-hop in 1983. Their legacy is undeniable - their debut album Licensed to Ill was the first hip-hop album to take the No.1 spot on the Billboard 200. The Beastie Boys helped move hip-hop into the pop culture sphere, something that has snowballed in the years since, with the genre recently surpassing rock as the most popular in America.

"I always felt like rap would become popular but I didn’t foresee it becoming as mainstream as it is. With current rap, there’s nothing that makes it not pop," Mike D said. "Obviously certain rappers are going to make poppier records and certain rappers are going to be more esoteric, but I never would’ve thought that rappers could be the Lionel Richies of their day."

Despite the fact that their are more chart-topping pop hits from hip-hop artists these days, Mike D said there are some musicians who produce the gritty, punk-esque music that is comparable to the sounds of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin that inspired him at a young age.

One of those is the group $uicideboy$, who he says his children listen to.  "It’s really loud, I can’t really relate, I don’t really want to listen to it. I understand exactly why it’s good and I see exactly the music it’s combining, but I don’t need to participate and I’m good with that," he said.

He continued by discussing his foresight that rap would become more accessible while remaining its unique qualities, but said he couldn't have imagined how big hip-hop artists would be in pop culture.

"... that Jay-Z or Migos would be in that same position — not in terms of music but in terms of universal acceptance," he said. "I did foresee that we’d get something like an OutKast — rap that could sell millions and still feel not pop. But now we’re in a stage where rap isn’t separate from pop, which is amazing."

Mike D has had a front row seat for the evolution of hip-hop, so it's interesting to hear his take. Hopefully we'll get to hear more from him soon, with the Beastie Boys memoir slated to be released this year.

Check out Vulture for the full interview.

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