5. The Beastie Boys vs. The Prodigy
The relationship between the Beastie Boys and The Prodigy during this time was weird. While the Beasties dug The Prodigy enough to have them sample their "oh my God that's some funky shit!" line on "Funky Shit," the controversy (both in tact and perceived) behind "Smack My Bitch Up" came to a head between these two at the 1998 Reading Festival. The night before both groups were to perform at the festival, MCA and Mike D contacted Liam Howlett at his home in Essex to ask that the band cut "Smack My Bitch Up" from their set. The Prodigy was scheduled to perform prior to The Beasties, and they didn't want to go on after a song they deemed to be offensive played (word came about later that they tried to have The Prodigy removed from the festival bill altogether). Prodigy member Maxim Reality wasn't having that, and the following audio recording made that plain:
The Beasties' decision ended up backfiring on themselves; many had already questioned the spiritual direction that MCA took and the perceived effect it had on the Beasties' output overall, but considering how a lot of their music was perceived when they were first coming up as a group, many viewed the Beastie Boys as hypocrites. You also have to wonder how a group from the "old school" hip-hop era could get that upset over a Kool Keith line from roughly the same era, but in the end it didn't matter. The two groups patched things up, with Liam even getting permission to include the Beastie Boys' "It's the New Style" on his Dirtchamber Sessions mix CD.