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How One Verse Helped the Beastie Boys Atone for a Bad-Boy Past

“Sure Shot” kicks off the 1994 Beastie Boys album “Ill Communication,” and amid the usual boasts and lyrical references, rapper Adam Yauch delivered an uncharacteristically sober few lines:

“I want to say a little something that’s long overdue. The disrespect to women has got to be through. To all the mothers and the sisters and the wives and friends, I want to offer my love and respect to the end.”

It...