With their dark hip-hop-influenced alternative rock, Luscious Jackson re-creates the dense, multicultural bohemian world of New York in a collage of sound, where Spanish guitars, jazzy keyboards, funky beats, and breathy, singsong vocals combine into one. Like the Beastie Boys, Luscious Jackson's eclecticism doesn't acknowledge boundaries; instead, it takes freely from every kind of music. Luscious Jackson's first two recordings, 1992's In Search of Manny and 1994's Natural Ingredients, earned the band a cult following and positive critical reviews.
The core of Luscious Jackson -- Kate Schellenbach (drums), Jill Cunniff (vocals, bass), and Gabby Glaser (vocals, guitar) -- all met as teenagers on the New York post-punk scene of the early '80s. Schellenbach was the drummer in the original hardcore punk incarnation of the Beastie Boys; she met Cunniff when she interviewed the Beasties for her fanzine, The Decline of Art. Eventually, the trio began hanging out, seeing bands that ranged from hardcore and arty post-punk to reggae and hip-hop. When the members graduated from high school, they went their separate ways. Schellenbach stayed in New York, where she drummed with Hippies with Guns and attended college, while Cunniff and Glaser attended art school in San Francisco, where they both played in a punk band called Jaws; Cunniff continued to edit her fanzine.
In 1991, Cunniff and Glaser returned to New York and began writing songs. Eventually, the duo recruited Schellenbach and Jill's friend Vivian Trimble to form Luscious Jackson, taking their name from a '60s basketball player for the Philadelphia 76ers. The following year, the group released its debut EP, In Search of Manny, on the Beastie Boys' record label, Grand Royal; it was reissued the following year on Capitol/Grand Royal. In Search of Manny received very positive reviews and the group quickly became a hip name to drop in alternative rock circles.