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Red Hot Chili Peppers – ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’

Released on this day in 1991, revisit the record that put the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the map.

Things were not particularly rosy when the Red Hot Chili Peppers retreated to a Los Angeles mansion in 1990 to record BloodSugarSexMagik. The funk rockers had weathered the 1988 heroin-overdose death of founding guitarist Hillel Slovak, and singer Anthony Kiedis and new guitarist John Frusciante had struggled in the drug’s grip. Meanwhile, their music had devolved into a tiresome formula of sex-obsessed camp and gratuitous riffage.

Enter Rick Rubin. Insisting on airborne melodies, filtering the rhythmic rumble down to a brutal essence, the acclaimed Beastie Boys producer changed the Chilis’ dynamic. The pummeling “Give It Away” and the incendiary “Suck My Kiss” established a template for rock punctuated by the beatcentric relentlessness of hip-hop that would be appropriated by everyone from Limp Bizkit to Dr. Dre. But it was the more introverted material — the lashing, triple-meter “Breaking the Girl” and Kiedis’ drug confessional “Under the Bridge” — that revealed new dimensions. The rhythm section displayed a growing curiosity about studio texture and nuance — interests it would explore on the expansive ballads of the subsequent multiplatinum Californication (1999) and By the Way (2002).

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in August 2003.

From Rolling Stone US