Are The Style Boyz Based On A Real Group? The Band In 'Popstar' Has A Fascinating Backstory
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping finds Andy Samberg as a high-maintenance popstar who is fighting to stay at the top of the music game. But the movie, in theaters June 3, also places heavy emphasis on that fact that Samberg's character Conner used to be in a three-man band. Before he was Conner 4Real, the singer was one of the members of the Style Boyz, alongside Owen (Jorma Taccone) and Lawrence (Akiva Schaffer). It's well-known that Popstar pulls from many real-life influences, so you might be wondering if the Style Boyz in Popstar are based on a real band.
Filmmakers have confirmed that the Style Boyz were in fact inspired by some actual bands, most notably the Beastie Boys. Schaffer, who was also a writer and co-director of the film in addition to acting in it, confirmed to Crave that of out of all the "boy bands" in musical history, the fictional Style Boyz most closely resemble the Beastie Boys. When asked about the comparison, Schaffer said, "Yeah, Beastie Boys is pretty fair. They [the Style Boyz] are just a little bit dumber than the Beastie Boys were. Let’s say License to Ill Beastie Boys," he added, referring to the band's 1986 album. "Like, when they were doing their fake Beastie Boys that were more offensive and lame."
Speaking with Den of Geek, Schaffer said that the Popstar team even used the Beastie Boys comparison when coaching celebrities who were giving fake testimonials about the Style Boyz for the movie. He explained, "We would say, 'OK, the Style Boyz were like the Beastie Boys or a fun party band, talk about that.' And then I’d go, 'So, did you grow up listening to Style Boyz?' and then Nas would go, 'Oh my God! Style Boyz was one of the best groups of all time.'" In this way, the directors were able to get realistic documentary-style interviews about the fictional band.
It's also worth nothing that the movie pulls from some true instances of bands where one member has become the focus and then left to pursue a solo career. Speaking of Conner's departure from the group and ascent to stardom, Schaffer told Crave, "[Conner] becomes the Beyonce to the Destiny’s Child of the movie. Then he had this huge hit where he really made the leap like Timberlake did." When the movie starts, Conner is in the midst of releasing his second solo album, and he has tried very hard to distance himself from his past role as a Style Boyz member. But there is still tension in the air about the group's fallout, and Conner frequently has to deal with nostalgia from people who want a Style Boyz reunion. This becomes a major focus in the second half of the movie, and it has some hilarious consequences.
You can get acquainted with the Style Boyz and their music in Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping as you laugh your way through the narrative. Then, if you're so inspired, you can get reacquainted with the Beastie Boys and all of the music that influenced the new film.