I am extremely saddened by the news that Adam Yauch (aka MCA) of the Beastie Boys has lost his battle with cancer and has passed away today at the age of 47.
As a founding member of the Beastie Boys, Yauch helped alter the music scene at a time when rap and hip-hop were nascent music forms not yet incorporated into the mainstream of popular music. Their goofy brand of young urban idiocy sparked something in young kids across the country. Although the band was originally steeped in punk and hip-hop, they eventually grew out of their teenage incarnations which found them turning into exactly what it was they were satirizing, egomaniacal “rock” stars on a party bent, and began turning towards experimental sounds and eventually incorporating all sorts of musical influeneces into their music in addition to embracing technology as it progressed, regardless of their lyric “I’m sticking with wax, I’m not using a CD”.
At their incarnation, I was not a fan. After hearing their second and third albums, Paul’s Boutique and Check Your Head respectively, I was a convert. By the time Ill Communication was released, and the ubiquitous Sabotage (video below) was heard playing everywhere, the Beastie Boys were cemented as one of rock’s, hip-hop’s, and rap’s biggest cross-over hits becoming popular with multiple types of crowds.
In 2009, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see them perform live at the Outside Lands Festival here in San Francisco. Unfortunately, they had to cancel that appearance (only to be relplaced by Tenacious F’ing D… I didn’t watch that set) due to Yauch being diagnosed with the cancer that would ultimately take his life this morning. His illness also prevented him from attending the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame’s induction of the Beasties.
Although he may not be with us anymore, his music and his influence will live on… no longer will they be 3 MCs and 1 DJ… they have lost 1 MCA.
Rest in peace Adam Yauch,
Cornelius J. Blahg