RIP Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch aka MCA who died today aged 47 from cancer. It’s devastating news. His passing marks the end of the trio of Mike D, Adrock and MCA as a band, a unit, a rap group. We will never see the three of them finish each others rhymes in the flesh ever again.
The Beastie Boys define my teenage years. Ill Communication, Hello Nasty, Paul’s Boutique and Check Your Head are very much responsible for shaping my musical tastes. The cleverly placed snatches of samples from funk, reggae, country and rap albums made me want to explore those other genres of music. MCA was always the elder, the enlightened, the one who kept the other two mad hatters grounded in reality; both on record and in interviews.
Mark Richardson, writing for Pitchfork perhaps has best summed up the appeal of the Beastie Boys:
MCA was the best rapper in the Beastie Boys as well as the best instrumentalist, and he also directed some of their many brilliant videos. But he was never the “leader” in any way because this wasn’t a group that needed a leader. The Beastie Boys are ultimately a celebration of friendship. You find people you care about and who care about you, and you make a community with them. The Beasties, both as a group and as individuals, embodied this ideal.
Thank you Adam Yauch aka MCA aka Nathaniel Hornblower aka Nathan Wind aka Sir Stuart Wallace for your part in my life and the lives of many others whether that was through your music, your music videos, your rhymes, your silly characters, your spirituality or your activism. Your rasp will be missed. I’m off to throw eggs at passers by in your honour.
Full statement. Obits from The Guardian and The New York Times.
My very first website back in 1999 was a Beastie Boys fansite.