As most of you have heard by now, The Beastie Boys Adam Yauch lost his struggle with cancer last week. Here’s a little remembrance from our contributor Jibber.
8/5/64 – 5/4/12
As one of the founders of The Beastie Boys, Adam Yauch – MCA – left an indelible imprint on the world, not just in the world of music but on humanity as well.
I was in 8th grade when Licensed to Ill came out. I didn’t quite know what to think of it at the time; I had only started listening to rap a few years before. I was exposed to Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, and Run DMC, and then a friend of mine asked if I had heard that Beastie Boys song “Fight for your Right.” It didn’t really appeal to me, but there was something about it that sparked an undeniable interest. I bought the album and it blew my mind. The sampled John Bonham drum beat that opens “Rhymin’ & Stealin'” and opens the album, Licensed to Ill, had me hooked in the first ten seconds. It turned out that rap was not just the purview of black guys from the ghetto; it was another form of music open to anyone. The Beastie Boys broke the mold and then created their own by introducing punk rock, hardcore and metal into a genre that was dominated by drum machines and sampled beats.
MCA had the most distinctive voice of the trio, a gruff punch over the other two’s nasal whines. His style was a little bit different from Ad Rock and Mike D’s, too. Although he was from Brooklyn he had a trashy, lumberjack vibe that clashed with the flash four finger rings, gold teeth and huge clocks of the rap scene. I remember seeing MCA rocking a down vest back when it was only a functional item. As he aged he put more ethics and socio-political themes into his raps, but he still kept it humorous, edgy, and hard. He was a practicing Buddhist and an important member of the Tibetan independence movement. Yauch was also instrumental in organizing the Tibetan Freedom Concert. He was a good man who did good things for the world and also put out some of the most influential music of the past 20 years.
Paul’s Boutique is in my top five records of all time. It’s an undeniable classic. If you didn’t spend your entire weekend remembering how awesome The Beasties are, you should head over to Spotify right now to bring back some memories.
R.I.P. Adam Yauch
“I drink Brass Monkey and I rock well
I’ve got a castle in Brooklyn, that’s how I dwell.”
Below you can check out the cover of Fight For Your Right (to Party) that Coldplay did at the Hollywood Bowl on Friday night. The sad, restrained version of the anthemic high school rebellion song kind of seems fitting for this sad time. You can also head over to Beats Per Minutes to read the reaction of numerous musicians to the loss including Eminem, Nas, Tom Morello, Flea, Jack Black, & more.