Adam Yauch: MCA RIP
THE triangle is the strongest of all the shapes, so it was fitting that hip hop powerhouse The Beastie Boys were three sides strong. However, the trio… nay, the whole world of rap… is weakened by the sudden loss of Beasties co-founder MCA, aka Adam Yauch.
One third of the team behind hip hop masterpieces like Ill Communication, Paul’s Boutique and Check Your Head, Yauch was a charismatic, smart and supremely talented member of one of the most important groups of musicians of any genre.
It only seems like yesterday that he was saying “I’ve got more rhymes than I’ve got grey hairs” yet now, the world discovers that Yauch has been taken, aged only 47 years old, by that bastard cancer. He’d been in treatment since 2009, but so superhuman and comic book hero were the Beasties, it always seemed like he’d pull through somehow.
Things have been tough for Yauch, who was noticeably absent at the Beastie Boys’ induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April. His treatments had been the cause of the delayed release of Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2.
Such a dazzling, varied and glittering career has now come to a close for a man who helped to put together what originally was a noisenik bunch of bratpunkers with Mike Diamond and then Adam Horowitz all the way back in ’79.
Kicking off with hardcore snot punk (something that never left the group), they went from doing egg raids on Mojos to satirical booze-hop with ‘She’s On It’ et al, before digging the crates and producing some of the most solid funk hip hop ever cut to wax.
What was most impressive about the Beasties work was that they created a whole world around them, almost single handedly getting a generation of men back into vintage sneakers, Bruce Lee flicks and obscure Hammond Organ LPs. They weren’t just a band, they were a whole environment.
Of course, away from the group, MCA was hugely involved in the movement to free Tibet and it was Yauch who was most vocal when co-organising the Tibetan Freedom Concerts that took place in the ’90s.
Friends and colleagues will invariably remember what a cool and pleasant bloke he was, but for us onlookers and fans, we lived in a Beastie Bubble he helped to create. While the remnants of that will remain, one of the three wise men who helped to forge it has now gone and things just won’t be a cool and fun without him there.
Here’s a video of The Beastie Boys appearing on The Scott & Gary Show on February 14, 1984. The girl on the drums is Kate Schellenbach. Yeah, The Boys once had a girl member…