He was cooler than a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce, and now he’s gone. Founding Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch passed away yesterday, after a long battle with cancer. The 47 year old Musician / Filmmaker / Social Activist / Devoted husband & father struggled with the illness for the last few years, but even that incurable cellular disorder didn’t stop him from working. In recent years he had contributed to the last Beastie Boys album, ‘Hot Sauce Committee: Part 2’ as well as operating a successful film business. He was a gentle soul. An artist in the truest sense of the word, and was taken away from a world that needed him far too soon.
One of Adam’s many roles in their video for “Sabotage”
His contributions to the music world are immeasurable. As a recording artist, he was part of the first hip-hop act to reach #1 on Billboard. (Back when the group was often dismissed as a novelty act). Moving forward, the Beastie Boys incorporated a more instrument-based sound into their music, which only served to further their legacy. The oddly-prolific group released 6 full-length albums, along with 2 LP’s of jazzy, instrumental tunes, and a killer ep of songs that were closer to punk rock. Not to mention, the impact of their short-liver record label, Grand Royal Records. Artistic merit aside, it may be his humanitarian work that will carry his memory further. As a devout Buddhist, Yauch was a leader in the Tibetan Freedom Movement. The first ‘Freedom Concert’ was attended by more than 100 000 people, and helped move the plight of those in Tibet from the back pages of the newspaper, to the front of many peoples minds. As a proud New Yorker, he also bent over backward following the events of September 11th. His work with local charities, helped ensure the groups that usually get missed by the larger organizations would get the help they deserved.
As a music writer this sort of thing is inevitable. Death is indiscriminate. It hurts much more than any recent musician’s passing, as this is a band I have actively followed for many years. While rapping with my friends, I was always MCA, as I loved the sound of his raspier, deeper voice. (Plus he had some great lines). I have their records, but I never got to see them live. There is something unsettling about that. (They were #1 on a list that needs some work). My loss is minimal, compared to those who had the pleasure of knowing him, but I guess that makes it easier for me. I would imagine my admiration would grow exponentially if I actually knew how awesome he was (instead of just hearing about it).
Now that’s he’s finally sleeping, I guess we can all take solace that he’s finally made it to Brooklyn.