RIP, Beastie Boys' Adam "MCA" Yauch

The Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch, best known as MCA, has died at 47. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 after a tumor was discovered in his salivary gland, and had been in treatment since that time.

Adam Yauch, RIP: A Life in Photos
MCA tribute: Kids re-enact Sabotage video

Compared to the high nasal proclamations of Ad-Rock and Mike D's mellower approach, MCA was the guy who brought some needed heft to the group's lyrical delivery. His scratchier, immediate verses filled out the trio's groundbreaking blend of punk and hip-hop since they hit the scene nearly three decades ago. Here's a lengthy history on the Beasties.  

Over the years, there were many transformations within the Beastie Boys, and Yauch was instrumental in bringing a spiritual dimension to the formerly raunchy group. He embraced Buddhism, and the guys spearheaded a series of Tibetan Freedom Concerts between 1996 and 2001. What was always solid from the beginning was MCA's confident flow.

When this news dropped, City Pages web editor Jen Boyles and I both needed to hear "Pass the Mic" immediately.

"What's running through my mind comes through in my walk" is an expression that'll likely resonate with the many of us who grew up on the Beastie Boys.

I attended two Beastie Boys shows here at Target Center -- one on the Ill Communication tour, and another when they brought Hello Nasty into town with A Tribe Called Quest in tow. The second one, which featured a rotating stage and my initial dabbling in crowd-surfing, will be remembered forever. Those who attended Madonna's first appearance in the Twin Cities back in 1985 at the St. Paul Civic Center might remember that the trio was her opening act.

In addition to his work behind the mic, Yauch was an extremely gifted filmmaker, and directed a number of Beasties-related videos under the moniker Nathanial Hörnblowér. The group's sense of humor and love for retro culture come through winningly even when he wasn't behind the camera, as in Spike Jonze's "Sabotage" clip for the group.  

Locals (or local affiliates) sending their respects to Yauch:

From Brother Ali: "I've never met one person in the Hip Hop world who didn't love and respect the shit out of The Beasties. Some of the first and best examples that if you understand, appreciate and love Hip Hop, you can be yourself and make a contribution. Hell raising rockstar as a kid, and heavenly humanitarian as an adult. Hard to be mad at that. Rest in Power, big brother!"

If I still lived in New York, I'd head directly to the corner where the cover for my favorite Beasties album Paul's Boutique was photographed in the Lower East Side on Ludlow Street.

RIP, Beastie Boys' Adam "MCA" Yauch

I suspect there are plenty of like-minded folks doing that right now. MCA, you will be missed. 

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