Friday, May 4, 2012


Family, friends and fans of Beastie Boys member Adam Nathaniel Yauch, aka MCA, aka Nathanial Hörnblowér, are mourning one of hip hops pioneers today. As Rolling Stone reported, Yauch had been in treatment for cancer since 2009, when he was diagnosed after discovering a tumor in his salivary gland.
Yauch sat out the Beastie Boys' induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April, and his treatments delayed the release of the group's most recent album, Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2. The Beastie Boys had not performed live since the summer of 2009, and Yauch's illness prevented the group from appearing in music videos for Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2. Yauch co-founded the Beastie Boys with Mike "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horowitz in 1979. The band started off as a hardcore punk group, but soon began experimenting with hip-hop. The band broke big with their first proper album, Licensed to Ill, in 1986, and further albums Paul's Boutique, Check Your Head and Ill Communication cemented the band as a true superstar act. In addition to his career with the Beastie Boys, Yauch was heavily involved in the movement to free Tibet and co-organized the Tibetan Freedom Concerts of the late Nineties. In 2002, he launched the film production company Oscilloscope Laboratories.
As a huge Beastie Boys fan growing up, the news of Yauch's death hit me right in the gut and led me to immediately scour Youtube for some of my favourite Beastie Boys tracks. One thing that struck me was how much their sound, and their perspectives, evolved over the years. From their 1987 track Girls, with lyrics like "Girls - to do the dishes/ Girls - to clean up my room/ Girls - to do the laundry/ Girls - and in the bathroom," to 1994's Sure Shot ("I Want To Say a Little Something That's Long Overdue/ The Disrespect To Women Has Got To Be Through/ To All The Mothers And Sisters And the Wives And Friends/ I Want To Offer My Love And Respect To The End") it's evident Yauch matured with his audience. This was one of the many reasons Beastie Boys fans are some of the most loyal, and how the boys were able to stay relevant over the span of four decades. For a brief history on Yauch's career, I cribbed this info below from a Wikipedia entry on the man. Below that are a couple of my favourite tracks. Enjoy. RIP MCA.
Yauch was born an only child in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Frances and Noel Yauch, who is a painter and architect. His father was Catholic and his mother was Jewish. In high school, he taught himself to play the bass guitar, and formed Beastie Boys. They played their first show — then still a hardcore punk band in the vein of Reagan Youth — on his 17th birthday, while still attending Edward R. Murrow High School in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn. He attended Bard College for 2 years before dropping out. Two years later, when Yauch was 22, the Beastie Boys, now performing as a hip hop trio, released their first album Licensed to Ill on Def Jam Records. Under the pseudonym "Nathanial Hörnblowér", Yauch directed many of the Beastie Boys' music videos. Yauch made his televised debut as Hörnblowér at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards as he stormed the stage in costume to protest after R.E.M. won the award for Best Direction over the Spike Jonze directed Beastie Boys video "Sabotage"… MCA, along with fellow Beastie Boys members Adrock and Mike D appeared in the 2005 streetball game NBA Street V3 as an unlockable team wearing New York Knicks #00 jerseys and caps. MCA later appeared in the 2007 skating game Tony Hawk's Proving Ground as an unlockable skater wearing the black suit MCA occasionally wears. Most recently; MCA appears alongside his musical compatriots as a playable character in EA's NBA Jam (2010). This is seen by many as a homage to his original appearance along Adrock and Mike D in Midway's original NBA Jam, circa 1993 as secret characters. In NBA Jam 2010, the Beastie Boys team can be unlocked through the use of a cheat code or by defeating them in game. The Beastie Boys had sold 40 million records worldwide by 2010. In 2012, the group was inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. Yauch was inducted in absentia due to his illness, with his bandmates paying him warm tribute from the stage; a letter from Yauch was read to the crowd. Fellow inductees the Red Hot Chili Peppers dedicated their live performance to Yauch. In 2011, Yauch received the Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters from Bard College, the college he attended for two years. The award is "given in recognition of a significant contribution to the American artistic or literary heritage." Yauch was a practicing Buddhist. In 2009, Yauch was diagnosed and treated for a cancerous parotid gland and a lymph node and underwent surgery and radiation therapy delaying the group's album release and tour. Yauch became a vegan under the recommendation of his Tibetan doctors. Yauch died May 4, 2012. He was married to Dechen Wangdu, with whom he had a daughter, Tenzin Losel Yauch.

1 comment:

Shawn said...

I can't stand it I know you planned it
I'm gonna set it straight, this watergate
I can't stand rocking when I'm in here
Because your crystal ball ain't so crystal clear
So while you sit back and wonder why
I got this f_____g thorn in my side
Oh my, it's a mirage
I'm tellin' y'all it's sabotage