Rapper Adam (MCA) Yauch, Co-Founder of the Beastie Boys Dead at the Age of 47


Adam Yauch, MCA,  co-founder of the vanguard 1980′s rap group the Beastie Boys, has died at the age of 47 after a long battle with cancer. He leaves behind his wife and daughter. What a shame, I truly feel like a piece of my college days has passed as well. The Beastie Boys originally started rapping as a lark with three Jewish white boyz, the rest is music altering history. In 2009, Adam Yauch announced that he’d been diagnosed with cancer. Later that year, Yauch performed at Bonnaroo with the Beastie Boys, in what would turn out to be his last concert.

Many years ago after releasing their album, yes, that would be considered a vinyl record, ‘Licensed to Ill,’ rapper Adam MCA Yauch and the Beastie Boys taught us all … “You Gotta Fight For Your Right, To Party. They were on the ground floor of mainstreaming tap and hop-hop. We all just look back to the 1980′s and admire the simpler time.

Rest in Peace.

Your pop caught you smoking, and he said, “No way!”
That hypocrite smokes two packs a day
Man, living at home is such a drag
Now your mom threw away your best porno mag (Bust it!)

With a scratchy voice that grew scratchier through the years, Mr. Yauch rapped as MCA in the Beastie Boys, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. They offered many listeners in the 1980s their first exposure to hip-hop. They were vanguard white rappers who helped extend the art of sampling and gained the respect of their African-American peers.

While many hip-hop careers are brief, the Beastie Boys appealed not only to the fans they reached in the 1980s but to successive generations, making million-selling albums into the 2000s. They grew up without losing their sense of humor or their ear for a party beat.

Statement from the Beatie Boys.

“It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch, founding member of Beastie Boys and also of the Milarepa Foundation that produced the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits, and film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories, passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer,” reads an official statement from the Beastie Boys. “He was 47 years old.”

More from the NY Times and the life and times of MCA and the Beastie Boys:

When they started rapping in 1983, the Beastie Boys — Mr. Yauch, Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) and Mike Diamond (Mike D) — were greeted by some hip-hop purists as a novelty act. They were Jewish bohemians, not ghetto survivors; they were jokers, not battlers. Yet the Beastie Boys recorded for a label that was a bastion of New York hip-hop, Def Jam, and they toured alongside Run-D.M.C. and LL Cool J.

They went on to garner admiration and influence with productions that kept coming up with surprises — including, eventually, the rappers’ playing instruments again — and with rhymes that would mingle humor, boasting and an increasing idealism. Even when the Beastie Boys were treated as a joke, it was a joke they would be in on for decades to come.

Adam Nathaniel Yauch was born on Aug. 5, 1964, in Brooklyn. Playing bass, he and Mr. Diamond started the Beastie Boys in 1981 as a hard-core punk band. The group’s original drummer, Kate Schellenbach, has said, “Whereas other bands, just as awful as the Beastie Boys, would actually believe they were good, for Mike and Adam the whole point was to be terrible and admit it.”

Mr. Yauch once said that the Beasties had started rapping as a joke, but found that audiences liked it better than their punk-rock. Mr. Rubin, then a student at New York University, joined the group as a disc jockey. He also brought them to the attention of Russell Simmons, the manager of Run-D.M.C. and other leading hip-hop acts of the era. He added the Beasties to his roster.

When Mr. Rubin and Mr. Simmons started Def Jam, the Beastie Boys were one of the label’s first signings: catalog number DJ 002, in 1984, was the Beastie Boys’ single “Rock Hard.” The Beastie Boys toured with Madonna in 1985, to the confusion of pop audiences.

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  • Comments

    One Response to “Rapper Adam (MCA) Yauch, Co-Founder of the Beastie Boys Dead at the Age of 47”

    1. NGBoston on May 5th, 2012 9:18 am

      Cancer sucks. 47 is way too young to leave this Earth.

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