The news of Adam Yauch, aka MCA’s, passing on May 4th hit me pretty hard. The Beastie Boys have long been one of my favorite groups, having grown up with their radio hits as the background to my 80s-90s childhood. They were always the group that the alternative-rock kids could listen to without having to admit that they *gasp* liked rap music. I developed a deeper appreciation for not just their music, but their whole ethos, starting with the ridiculous video for Netty’s Girl that I watched at Ruben’s house after school one day, circa 2000.
As I moved beyond the depressing world of radio rock in my mid-late teens, and delved into the worlds of hip-hop, punk rock, soul, bossa nova, etc, the Beasties followed me every step of the way. They were a band that appreciated great music, and created music worthy of appreciation with joy, sans pretension and with real soul.
As I look back on Yauch’s body of work outside the band, I find that he’s the type of man that I could only hope to be were I half as motivated, charismatic and talented. In addition to making great music, he recorded music for other bands, directed videos and movies, and never passed up a good opportunity to speak out about good causes. I look back on my 11 year old self, and can only imagine why I paid no attention to the Tibetan Freedom Concert a mere hour away from my sheltered suburban bubble. In addition to his chosen cause, he brought awareness about social and political issues to a public that likely only knew him as the guy who wanted to fight for his right to party.
In a world that idolizes some truly worthless people, it’s rare for me feel this way about a celebrity’s passing, but Adam Yauch was a special guy, and I know that I’m not the only one whose life was affected by his incredible legacy. I wish the best to his family and friends, and hope that they can feel the love we all have in our hearts for him.
I woke up with these lyrics in my head the morning of his passing before even having heard the news.
MCA where have you been? Packed like sardines in a tin!