Illin’ and my Right to Party…In Memoriam

Classic shot of Run-DMC and The Beastie Boys

I screamed when I heard that Jam Master Jay had been murdered.  Run-DMC was THE definitive rap group back in the day. I stomped around shouting the lyrics to “Its like that” and wore “My Adidas” with pride. I was loving it.

Then these three little white boys came along and I was like “What the f-“

MikeD   MCA  AD-Rock

But I was hooked.

Sure these guys had been around for a while but when Licensed to Ill hit the streets, people sat up and took notice. They were brash, wild, crazy and they set the platform for the bulk of the groups out here today.

I remember going to parties and jumping in a circle with guys and girls  shouting out, word for word, the entire album. That was back when there were actual albums and tapes.  It was crazy, wild and FUN!

The Beastie Boys turned the game on its head. They brought in a whole new flavour to the scene and all of us, black and white, lapped it up.  There wasn’t a divide, none of this us versus them kind of shit. It was all about the music and the party.

Now one of them has gone home.

Adam “MCA” Yauch died today after a long bout with cancer.  Someone posted this: Fuck Cancer. I’ll second that ten times over.

I screamed when I heard of his passing. Not because I had kept up with them over the years but because one: it was another part of my youth taken from me under tragic circumstances and two: all of the Beastie Boys were supposed to grow old with me.

Just like Jam Master Jay. Just like all the rest of the ones from back in the day who aren’t here today.

One of my co-workers couldn’t understand why I was so upset when (according to her great knowledge) they haven’t done anything in over 30 years. I could barely restrain myself from telling her to fuck off.  What the hell does she know?

I shouted at her that if it were one of the members of NKOTB she wouldn’t be saying anything. Her response? “Well they’re doing concerts and stuff.” Yes, my friends, she is one of the hordes of women chasing down 90s boy-band New Kids on the Block. Good for her. May they continue to Hang Tough.

I pulled The Beastie Boy’s Official Statement from Stenogram:

Adam Yauch | 1964-2012
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. He was 47 years old.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Yauch taught himself to play bass in high school, forming a band for his 17th birthday party that would later become known the world over as Beastie Boys.

With fellow members Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Adrock” Horovitz, Beastie Boys would go on to sell over 40 million records, release four #1 albums–including the first hip hop album ever to top the Billboard 200, the band’s 1986 debut full length, Licensed To Ill–win three Grammys, and the MTV Video Vanguard Lifetime Achievement award. Last month Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with Diamond and Horovitz reading an acceptance speech on behalf of Yauch, who was unable to attend.

In addition to his hand in creating such historic Beastie Boys albums as Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication, Hello Nasty and more, Yauch was a founder of the Milarepa Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness and activism regarding the injustices perpetrated on native Tibetans by Chinese occupational government and military forces. In 1996, Milarepa produced the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, which was attended by 100,000 people, making it the biggest benefit concert on U.S. soil since 1985′s Live Aid. The Tibetan Freedom Concert series would continue to stage some of the most significant benefit shows in the world for nearly a decade following in New York City, Washington DC, Tokyo, Sydney, Amsterdam, Taipei and other cities.

In the wake of September 11, 2001, Milarepa organized New Yorkers Against Violence, a benefit headlined by Beastie Boys at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, with net proceeds disbursed to the New York Women’s Foundation Disaster Relief Fund and the New York Association for New Americans (NYANA) September 11th Fund for New Americans–each chosen for their efforts on behalf of 9/11 victims least likely to receive help from other sources.

Under the alias of Nathanial Hörnblowér, Yauch directed iconic Beastie Boys videos including “So Whatcha Want,” “Intergalactic,” “Body Movin” and “Ch-Check It Out.” Under his own name, Yauch directed last year’s Fight For Your Right Revisited, an extended video for “Make Some Noise” from Beastie Boys’ Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, starring Elijah Wood, Danny McBride and Seth Rogen as the 1986 Beastie Boys, making their way through a half hour of cameo-studded misadventures before squaring off against Jack Black, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as Beastie Boys of the future.

Yauch’s passion and talent for filmmaking led to his founding of Oscilloscope Laboratories, which in 2008 released his directorial film debut, the basketball documentary Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot and has since become a major force in independent video distribution, amassing a catalogue of such acclaimed titles as Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy, Oren Moverman’s The Messenger, Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop, Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze’s Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait Of Maurice Sendak, and many more.

Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen and his daughter Tenzin Losel, as well as his parents Frances and Noel Yauch.

So sad.

Such a terrible loss.

And yeah, he’s done something over the last 30 years. I would love to throw that in her face but I don’t have to.  His personal achievements and the legacy of The Beastie Boys will continue to stand the test of time until the end.

My condolences to his family and friends.

RIP Adam aka MCA xoxoxo

I’ll leave you with these clips.

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5 comments on “Illin’ and my Right to Party…In Memoriam

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  4. livrancourt says:

    Tonight when we said grace before dinner, we added a prayer to Adam, his family, and all the Beastie Boys fans. You’re right. He shoulda grown old with all of us. And I’m proud of you for not spilling coffee on your coworkers desk or something.

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