Sad news today for fans of hip hop, popular music, and cool guys in general. Adam “MCA” Yauch, a founding member of The Beastie Boys, has passed away at the age of 47.
Along with friends Michael Diamond (a.k.a. Mike D) and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock), as well as a drummer and guitarist who did not stay long, Yauch formed the Beastie Boys in 1979 at the tender age of 15. Originally a hardcore punk band, they got a DJ and switched over to being a hip-hop trio in the mid-’80s, and their 1986 album Licensed To Ill became a crossover hit. Since then, they’ve become a hugely influential force in pop culture, fueling the youth culture of the ’90s and helping make hip hop popular in the mainstream.The group has won three Grammy Awards and last year, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.
Besides being a talented lyricist, Yauch got heavily into filmmaking in the ’90s, directing several of the group’s memorable videos and forming his own film studio called Oscilloscope Laboratories. He was also the one who got the Beasties involved in the Tibetan rights cause, and is largely responsible for all those consciousness-raising Tibetan Freedom concerts they played. In his later years, he became a Buddhist, as well as a vegan.
Yauch had been battling cancer since 2009, and though his exact cause of death has yet to be confirmed, it’s thought to be cancer-related. He is survived by his wife and daughter.
Let’s take a look back on some of the groundbreaking, hilarious, and fun contributions he made to the American musical landscape: