Alex Fredkin, Staff Writer
The world lost a great musician on Friday, but more importantly, it lost a great man. On May 5, Adam “MCA” Yauch died at the age of 47 after a three-year battle with cancer. The exact details of his death have not been released yet. MCA was first diagnosed in 2009 with a cancerous tumor in his salivary gland. This delayed the release of the Beastie Boys’ latest album “Hot Sauce Committee Part 2” until 2011. No further news was released concerning MCA’s cancer treatment except that he had surgery to remove the tumor, which gave the impression that MCA was healthy again and that they would soon start a tour in support of their new album. This unfortunately was not the case.
MCA co-founded the Beastie Boys in 1982 with Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Adrock” Horovitz when they played a concert for MCA’s 17th birthday. They were a punk rock band originally but met up with now famous producer Rick Rubin in 1986 to record their first rap album “License to Ill.” It sold a million records in less than a year and the rest, as they say, is history.
The Beastie Boys are one of the most unique and influential bands in history. They came along at a time when hip hop was just becoming mainstream. Instead of being a group of tough black guys like N.W.A or Public Enemy (popular acts of the time) they were three Jewish white kids from New York who did not take themselves seriously at all. That was their greatest advantage though, as the band’s experimental nature, crafty beats and ability to inject humor into their songs helped them to become very popular.
MCA was crucial to their success. He was one of the rappers, but also played bass and keyboards for the band. He even directed some of the band’s most famous music videos, including the video for “So Watcha Want” in 1992, which features the band rapping to a single camera in the woods with strange coloring effects in the background. Another example of his low budget creativity can be gathered from the hilarious video for “Intergalactic,” in which viewers see a homemade Godzilla and giant robot fighting each other in the middle of NYC.
The list of MCA’s effects on the world does not end simply with his artistic talents. He was able to age very gracefully from the rebellious, angsty teenager that the Beastie Boys represented earlier in their career, into a humanitarian and peacemaker when he got older. He became a Tibetan Buddhist in the 90s and was a big supporter of the Tibetan Independence Movement, which is aimed at helping Tibet gain political independence from China. His Tibetan Freedom Concert in 1996, which featured bands such as Rage Against the Machine and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, raised almost one million dollars for this cause.
Adam Yauch was very important to this world and helped make the Beastie Boys one of the most beloved bands ever and a very influential one during hip hop’s infancy. It is very sad that he was not able to win his fight against cancer, and he will surely be missed by the millions of people he has influenced and affected.