To mourn the very sad and untimely passing of Adam Yauch, better known as MCA, here are three pieces from the archives commemorating the golden years of his group, The Beastie Boys. Whether you’re a fan of the three rapping Jews from New York or not (or even a fan of early hip-hop in general), the cultural impact of Yauch and his bandmates, Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond, cannot be denied. The fact that the group was still touring and selling out arenas within the last few years speaks volumes to not only their beloved place in pop culture, but their musical chops as well.
First, here’s their classic video for “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)”
Second, here’s a touching compilation of remembrances compiled by NPR’s Nina Gregory.
And third, here’s an awesome early profile of Yauch’s group from a 1987 issue of the legendary Creem magazine by Chuck Eddy.
It begins, “At 32 minutes past two the morning of 16 January 1987, two Beastie Boys broke into my West Hollywood hotel room and dumped a wastebasket of extremely wet water on my head, my bed, the carpeting and my Converse All-Stars. (I’d stupidly left the chain-lock unsecured, and I suppose they bribed the night clerk into giving them a key.) Earlier that evening, after Pee-Wee Herman had visited their dressing room and before they appeared on Joan Rivers’ show, the Beasties were tossing parsley at me, dropping ice cubes in my hair, and “dissin’” (graffiti-artist lingo for “saying bad things about”) my brown socks and flannel shirt. I interpreted all of this to mean that they did not like me.”
While Eddy’s profile reveals Yauch and his bandmates to be nothing short of out-of-control hooligans in their early days, they mellowed with age, becoming outspoken activists for human rights, particularly Tibetan freedom.