A Discordian rap star who balances the world on his hatred of the mundane. He's also a songwriter/rapper/producer/performer/poet type of person who does things, and hopes that you like them or that you dislike them in such a way that it will bring you pleasure.
« view all posts
All of us who are lovers of music, worldwide, mourn the loss of Adam Yauch (MCA) from the seminal urban music gurus the Beastie Boys. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you if you hadn’t heard. :(
The changes in music that the Beasties made, and thus Yauch made, will never leave us because they’re woven into the very components we use to forge our craft - whatever genre you’re a part of. While part of their popularity was indeed based on factors far beyond their control (*cough*whiterockradio*cough*) the truth is that MCA, Ad Rock and Mike D had to not only be in the right place at the right time - but also recognize what was really happening around them and follow their whims as artists and humans.
One of a few permanent changes in music culture they are responsible for was to come from the Beasties taking part in crossing over from hardcore to hip hop. Some people may not be aware of the role that punk rock clubs played in the birth of hip hop culture, but for that there is a cure: The Beastie Boys. The idea of urbanity in music without regard to genre seemed to have been born with the Beasties…and while perhaps it wasn’t, that was certainly the mainstream culture’s first introduction to the notion…and found it’s way to me in my small almost-rural town.
Egg Raid on motherfucking Mojo! I threw eggs at houses with my friend rich while we listened to that song. The DMV never should given either of us a license.
The Beastie’s effect on me, personally, is huge. “Fight For Your Right” was one of the first songs that I heard independent of what my parents showed me and, like them, I embraced it in my youth as a cool way to say “NO, MOM….NO DAD…LIFE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE SO…SO…NOT FUN!”. Whether consciously or not I eventually grew tired of it’s banal rebellion and wrote them off as foolish as I got into more “heady” and “important” music.
The only thing that tripped me up was that THEY HAD THE SAME REVELATION. Thing is, people from my generation all GREW UP with the Beasties not just as listeners…but in many ways as people. We saw them as the ridiculous children they acted like on the first, and half of the second albums they put out. Then, they dropped “Check Your Head” and blew our minds with insightful consideration…showing our mainstream culture what they should have always known: rap, and urban music in general, had the same breadth of opinion that all other forms of music do. It was OKAY to look at your former self and say “LULZ, that was absurd. I’m glad I’m not like that anymore.”
And it didn’t mean you had to lose a paycheck as long as you killed it.
It’s a growth that many artists of any caliber, genre or popularity level never embrace…and I propose that we make it the OTHER permanent change in music we can credit the Beasties for, the one that allows us to see people who make art as growing and living humans who can make honest assessments not only on the human condition as a whole - but their own deeply personal development.
I can’t pretend that as a rap fan I was checking for the next Beastie Boys release. In that context this loss isn’t wildly effective on me and I’d be lying if I said it was. When I think of the Beastie Boys, the indelible impression left on me is one of personal progression as human beings and instrumentalists, not as rappers, and I’ve said as much very publicly before.
But the shortness of breath I experience, and the heavy feeling in my heart tells me for sure what I’ve known for years and may have not been as obvious as it should be when I discuss the Beasties: whatever it sounded like, whatever combination of earnest and opportunistic their reasons for being popular is, and however many albums AFTER the ones I love got put out…I would not want to live in a world which MCA was never a part of.
Namaste, Adam Yauch.