Thursday, 17 May 2012

Adam Yauch and the Beastie Boys: A Tribute

by Oli Price

Tribute to Adam Yauch at Washington Airport
Image source:
Adam Yauch (MCA)
Image source: Hollywood Reporter
The Beastie Boys were an American hip-hop band that formed in 1979. They initially set out to be a hardcore punk band, however made the switch to rap and achieved huge commercial success with the album Licensed to Ill in 1985. This album went on to sell more than 40 million albums worldwide, making them according to Billboard: “the biggest-selling rap group" since 1991. The album also featured arguably their most famous song Fight for Your Right. The band built on this success by releasing the 1988 album Pauls’ Boutique which was met with critical acclaim and was ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as 156 on the list of the top 500 albums of all time. The band's popularity and success continued with the releases of Ill Communication and Hello Nasty which won them many awards including a Grammy in 1999. In 2009, the bassist Adam Yauch (also known as MCA) announced a new album was to be released and a new tour would commence; however, later that year Yauch told fans that the album had been postponed and several tour dates had been cancelled due to the discovery of a tumour in one of his salivary glands. Yauch did not see the album finished, as he died on the 4th of May 2012; he was 47.

The Beastie Boys
Image source:
Yauch himself was a founding member and the bassist of the Beastie Boys, although in the earlier albums he used the pseudonym “Nathanial Hörnblowér” to perform. Yauch was also a practising Buddhist and philanthropist, being a staunch supporter of the Tibetan Independence Movement. Yauch created his own charity, The Milarepa Fund, which is devoted to Tibetan Independence. Following his death in May, many fellow musicians have expressed their respect for Yauch and condolences to his wife Dechen and their daughter Tenzin. Among those who paid tribute to Yauch’s memories were Radiohead front man Thom Yorke, the rappers Eminem and Q-Tip, comedian Ben Stiller and the Dalai Lama. Also an airport in Washington paid to tribute to the memory of Yauch by posting a message on their departures board (pictured above). He will be missed.

Tributes to Yauch included a resolution passed by the New York State Senate to mark his passing:

WHEREAS it is the sense of this legislative body to honor and pay tribute to those individuals whose commitmen and creative talents have contributed to the entertainment and cultural enrichment of their community and the entire State of New York; and

WHEREAS Adam Yauch, also known as MCA, the rapper, musician, activist, film director and founder of the pioneering New York hip-hop group the Beastie Boys, died on Friday, May 4, 2012, in Manhattan at age 47; . . .

WHEREAS the music and message of the Beastie Boys evolved over the years but they can't, they don't, they won't stop changing the face of hip-hop, of music, and of our culture; . . .

RESOLVED that this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to mourn the death of famed rapper and activist Adam "MCA" Yauch . . .

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