May 4, 2012 by


My Name is MCA, I got a license to Kill

It’s hard to believe the guy who hoarsely barks those lyrics out in Paul Revere is the same guy that died of cancer today at the age of 47.  Licensed to Ill was such a ham handed over the top slap in the face of everything hip hop and rock.  It was full of lewd imagery, juvenile lyrics and headbangingly dumb rock n roll.  Of course, like most everything the Beastie Boys ever did, it somehow worked – capturing the imagination of every 14 year old white boy across America.

Then what happened?  The boys go and release a genuine rump shaking follow up that legitimized them with a whole new group of fans, and more importantly, the hop world at large.  For over twenty years the B-Boys have laid down track after track, giving us Mario C and Money Mark along the way.  Whether they’re leaning back on their Punk Rock roots (Sabotage, Time For Living, Heart Attack Man) showing off their quick witted rap (3 Minute Rule, B-Boy Bouillabaisse) or just getting funky (In 3s, Hey Ladies, Groove Holmes) the Beastie Boys always did it their way, letting us ride along with them.

In the center of it all was Adam Youch.  It’s hard to say that one B-Boy over the other had more influence, but MCA was the rough neck in the middle of the spastic Mike D and over the top Ad Rock, he was the bass note that kept it together and gave it all back bone.   He had principals and backed them up.  When he became Buddhist it became part of his music, and then he helped put on one of the biggest and best benefit concerts (Free Tibet).  He was a good man making good music, and he will be missed.

I saw the Beasties back in 91 at a little venue in Portsmouth, VA – The Boathouse – I’m not the take your shirt off kind of guy, but by the end of the night we were all shirtless and sweaty and euphoric, mashed up against each other, slippin slidin and generally making fools of ourselves, all in rapture as the Beasties took us places we didn’t know we could go.

Years later I saw them at Free Tibet in front of thousands and thousands of people and they hadn’t lost a step.  Instead of a cramped little warehouse, we were in a huge brightly lit field, and they still had us in the palms of their hands.

This is meant to be a tribute to Adam, but in reading it, it’s really as much about the Beastie Boys, you can’t separate them, and who would really want to?  Music, and humanity, lost a bright star today.  We’ll miss you MCA.

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1 Comment

  1. it’s a sad day.

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