Happy Birthday, MCA!
As long as hip-hop is around, the Beastie Boys' contributions won't be forgotten. Today (Aug. 5), we remember the rapper in the trio with the raspy voice. MCA, born Adam Yauch, would've turned 51 years old.
The Beastie Boys were one of the first white hip-hop acts to have both commercial successful and props from the genre's constituents -- a co-sign from a proudly pro-black group like Public Enemy is definitely a huge one. The three Jewish rabble-rousers scored with their debut album, Licensed to Ill, which is considered the first hip-hop album to top the Billboard charts. Paul's Boutique, a sophomore album filled with a whirlwind of off-the-wall sampling and pop culture references, still stands as the Beastie Boys' finest achievement. Like It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, there will never be another album like it because of sampling laws.
MCA became the conscientious third of the group after feeling uncomfortable with the misogynistic, party boy tone of the Beastie Boys earlier records. His mindset was apparent on Ill Communication, another career highlight. Songs like "Shambala" and "Bodhisattva Vow" revealed his Buddhist faith, and "Sure Shot" famously featured him taking a stand against misogyny: "I want to say a little something that's long overdue / The disrespect to women has got to be through." His lyrics were still on point, too, like in the Q-Tip-featured cypher of "Get It Together" and when he gave bonbons a shoutout on the Hello Nasty' track "Body Movin."
The MC was involved in a variety of projects outside of the Beastie Boys, including founding the independent film distribution company Oscilloscope Pictures and directing documentaries (he also directed many of the Beastie Boys videos). Sadly in 2012, MCA passed away after a lengthy battle with thyroid cancer just months after the Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Although the Beastie Boys are no more following MCA's passing, the legacy of their work remains.
Listen to the Beastie Boys' "Bodhisattva Vow"
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