Adam “MCA” Yauch lost his battle with cancer at the all-too-young age of 47 on this date in 2012. A founding member of the Beastie Boys, Yauch was a talented filmmaker, producer, avid snowboarder, vegan, Buddhist, Tibet freedom activist and multi-talented musician adept at playing several instruments.
Beastie Boys Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz detailed MCA’s influence on the pioneering hip-hop group at length in the Beastie Boys Book that came out last year. Ad-Rock wrote:
For so many reasons, we were lucky to have this band. But one of the reasons me+ Mike were lucky is that we didn’t have to figure out a lot of shit because Yauch already knew it. Once a week, for thirty years, Yauch would say something like, “Oh yeah, I heard about this camera that takes a 360-degree picture. We should stand on a corner and take one of those. It’d look so cool to see NYC like that.” Where did he hear about that camera? Where did he “hear” about so many things, so often? I want to reiterate this pre-Internet thing. Besides what your teachers are talking about in school, if you didn’t have a #ComputerSmartPhoneTablet with a #UnlimitedDataPlan … how the fuck would you know anything about what you really wanna know?
But Yauch had knowledge of things that I didn’t even know I should want to know about. Maybe it’s because I’m just not a good payer of attention, but Yauch, since the day I met him, had knowledge, had insight into so much outside our teenage world. He could pull out little gems of information just as casually as you’d pull a cough drop out of your coat pocket. He had an understanding of things like history and science, and nature, and food, and music, and even just … life, like how to navigate living in a big, sketchy city. He was a lot older than just the one and a half years that separated us.
While the Beastie Boys’ album Paul’s Boutique is considered a sampling masterpiece, subsequent releases such as Check Your Head and the all-instrumental The Mix-Up went on to showcase the three members playing their own instruments. Check out an all-instrumental Beastie Boys Spotify Playlist below: