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  • R.I.P. Adam Yauch
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Adam Yauch

Unbelievably, crushingly sad news to report. TMZ reports that Adam Yauch, otherwise known as Beastie Boys member MCA, has died. At this point, no cause has been revealed, though it’s likely to have something to do with the cancerous tumor that he was diagnosed with in 2009. He was 47.

The Brooklyn-born Yauch formed the hardcore-punk version of the Beasties in the early ’80s. He played bass, and they played their first show on his 17th birthday. When the Beasties switched over to snot-nosed white-rap pranksters, Yauch seemed like the toughest of the three. His voice was the hardest and the hoarsest, he always had a leather jacket and a three-day beard, and when the Beasties opened up Madonna’s Like A Virgin tour, he’s the one who ended up making out with her.

In the Beasties’ middle period, Yauch got really into snowboarding and also into filmmaking. Under his Nathaniel Hornblower pseudonym, Yauch directed a number of the group’s videos. Later on, he founded the film studio Oscilloscope Laboratories, which distributed movies like Exit Through The Gift Shop, Wendy And Lucy, and Bellflower. He also directed the Beasties concert film Awesome, I Fuckin’ Shot That and the enormously likable high-school basketball documentary Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot.

As the Beasties went on, Yauch became the group’s conscience. He became a Buddhist, and, toward the end of his life, a vegan. He’s the one who drove the group’s interest in the Tibetan rights cause, leading to the massive Tibetan Freedom Concerts that the group played in the late-’90s. On the Ill Communication single “Sure Shot,” he’s the one who said, “To all the mothers and the sisters and the wives and friends / I wanna offer my love and respect to the end.”

After Yauch was diagnosed with cancer, the Beasties canceled all their touring and recording plans. He seemed to be confident and in good spirits about his condition, though. He kept fans updated about his treatments, and he remained semi-active with the Beasties. The group released the playful, joyous Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 album last year, and Yauch directed the fun and cameo-packed long-form “Make Some Noise” video.

Even after that diagnosis, Yauch’s loss comes as a sudden shock; it’s hard not to feel like you were punched in the chest upon learning of it. The Beasties are one of the most important and influential pop-music forces of the past three decades or so, and it’s impossible to measure how much of an effect Yauch had on rap’s rise to dominance, on skater culture, on the ’90s youth-culture drive for geopolitical change, on indie film, and on popular culture in general. On top of that, he seemed like a fundamentally decent human being during his decades in the spotlight. Given the amount of money and attention the Beasties got when they were young and crazy, it’s a no-joke miracle that he carried themselves with such humility and humanity.

Here are some examples of why he was so great:

Comments (126)
  1. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Going for a last minute play at worst comment of the week are we?

    • too early, dick

      • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

        • there’s a time and place for everything. Have some class.

          • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

          • I’m sorry, did your aunt touch any of our lives in some way…? It’s called collective grieving dick.

          • Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD. File under: Lessons in Maturity

        • Yeah. Agreed.

          I mean, unless you’re not a dickhole, but that’s probably asking a lot.

        • Let explain to you how this works Andrew, because you clearly have no idea.

          One, none of us know your aunt, so we’re not going to go around making jokes about her dying when she does.

          Two, IF we did. The joke would be something relevant to the person and there life. Something everyone knows about. Like for example, Let’s say your aunt loved playing golf but she sucked at it. I might say “Well, looks like Jesus is going to watch himself on the golf course now that Andrew’s aunt is in the group behind him.”

          What you did, not only was it not funny, but it was a sarcastic jab that had nothing really to do with Adam or the Beastie Boys. You just used his death to take a shot at Coachella.

          So, you see, your dickish comment and your general inability to understand why it was dickish is why everyone hates you here.

          • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

          • That’s not an example of hyperbole. I think the literary device you utilized is commonly referred to as “bullshit”.

          • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

          • Stop using pictures of shitty drummers for your handle, “Andrew Schneider”.

            Also, I’m a science fiction writer.

    • too soon jokes…you’re doing it right.

    • It should’ve been you Schneider, it should’ve been you.

    • Goddamn, at least Michael_’s bottom-five comment sweep was entertaining. This is just a pathetic jibe from an even more pathetic human being.

    • Nah, you know what…I’ll be the one guy who upvoted this. Fuck it. I laughed too. Grow a sense of humour guys. it’s a comment board. Holy moley. 77 downvotes? It wasn’t even a disrespectful joke towards MCA…it was a HOLOGRAM joke. Some of you are going to the funeral I take it? Man.

      • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

        • I’ve been complaining about this issue for a while as well. Stereogum seems to use the downvote too much, almost to the point where it loses its power, compared to Videogum where it is only reserved for certain occasions.

          On that note I am in no way implying that Andrew’s comment was appropriate much less funny, but 107 downvotes??? Just downvote it enough so that it’s hidden and not too much so that’s not in the comments of the week section next Friday

      • seriously. the guy makes a completely inoffensive joke and you all act like he just shot your dog. and as freshie points out, he didn’t even say anything regarding MCA. end result? over 100 downvotes (oh, we’ll get there), a “you should’ve died” comment, and getting called a “pathetic human being.” this is precisely why i get annoyed as all fuck at the internet – particularly stereogum – whenever a celebrity dies. you get totally crucified if you do anything other than sing the highest praises of the deceased.

        riddle me this, downvoters – let’s say that you’re chatting up a random person in a bar tonight, and they make the same comment about the holograms and whatnot. are you gonna freak the fuck out and tell said person that they’re a pathetic human being who should die?

        • I was joking with the you should’ve died comment, just poking fun at the insanely harsh reactions schneider was getting.

        • Speaking of being annoyed at the internet. I have the opposite problem. My opinion is that being a troll is indefensible. It’s o.k. to make a joke at the expense of a musician the day he/she dies but it’s not o.k. to be upset or offended by said joke. The votes have spoken. I’m not wishing death on the guy or anything but it should be acceptable for me to disagree with the comment.

          If I was at a bar and someone made a “MCA is dead” joke I would not find it funny. I wouldn’t freak out or wish death on them but I wouldn’t just fake a laugh so as not the hurt the jokers feelings. As you pointed out, the troll is getting what he wants, almost a hundred down votes. Time to celebrate.

          • trolls annoy me, too, albeit in a different way than “OMG a famous person just died” hypersensitivity does. but i don’t really see schneider’s first joke as really being all that inflammatory in the first place, so i’m hesitant to call him a true “troll” a la rubjon. even so, sure, you’ve got the right to be pissed off about it. you’ve got the right to say anything you want… and that’s actually my beef with the attitudes in these famous person death threads.

          • I get your point Ben. HIs joke was certainly not the worst thing that could have been said, but being that it was the first comment on an article about someone dying of cancer it’s hard to expect people to not be somewhat offended or upset by it. Then the internet does what it does best and overreacts and a troll is born (even if he is not a true “troll”).

        • Just have to chime in and say I hate this whitewashing of dead celebrities that is so common these days. It isn’t totally applicable in this case, as it seems like Adam Yauch was a stand up guy along with a music pioneer, but it is annoying as all hell when morally ambiguous characters are elevated to sainthood upon their death.

          And, now I present the master of dealing with such drivel, the late great christopher hitchens:

          On Rev. Jerry Falwell-

          and Princess Diana-

      • I thought it was pretty funny, and MCA’s death hurt me pretty bad.

      • You make a good point, but he’s not doing himself any favors with those follow up comments.

      • I agree I think the joke was really taking a jab at the idea of hologramming. The question we should raise is, if this is offensive, why is it not offensive to show Tupac as a hologram? Is there a statue of limitations, so to speak, over when it is right to hologram someone?


    • Andrew Schneider, you are a fucking cunt.

    • dude, youre a dick, but also a legend, probably like the top 20 worst comments of the week.

  2. This is the worst.

  3. Crushingly sad only begins to explain it. RIP Adam. Really sad.

  4. I just read about this, it is pretty sad, but expected. Rolling Stone mentioned that he was too sick to go to their inauguration into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, and was also the reason they got actors to play them in their last music video. Still heart breaking.

    • Actually, there are no actors in their last video, just barbie and ken dolls. But if you are referring to Make Some Noise, he is in it. Well, the long version anyway.

  5. One of the most influential figures in Rap history. He will be missed, but he will not be forgotten.

  6. Absolute terrible news. He brought so much to the music world

  7. Shit, this is just…. terrible news

  8. “The A is for Adam and the lyrics; true.”

    It’s going to be a Paul’s Boutique weekend for me. So sad :(

    • ‘Year and a Day’ was hands-down the best part of B-Boy Bouillabaisse and one of the best parts of Paul’s Boutique. I can’t believe it’s over.

      • I always loved:

        “He thrusts his fists against the post and still insists he sees a ghost.”

        But yes, B-Boy Bouillabaisse is my favorite. Hands be down.

  9. MCA come and rock the sure shot

  10. Michael_  |   Posted on May 4th, 2012 +23

    Man, I hate cancer. Everyone is dying of cancer lately. All my friends’ parents or just people that other people know — In fact, a family friend just passed away yesterday due to pancreatic cancer. It’s like it’s closing in on us, and as I get older, I can’t help but worry at night before I go to sleep and get sad thinking about the limit to our lives, not knowing what happens after. Sorry for getting emo, but I guess it’s occasions like this that remind us to enjoy it all and do whatever truly makes us happy, share it with others instead of taking trivial things such as unfulfilling jobs, terrible friends and heartbreak seriously.

    Adam and The Beastie Boys remind me of some of my best days in high school — Driving down the Pike to cross-country practice at the state park, windows down, bass up, stereos blaring. It was always sunny, so for those memories, thank you MCA.

  11. This is a really sad day. The Beastie Boys always had this eternally youthful feel to them, like they would always remain crazy twenty-somethings forever, but life, unfortunately, says things differently. RIP Adam, you truly were a legend and we’ll always continue to fight for our right to party in your honor.

  12. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  13. Aright I’ll just say this then leave….he died from being too ill
    Thumbs down to the right->

  14. Even in his mid-forties, and battling cancer, he just seemed so youthful and energetic. You don’t think about people like him dying. We lost a legend, and a good man.

  15. Grammys better not snub him next year like they did Guru. Thankful to have been able to see them live.

  16. Going on a beastie boys marathon today. I will make sure every song on the juke box at the bar is beastie boys tonight.

  17. woah. this is so sad. licensed to ill, paul’s boutique and check your head on repeat all weekend, i guess…

  18. Anyone who doesn’t think this sucks can eat a diiiiiiick

  19. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  20. Man, this one hurts. I’m going to respect the man the only way I know how: listen to and enjoy the great music he left behind.

  21. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

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  23. There are just no words. I have been a fan since 1985. He will be missed.

  24. Make some noise for MCA

  25. RIP Mr. Yauch, i’ll be bumping Future’s “Pluto” in your honor

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  27. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • occupy shitstreak

    • Surprised I didn’t get downvoted into oblivion over the weekend. That’s positive.

      Time to start looking at the real causes of cancer instead of picking out a special color of ribbon and giving money to corrupt charities that are often tied to big pharma.

      Peace to MCA

  28. Best to Adam’s friends and family.

    On another note, yes, fuck cancer and all that, but how about celebrating the life and legacy? We can be emotionally sad, but still appreciative of the time that was. Sadsacking around is about the opposite of the BB message. Those guys soundtracked some good times for many of us, and I’m no expert or medium, but I am feeling positive that MCA would have wanted it that way.

    Also, not to get all preachy, but don’t downvote the shit out of some asshole so that he can grab a last minute top spot. I’m as excited as the next guy that underdawg and rubj have some new competition, but this is not the time.

  29. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

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  32. Dick Clark and Yauch dead at the same damn time at the same damn time

  33. RIP Mr. Yauch, i’ll be bumping Wale’s “Sabotage” in your honor

    • We get it pal, you’re not into the Beastie Boys and you’re obviously better then the rest of us but why did you have to start nine different threads to get this point across? Your time could be better spent being a dick elsewhere I’m sure.

  34. Far too many trolls on this, a bit of respect would be nice.

    Dreadful, devastating news. RIP.

  35. The first CD I ever bought was Hello Nasty. To this day, it’s one of my favorite albums. We truly lost a musical hero today.

  36. “Once was lost but now I’m found, the music washes over you’re the one with the sound.”

    Will always remember listening to that song for the first time. Lots of good memories of his music. Such sad news.

  37. In 5th grade, I owned 2 albums: The Beatles 1962-1966 and Hello Nasty. I studied the lyrics of “Intergalactic” over and over until I mastered it and began “performing” for my friends at school. They’d be like, “David, rap! Do a rap!” And then I busted out “Intergalactic” and probably sounded like an idiot, but I loved it. What I’m trying to say is that the Beastie Boys mean a lot to me. Love you MCA.

  38. what in the fuck? this doesn’t’ feel real. I felt sick all day. Will miss you Yauch.

    “He made his own helicopter, out of wood…” -MCA on Uncle Hornblower

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  39. May the 4th be with MCA! RIP

  40. I’ve been a Beastie fanatic since 1986. Music rules my life and the death of MCA hurts bad. Haven’t felt this way about a musician passing since Joe Strummer. RIP MCA.

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  42. This makes me so sad. He seemed like the nicest guy and I’ve listened to their music my whole life. He was way too young :(

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