RIP MCA: Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys, 1964-2012
The Beastie Boys’ best music video never got seen. Adam Yauch–who also rocked the mic as MCA–had put together an amazing clip that incorporated about 16 different Asian kung-fu movies. It was an effin’ masterpiece of editing that made it look like the Beasties had gone out and hired a cast of thousands. The video was also a legal nightmare when it came to clearing copyrights. The important thing is that this was back in 1994, when plenty of hipsters were getting turned on to Asian kung-fu cinema. Yauch had already spent years messing around with the genre.
Now we’ve lost the legendary Yauch to cancer at the miserably young age of 47. He’d announced his medical troubles back in 2009, and things looked pretty grim when he didn’t show up this year for the Beastie Boys’ induction into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. His fellow Beastie Boys also united behind Yauch to sit out any appearances in videos for the 2011 Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2 album. (Pt. 1 hadn’t come out after being delayed by Yauch’s illness.) The Beastie Boys had already moved over 40 million units as a pioneering rap/metal/punk/jazz band, and had gone way beyond the basements of Brooklyn where they used to bang out ’80s hardcore.
It’s tough to imagine the Beasties without MCA–especially as a visual artist. He was the one with the vision of the fan-shot 2006 Beastie Boys concert film Awesome; I F**kin’ Shot That!, and his Oscilloscope Laboratories production company made films that covered Yauch’s insanely wild interests. The sk8rs are mourning, but the art world just took a hit. Now let’s skip the obscure and remember MCA with a classic: