Adam Yauch, MCA of the Beastie Boys, dies at 47

Adam Nathaniel Yauch, better known as MCA of the Beastie Boys, passed away today at the age of 47.

May 4, 2012

Adam Nathaniel Yauch, better known as MCA of the Beastie Boys, passed away today at the age of 47. He had been battling cancer, which his announcement in 2009 lead to the canceling of several dates, including the Outside Lands festival, and a postponement of their latest album (and now last album with all original members) Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2. As the Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, MCA was noticeably absent.

The relatively gravelly-voiced Beastie, who provided aural balance to the higher-pitched stylings of Ad-Rock and Mike D, MCA has been with the crew from the very start, since their beginnings as a hardcore punk outfit who first played together on his 17th birthday. Since then, and Beastie’s rise as a hip-hop/punk hybrid (the first example of the two styles compatibility), MCA had evolved from being a beer swilling, women objectifying party animal (what the pop cultures would now call “bro’s”) to a more enlightened and practicing Buddhist, rare in the world of hip-hop and American music in general, revising the lyrics from Licensed to Ill in his later concerts. He also became an activist, organizing all-star concerts to aid the Tibetan cause. Along with his mic work and the guitar chops that he showed off frequently on tracks like “Sabotage”, he was a film director, handling many of the groups music videos under the pseudonym Nathaniel Hörnblowér, and helmed “Awesome! I Fuckin’ Shot That!”, the concert film made with fan footage in the crowds, along with “Gunnin’ for that #1 Spot”, a documentary about basketball prospects from New York.

Yauch is survived by his wife and daughter, and bandmates. [UPDATE: Here is the Beastie Boys’ statement on MCA, via stereogum.]

Check out some of our fondest memories of the Beasties after the jump.

posted: May 4th, 2012, 11:52am

The Dash

Chris Lighty, hip-hop manager extraordinaire, dies

Chris Lighty, the prolific manager who managed the careers of artists including Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe, P. Diddy, 50 Cent and many more, died last night… Read

The Dash

Remembrances on MCA: Cosmo Baker, SFJ, and Questlove

With Adam “MCA” Yauch’s prolonged illness and everyone preparing for the worst, it’s not hard to imagine people were collecting their thoughts on MCA and the… Read

The Dash

Don Cornelius, the creator of Soul Train, passes away

Don Cornelius, creator, producer and host of Soul Train, the long-running black music showcase that ran from 1970 to 2006, has died of an apparent… Read

The Dash

Heavy D passes away suddenly at 44

Dwight Myers, known by millions as Heavy D, died suddenly today at the age of 44 today. Heavy D apparently collapsed at his home in Beverly Hills and was… Read

The Dash

Sylvia Robinson, mother of hip-hop, passes at 75

Sylvia Robinson, recording artist turned record producer who headed Sugar Hill Records, died early this morning. She was 75. Robinson is not a name that’s… Read

The Dash

Why Nick Ashford will be remembered

In 1984, hip-hop was in full swing. By now, Run-DMC were in full force, LL’s “I Need A Beat”, “8 Million Stories” by Kurtis Blow, and Whodini’s Escape album… Read