I was in the fourth grade when I got “Licensed To Ill.” My grandmother gave me $6 for hitting a home-run in my little league game, and I had my parents take me to Sam Goody Records immediately so I can buy the cassette tape. Licensed To Ill was the album all my friends were talking about and listening to at school. It made us laugh, dance, and sing/rap. “The New Style” was my favorite track, I couldn’t get enough of the beat, and the ending of the song that was slow with the pounding bass drum got my head bobbing back and forth. That song still gives me energy!
“Licensed To Ill” introduced me to the scratchy voice of Adam Yauch, aka MCA. He immediately became my favorite Beastie Boy. The way he was able to deliver his rhymes and witty lyrics captured me. I loved how MCA and the Beasties evolved every album, from their music to their lyrics, to their messages about partying moving to messages about soul, spirit, and life. Adam Yauch passed away on May 4, 2012, at the young age of 47. When I first heard about his passing, a wave of sadness came over me. My face dropped and I had to hold back tears multiple times because I was at work.
I never thought I would feel this way when a well-known musician/celebrity passed away. I was to young to understand John Lennon’s death, I didn’t flinch when I heard about Kurt Cobain, and when Michael Jackson passed away, I think I felt a sort of relief for him. I could see with all his physical changes and the problems he was dealing with, his passing was almost expected. But with MCA, I felt a connection.
When I called my wife to tell her about Adam Yauch, a tear fell from my eye. Time catches up with us all. I believe we forget about that, for ourselves, loved ones, and heroes from our yesteryears. One of the first artists I admired as a young child had passed away.
“Paul’s Boutique” was released and like a lot of world, I didn’t understand it. It wasn’t until I became a musician I realized how ahead of its time it was and how inspirational it still is.
With “Check Your Head” MCA’s fuzz bass blew my mind. I couldn’t stop listening to that album, “Pass Tha Mic,” “Watcha Want,” “Graditude,” and “Somethings Got To Give,” we’re my songs, I couldn’t get enough.
During my senior year in high school, “Ill Communication” came out. It became my favorite Beastie Boys album, and it still is. I would listen to it constantly while I was working on my baseball swing every evening. The songs pumping me up to be the best I can be.
I then got a CD player and replaced all my Beastie Boy tapes with their CDs.
I continued to buy the Beastie Boys new albums when released, excited to hear the new directions they were leading. I loved watching their memorable videos and enjoying how much fun they had and how they never seemed to be taking themselves to seriously. I truly believe “Sabotage” has to be one of the greatest videos, if not the best, of the 1990s!
It was a very sad day for the music world.
Thank you Mr. Adam Yauch, for your music, art, videos, philanthropy work, and showing artists how to evolve with each project you and your bandmates took on. You will be missed.