Adam Yauch, better known as MCA, of the Beastie Boys died today. As I noted on Facebook, this makes me very fucking sad. I’ve been listening to the Beastie Boys since I heard the news this afternoon, and for this evening, I’ll call my cherry-pomegranate juice/Southern Comfort mix a Brass Monkey.
The Beasties’ first album, Licensed to Ill, was one of those formative albums in my career as a music lover. Up until then, my parents mostly approved of what I listened to. I was listening to what they were listening to. Licensed to Ill was most definitely not something they were listening to or even interested it. For me, it was the hard rock drive of Fight for Your Right that hooked me. It was also one of, if not the, first time I was exposed to rap. Can’t recall if the Run-DMC version of Walk This Way was before or after or around the same time. My mom never stopped me and my brother listening to Licensed to Ill. My aunt, on the other hand, took the album away from my cousin. It’s raunchy. It’s about girls and dope and booze and girls and booze and capping people during a (fictional!) robbery (Paul Revere, my favorite track on LtI, tells a completely absurd story of how the boys met). Oh, yeah, and girls. I was too young to understand most of it, but when I listen to it today, I don’t get what got parents’ panties in a bunch. It’s boys being boys. Then again, I’ve always been intelligent and mature enough not to take lyrics of any sort at face value.
I didn’t actually own my own copy of LtI until much, much later. It was ostensibly my brother’s cassette, and I eventually went on to the Doors and Concrete Blonde and such. I didn’t keep up with the Beasties because they just weren’t played on the radio stations I listened to, and I couldn’t stomach listening to the radio stations they would get airplay on. Still, I always loved them when I did hear them.
MCA was my favorite from the beginning. I adore his gravelly, growly voice, and I’m very sad that that voice has gone silent. I think I would have liked hanging out with him. The Beastie Boys’ induction to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame this year was well deserved, and MCA, as a musician and a man, is a huge part of why they deserve such accolades.