I spent my day today talking to friends about Adam Yauch’s death and listening to nothing but old Beastie Boys albums. A little HELLO NASTY with my late lunch, a little ILL COMMUNICATION as the sky started to lose it’s blue, and now I’m lost in PAUL’S BOUTIQUE as I write this.
Honestly, I didn’t realize that Yauch was 47 and at a month shy of 30, I’m 17 years his junior but it still ages me so and makes me reflect on my own mortality and how quickly things can change. Last weekend I was listening to Beastie Boys albums with friends while on a road trip thinking about how awesome (though obviously unlikely) it would be to see them live, now I’m writing something that is way to close to an obituary on MCA and I’m reading a seemingly endless stream of celebrities, musicians, and friends pay tribute to the man.
As I said, there have been countless tributes to MCA and that really is the way to remember him, not this maudlin shit. So let’s remember his contribution to not just hip hop, punk, jazz, and music in general, but to politics and the arts as well. MCA was an inspiration to all creative people and below are just a few clips and a list of, what I view as, some truly superior Beastie Boys songs. Honestly, I could have put up a dozen more, but these are the ones I keep going back to today. Please, please weigh in in the comment section about your favorite MCA memory, your favorite Beastie Boys song, and the way you were hit by Adam Yauch’s passing.
LICENSED TO ILL — “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)”
The most well known track off of the groups first album following their full transformation into a rap trio after the success of “Cooky Puss” and their collaboration with Rick Rubin. The first time I ever heard or saw MCA, Mike D, and Ad-rock it was on an episode of BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD and this was the video. The same thing can be said of Devo, but that is an entirely different article. By the way, if there is no “Fight for Your Right”, there is no “Fight for Your Right (Revisited)” and that would be a sin against humanity.
CHECK YOUR HEAD — “So What’cha Want”
I’m skipping over PAUL’S BOUTIQUE even though it is awesome to highlight CHECK YOUR HEAD and my all time favorite Beasty song, “So What’cha Want”.
ILL COMMUNICATION — “Sabotage”
Best album: ILL COMMUNICATION, I’ve thought about that off and on today, PAUL’S is up there, HELLO NASTY, but no. ILL gets the medal and “Sabotage” is probably the bands best known video and the one that sort of started Spike Jonze’ career.
ILL COMMUNICATION — “Get it Together”
Phone is ringin… oh my Gawd.
HELLO NASTY — “Remote Control”
Just an amazingly diverse album — jazz, heavy samples, and the Beastie Boys debut of Mix Master Mike.
TO THE 5 BOROUGHS — “Ch-Check it Out”
MCA is all over this track from TO THE 5 BOROUGHS and this live performance from Letterman is one I remember and a pretty cool glimpse at the groups ceaseless energy.
HOT SAUCE COMMITTEE PART 2 — “Don’t Play No Game that I Can’t Win”
Featuring Santigold, this reggae influenced track is the standout on what is now, sadly, MCA’s last album.
As I said up-top, these are just a few favorites and I, we all, would love to hear some of yours.
Adam Yauch, MCA
We’ll miss you Nathaniel Hornblower.