Founding Beastie Boy Adam Yauch (MCA) Has Died
The Def Jam Records legacy and the entire hip-hop world has lost a pioneer. Founding Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch has died, Entertainment Weekly reports. He was 47 years old.
Yauch, known to fans as MCA, had battled thyroid cancer since 2009. Surgery and radiation treatment forced Yauch off the road, kept him from the Brooklyn trio's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction two weeks ago, and shelved the release of the group's album Hot Sauce Committee Part 2.
The first two-thirds of the Beastie Boys came together when Yauch met Mike Diamond - AKA, Mike D. - when Yauch was in high school in Brooklyn. The Beastie Boys started as a garage hardcore outfit joined by John Berry and eventual Luscious Jackson founder Kate Schellenbach. When Berry left, he was replaced by Adam Horovitz - AKA, DJ Ad Rock - and the group's prank call-sampled song "Cookie Puss" became the genesis for the trio's blending of humor and hip-hop that would become the Beastie Boys hallmark after Schellenbach left.
Rick Rubin signed MCA, Mike D and Ad Rock to his Def Jam label, the classic Licensed To Ill was released in 1986, and the door that pale-faced successes like Vanilla Ice and Eminem would walk through had been kicked in. It was the first album to top the Billboard album chart, and the video for "(You Gotta) Fight For Your RIght (To Party)" made them early MTV icons.
Paul's Boutique followed in 1989, Check Your Head in 1992 and Ill Communication in 1994, as improving production showed that the trio was no joke. They were actually approaching their craft like musicians.
As they kept progressing as artist, Yauch frequently directed the trio's music videos under his alias Nathanial Hornblower, including clips for "Intergalactic" and "So What'cha Want". He also became a devout Buddhist and heavily involved in the cause of furthering Tibetan dissidents' freedom from Chinese oppression.
Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen Wengdu and daughter Losel.