Nitsuh Abebe adds some commentary to the MCA rememberance.


His eventual spiritual awakening involved embracing Buddhism and snowboarding through Tibet. If this now scans as the most nineties-style spiritual awakening a person could possibly have, well, there’s a chicken-and-egg quality to that: When Yauch found it, it wasn’t even really the nineties yet, and his group turned out to be the kind of institution that could actually affect what the youth of America were going to spend the decade thinking of as cool. They wound up offering earnest activism, Tibetan freedom, Buddhism, thoughtful adulthood, clothes that still look far less embarrassing than what people on television were wearing at the time, videos that steered the entire course of what videos might be like (thanks in part to Nathaniel Hornblower, Yauch’s director alter ego), a magazine and label that introduced countless kids to formerly obscure bits of art and music and style (in the same spirit as that pre-boutique era of downtown Manhattan) — not to mention Oscilloscope, the film distribution company Yauch co-founded — and albums that pulled from a rich primordial stew of punk, hip-hop, and funk, samples and synths and live instruments, blurts of hardcore melting into snatches of jazz and fragments of most everything else.


Adam "MCA" Yauch, 1964-2012

Adam “MCA” Yauch, 1964-2012
Photo Credit:

A lot of what could be said already has by people who knew the famous MC a lot better than some fan like myself. I’ll only add that it makes me supremely sad that his passing came about so soon.

The Beastie Boys were my first favourite rap group. I remember thinking that Yauch had the best rhymes of any of the group, and his unabashed gray locks made him one of the most easily identifyable musicians.

Reading about Yauch’s death this afternoon was very hard to read, and while I will not be tearing my clothes or covering my head with ashes, I think it is important to note what an amazing legacy he left behind and not just in music. His support of Tibetan independence, film and peace ought to be included in any discussion of his memory.

Music has lost one of the great MC’s, and a decent human being as well.