The New York Times Magazine presents for their last issue of the year “The Lives They Live” series, documenting the heroes that we have lost in 2012. For us and our industry, one of the saddest passings was for sure Adam “MCA” Yauch from the Beastie Boys.
“Yauch and the other Beasties — Adam (Ad-Rock) Horovitz and Michael (Mike D) Diamond — came from circumstances that had previously not produced any rappers of note. They were white Jewish New Yorkers who played together as a teenage hardcore band before they made hip-hop records; when they started rapping, they bent the music to their own concerns without robbing it of its outlaw appeal. They rhymed about beer, girls and mischief in screwy, squirrelly voices over music — by the producer, Def Jam co-founder and would-be Beastie-Svengali Rick Rubin — that pilfered ’70s dirtbag metal, old-school funk and the “Mr. Ed” theme song. They were somehow both credible and ludicrous, a joke about hip-hop that never felt like a joke at hip-hop’s expense. Their debut album, “Licensed to Ill,” from 1986, was the first rap record to top the Billboard 200.”