2012 is proving a year of tremendous loss to the music industry. Adam Yauch, aka MCA, of the Beastie Boys has died. A founding member of the seminal hip hop group, Yauch was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor of the parotid gland in 2009. He was 47.
Originally a punk rock band formed by Yauch and Michael Diamond, later known as Mike D, in 1979, Adam Horowitz (Ad-Rock) joined the group in 1983 to form the famed trio. While they experimented with hip hop, they fully embraced the still nascent rap genre after hooking up with producer Rick Rubin who had recently co-founded Def Jam Recordings with Russell Simmons.
They released their first masterwork Licensed to Ill in 1986, containing the hits “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)” and “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.” Licensed to Ill became the best-selling rap album of the 1980s and was the first rap album to top the Billboard charts.
The Beastie Boys continued their string of successes with 1989’s Paul’s Boutique – generally considered the group’s greatest achievement – followed by 1992’s Check Yo Head and 1994’s Ill Communication, featuring the classic song and video, “Sabotage.”
The group continued making music throughout the 90s and 00s but had to postpone their last album, Hot Sauce Committee as well as the subsequent tour following the announcement of Yauch’s cancer. That album finally saw the light of day in April 2011.
Just last month, The Beastie Boys were among the inductees into the 2012 class of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
As we mourn the loss of yet another brilliant performer, it’s important to remember what made him so brilliant to begin with. Below, one of the Beastie Boys’ best, the video for “Sabotage,” directed by Spike Jonze:
Yauch is survived by his wife and daughter. R.I.P. MCA. [TMZ]