2012: On May 4, 2012, the hip-hop world suffered a loss with the death of Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch a.k.a MCA.
MCA was born and raised in Brookyln, New York and although no one in his immediate family was musically inclined, he taught himself to play bass guitar and started playing in punk rock bands around the city during his teens.
MCA formed the hip-hop trio The Beastie Boys with Michael “Mike D” Diamond and John Berry in 1981 after the guys had played in a punk band together. By ’83, Berry left the group and was replaced by Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and began to incorporate rapping into their live performances. The guys’ 1983 EP, Cooky Puss, caught the attention of DJ and music industry visionary Rick Rubin, who subsequently signed the now all hip-hop trio to Def Jam Recordings.
The Beastie Boys dropped their debut album, License to Ill, in 1986 to rave reviews. In a time of budding hip-hop ensembles like Run D.M.C, Sugarhill Gang and Public Enemy, hip-hop heads were surprised to see and hear a trio of White kids from New York spitting up to par. License to Ill became the first rap album to hit number one on the Billboard album charts and birthed the singles “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)” and “No Sleep Til Brooklyn.”
After License to Ill, the guys ruled the rap charts in the ’80s and dropped seven more albums to date including Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head and Hello Nasty.
In 2009, MCA was diagnosed with cancer of the salivary gland and lymph nodes. He was treated for the cancer for three years before passing away in 2012. Mike-D and Ad-Rock as well as music figures like Russell Simmons, Eminem and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke all paid tribute to the hip-hop pioneer.
In May 2013, to commemorate the one year anniversary of his passing, Palmetto Playground in MCA’s Brooklyn neighborhood was renamed Adam Yauch Park.
R.I.P. to Adam “MCA” Yauch.