New Castle News

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May 5, 2012

Josh Drespling: We all be illin' — R.I.P., MCA

NEW CASTLE — It is 11:54 a.m. on May 4, 2012, and I am sitting slacked jawed and in awe of the immense loss that has befallen the music industry, fans and the planet as a whole. I am in disbelief at the text message I just received from a friend and music industry insider stating that Adam “MCA” Yauch of Beastie Boys fame has died.

My heart has sunk and tears have welled up in my eyes because I feel as if I know this man personally.

Though we may have never met, MCA and the Beastie Boys were part of nearly every happy time I ever experienced. From wedding receptions and house parties to long road trips with a catalog of Beastie CDs, Ad Rock, MCA and Mike D were always at my side. They lifted my spirits when things were going bad and made the fun times even more special with their lyrics and “def” beats. My musical endeavors have, of course, oozed of their influence. From my humble home recordings to full blown bands it was in there lingering in the background. My last band, Twisted Thoughts, was even labeled as the “evil Beastie Boys” by fans and several publications and websites. A description that we wore with pride and humility, because to us even being mentioned in the same sentence as such icons was a crowning achievement.

Though many so-called legend have gone before, none have had such a far reaching influence on me and my generation as the Beastie Boys. None of these previously departed legends have continued to produce relevant music for over three decades. They had their moments of glory and faded into the chapters of history, but the B-Boys who started in 1981 as a sloppy punk band have evolved with time and have steadily influenced music for over 30 years. The Beasties transcended genre after genre and tore down racial walls that had existed in our society for decades. They revolutionized Hip-Hop, created rap-metal and developed the three MC sound. Their 1989 album, “Paul’s Boutique,” elevated sampling and found sounds to a high art form and forced other musicians to take notice of an extraordinary phenomenon that was about to take over the industry.

The Beastie Boys jubilantly embraced the video age with MCA at the helm and produced some of the most memorable music videos of the MTV and YouTube eras, a task that no other musical artist has ever achieved, nor ever will again. Their 1986 video for the song “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” has over 10 million plays on YouTube.

I'm sure there will be a well-deserved outpouring of admiration for MCA and the band. MCA would say, “Let the music and work speak for itself,” so I've spent the day listening to several of their albums and spent way too much time on YouTube watching every video they ever made and choking back the tears.

Adam was and is an icon who’s torch I pray never fades. The effects of his work will be felt for many, many years to come in-spite of the sobering fact that he will never be on wax again with his raspy rhymes or his uncanny sense of humor. His legacy will live on through the remaining Beastie Boys and his production company Oscilloscope Laboratories, which produced several noteworthy films including Oren Moverman’s military drama “The Messenger,” which received Oscar nominations for best original screenplay and best supporting actor, Woody Harrelson. Oscilloscope also produced the Banksy, and graffiti art propaganda film “Exit Through the Gift Shop.”

Oscilloscope, much like the B-Boys nurtured underground filmmakers, artists and creative minds and developed and atmosphere of creative experimentation.

MCA you were the inspiration of millions. Your talent was only matched by your compassion and humor. You were an amazing leader, a committed and uniquely concerned activist who truly did make a difference though your music.

Bon voyage, my friend.


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