Adam Yauch, 1964 - 2012

by: Avila

Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 00:15:46 AM EST

I remember MCA. I never had a chance to actually meet him, but I miss him, every day.

I'll always remember the uncommon goodness of Adam Yauch, de-facto leader of The Beastie Boys, and a man whose rap lyrics and music were something new and different at the time.  

Traditional media likes to stereotype rap as a "black thang," but from what I've seen, they have yet to comprehend one slender thread of their own institutional racism, as evidenced by their dismissal of a music genre, and as ever, falsely attributing the "shock" of it to people of color.

The Beastie Boys were hopelessly irresistible to the teenage geek girl I was, growing up in New Orleans, restricted to my room (99% of the time).

When MC Adam died of nasopharyngeal cancer at the age of 46, he had imprinted every teenager of the 90s, and even some of our parents, to see beauty and meaning in the day-to-day we don't even notice.

Brave, brilliant, equipped with a mordant wit, a man who feared nothing, even his impending death, this was MCA.

Avila :: Adam Yauch, 1964 - 2012
Adam Yauch was one remarkable human being, and devoted his last years to human rights activism.  His primary cause was Tibetan freedom.  He was an organizer for New Yorkers Against Violence, a benefits concert for 911 victims who were otherwise denied.

In 1998, when I learned MCA had gone Full Force Tibetan Buddhist, I had to work to suppress my cynical smirk.

People in New York have a tendency to make fun of everything, and that's just a way of keeping their distance from things. I think it was when I was first out in L.A. that I started researching different religions. And I was very shy about it at first.

Now I feel perfectly fine with it here in New York because I don't really care if somebody makes fun of me. I'm not afraid of what people might think.

This, of course, was Adam Yauch's greatest gift to us.  He really didn't care about public opinion. (Who has that degree of self-possession as a young man?) He didn't pretend or try to fit into anyone else's cookie cutter mold.  In the 90s, MCA spoke for geeks, propeller heads, nerds, and he also spoke to us.  He told the quiet, and painfully shy, and unpopular among us that we were okay, and other people's opinions don't define us.

There's an instrumental on Ill Communication called Futterman's Rule. The only lyrics listed in the booklet say: "When two are served, you may begin to eat." It turned out to be a reference to a community ritual that was dear to Yauch.

In a later issue of Grand Royal, there was a short piece explaining that Gene Futterman was a professional chef and a friend of Adam Yauch's family. He was known for his large dinner parties and when he brought food in from the kitchen he would tell his guests: "When two are served, you eat!"

Writing about Futterman's Rule in Grand Royal, Nathan Brackett noted:

The elegance of Futterman's Rule does lend it a hint of spirituality. One eats one's food while it is hot, observing dinner as a natural continuum (instead of the top-down, "no-one-eats-until-the-chef-is-ready" hierarchical model that dominates most households).

At the same time, no one eats alone (it is only once two people are served, and a social base is established for those with food, that one may begin to eat). If form follows function, the Rule is built to travel. So give it a try. And if you like it, tell a friend.

M.C. for what I am and do
the A is for Adam and the lyrics, true
pray and hope and the message is sent
Living the dreams that I have dreamt

I wish for peace between the races
Someday we shall all be one
That's right y'all
Don't get uptight y'all
I'm out and I'm gone

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no sleep till . . . (2.00 / 6)
he was all about equality and reverence of every human being.  my hero, MCA. ;)

Twitter Doesn't Make You Martin Luther King

Wow, Avila (2.00 / 4)
it appears we have similar tastes in literature and music. The Beastie Boys totally rule! I rocked out to them in my car on the way to the eye doctor, yesterday.

for real? (2.00 / 3)
that's amazing. Beastie Boys never get old for me.  i listen to 'em at least once a week.

so glad to meet you here.  we know what's good. ;)

Twitter Doesn't Make You Martin Luther King

I can tell an Artist (2.00 / 1)
If their music sticks in my head.

Now thanks to this, I'm gonna be all like "another dimension" all day today.

I didn't have an inkling of the impact Adam was having until he died.  My son in law was shook sort of like how I was when Michael Jackson died.  I had no idea how important a bridge he was to give White kids the ability to express their contribution to rap culture.  I guess it was like having a super hero that looks like you so when you play X-men you're comfortable. Nice diary RIP MCA

Gotta do it.


"I honor the place in you where Spirit lives
I honor the place in you which is
of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace,
when you are in that place in you,
and I am in that place in me,
then we are One."  Namaste Friends!

i -love- it (2.00 / 1)
I had no idea how important a bridge he was to give White kids the ability to express their contribution to rap culture.

MCA was a superhero in his prime.  he was a superhero until he died, in my book.  

unlike Jay-Z, as one example, who has sworn a dozen times to drop the word "bitch" from his act since his daughter was born last year, MCA stopped it and apologized in writing to women.

On "Sure Shot" (from 1994's Ill Communication), MCA said:

I want to say a little something that's long overdue;
The disrespect to women has got to be through;
To all the mothers and the sisters and the wives and friends;
I want to offer my love and respect to the end."

MCA made many efforts to apologize for the lyrics he, Ad-Rock and Mike D made because they thought they were funny.

ha, the first time I saw Jay-Z in concert, my husband's favorite thing in the world, he was playing with Bone Thugs N-Harmony, so i'm probably older than your son-in-law.)

thanks for these videos.  best of times. ;)

Twitter Doesn't Make You Martin Luther King

[ Parent ]
My daughter likes (2.00 / 1)
No sleep till Brooklyn.  She is much more a rocker girl  than a hip hop girl so this was my attempt t get her into beasties.  She digs it and the early stuff when they were a loud noise band.  Cheesy as it may be, you could see the impact on my generation ( I am late thirties) on my Facebook stream.  We grew up with him.  I remember my older brother bringing home the license to ill cassette when I was maybe sixth grade.  It was so different than what I liked then.  I was hooked.  

i know you know (0.00 / 0)
i was a grade schooler when i first became a fan, too.  it was kind of embarrassing for my mom, who tried to make me speak English, because i spoke "Spanglish and Beastie Boys."  

later, in what i think was your daughter's approximate wonder years time, music was pretty limited unless you liked N'SYNC or New Kids On The Block or the other boy bands.  serious deprivation in the early aughts.  Beasties made a tremendous impact on many of us. ;)

Twitter Doesn't Make You Martin Luther King

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