Adam Yauch, aka MCA’s work with The Beastie Boys, will forever be cemented in hip-hop folklore. He played a pivotal part in helping the genre take over the mainstream, and he’s somebody we’ll never forget.
While hip-hop did exist before The Beastie Boys, it was somewhat of an underground secret. If you weren’t in the vicinity of Brooklyn, chances are you wouldn’t be aware of this new scene which was quickly taking New York by storm.
The Beasties shared their debut album Licensed To Ill in 1986, and for many people, this was their first introduction to hip-hop. It was released on Rick Rubin’s Def Jam, and it helped the record label become the iconic brand it is today.
Licensed to Ill’s accessibility meant the trio were adored by hip-hop heads and those who’d never heard it before. Over the next 25 years, the group carried on conquering.
Tragically, MCA died in 2012 after battling cancer, and the band decided they couldn’t go on without his presence. Below, we remember Yauch through his five best lyrics.
MCA’s five best lyrics
‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn’
The group’s debut album Licensed To Ill was a triumph, and ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn’ epitomises the brilliance of the record. MCA is on top form on the fire track and lets himself known their listeners with this electric verse.
“Born and bred in Brooklyn the U.S.A., They call me Adam Yauch but I’m MCA, Like a lemon to a lime a lime to a lemon, I sip the def ale with all the fly women”
‘Pass The Mic’
‘Pass The Mic’ was the perfect way for The Beastie Boys to launch their third album, Check Your Head. It started a new era for the band, and was a continuation of their evolution. Once again, MCA was firing on all cylinders on the mic.
“If you can feel what I’m feeling then it’s a musical masterpiece, If you can hear what I’m dealing with then that’s cool at least, What’s running through my mind comes through in my walk, True feelings are shown from the way that I talk.”
‘Intergalactic’ is The Beastie Boys at their most acerbic, and when they showed their fun side, it was a complete joy to behold. Interestingly, the track was also their most commercially successful single in the UK and charted at number five.
“If you try to knock me you’ll get mocked, I’ll stir fry you in my wok, Your knees will start shaking and your fingers pop, Like a pinch on the neck from Mr. Spock”
‘An Open Letter to NYC’
There’s nothing more New York than The Beastie Boys, and in ‘An Open Letter to NYC’, they pay tribute to their hometown which made MCA the person he became.
“Dear New York I hope you’re doing well, I know a lot’s happen and you’ve been through hell , So, we give thanks for providing a home, Through your gates at Ellis Island we passed in droves.”
MCA was just a kid when The Beastie Boys started gaining traction, and he still had a lot of growing up to do. While their early work was laced with misogyny, they reflected on their past mistakes, and hear we see how MCA transformed from boy to man.
“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 wanna offer my love and respect till the end”.