Beastie Boys aren't supposed to die, and they certainly aren't supposed to succumb to cancer when they're only 47. But that's what happened today: MCA has passed away.
The Beastie Boys seemed eternally youthful -- from their punky beginnings to their prank-rap stardom, to their string of genuine and soulful records throughout the '90s and 2000s, albums that found them exploring spirituality and social consciousness. Hello Nasty was funky and deep, To the 5 Boroughs was a post-9/11 ode to New York City, and last year's Hot Sauce Committee Part Two was a stretch back to the band's playful roots while maintaining the spiritual openness that has come to define them almost as much as the goofy, rebellious shtick of the great Licensed to Ill.
Yauch's distinct voice -- in a group full of them -- was always strong, as was his musical direction (that's his bass on "Sabotage") and cinematic flair. He founded Oscilloscope Laboratories and directed many of the band's best clips, including the incredible Fight for Your Right (Revisited) last year.
The Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. The induction ceremony airs on HBO tomorrow night. Yauch was unable to attend, and his absence on stage while the other Boys are honored will feel eerily sad.
As admirers have taken to Twitter, it's the words of soul-poppers Chromeo that feel most appropriate to share.
@Chromeo: They taught us how to dress, they taught us that it was ok for skater kids to listen to rap, they taught us about graf, record digging...
MCA directed all those videos that taught us everything. Nathaniel Hornblower forever.
The Beastie Boys basically invented the concept of the cool white person. #RIPMCA
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Listen to native Phoenician Z-Trip's excellent All Access Beastie Boys mega mix.