Former colleagues recall the impact the hip hop great had on the genre.
The hip hop world continues to react to the untimely passing one of its true pioneers, Adam Yauch, also known as MCA of the Beastie Boys, last Friday.
MCA's former Def Jam label mate LL Cool J, who frequently toured with MCA and his bandmates Ad-Rock and Mike D when he first emerged in the mid-'80s, was particularly emotional.
"My condolences to Adam's family, the Beastie Boys, their team and their millions of fans," LL, seemingly holding back tears, told HipHollywood at an L.A. charity event. "It's deeply painful to lose someone we grew up with. It seems like just yesterday they helped me break into the business. It hurts, man. We must preserve his legacy by continuing to represent the culture he loved so much. May God bless your soul, MCA."
Warner Music Group CEO and chairman Lyor Cohen, a key early exec at Def Jam who also helped manage the Beastie Boys and many of their first tours, also spoke about MCA's life and death. “I think Yauch’s legacy was a person that made a significant impact to pop culture,” said Cohen. "Yauch was a curious guy, he was courageous. Not concerned with what everybody thought. Just pure. Willing to make mistakes."
Fellow rap pioneer Rakim was equally as effusive in his praise for Yauch. "There have been a lot of people who have molded the face and history of hip hop over the years, but no one can deny that my three dudes from New York City were paramount in taking it from a local thing and breaking it world wide," he told GlobalGrind. "R.I.P. to MCA...see you in the next one, brother."
But MCA's sad passing has been felt far outside of hip hop circles as well. Superstar rockers Coldplay paid tribute to MCA by performing a cover of "Fight for Your Right (To Party)" at a show on Friday Night in Hollywood. And in the sports world, the entire New York Mets lineup played Beastie Boys songs for their at-bat music on Friday.
Meanwhile, the following message, reportedly written by fellow Beastie Boy Ad-Rock, appeared on the band's official website:
as you can imagine, s--t is just f---d up right now. but i wanna say thank you to all our friends and family (which are kinda one in the same) for all the love and support. i’m glad to know that all the love that Yauch has put out into the world is coming right back at him. thank you.
Mike D later posted the following more in-depth note to the band's Facebook page, along with a picture of MCA being eulogized on the scoreboard at Madison Square Garden:
I know, we should have tweeted and instagrammed every sad, happy and inspired thought, smile or tear by now. But honestly the last few days have just been a blur of deep emotions for our closest friend, band mate and, really, brother. I miss Adam so much. He really served as a great example for myself and so many of what determination, faith, focus, and humility coupled with a sense of humor can accomplish. The world is in need of many more like him. We love you, Adam. BTW this photo sent to me by a friend, (thanks Saslow) is just one awesome example of how NYC is such a unique place that amidst its huge size and frenetic pace it really opens up its heart in so many ways and on so many levels in times like these. And though it makes me cry sometimes, it has been really amazing and moving to see. Mike
Yauch died last Friday at the age of 47 after a three-year battle with cancer.
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(Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)