Adam Yauch (aka MCA), a founding member of the influential Brooklyn hip-hop group The Beastie Boys, died at the age of 47 Friday. Yauch had been battling cancer in his salivatory glands for the last three years, forcing the group to cancel its 2009 tour and delay the release of last year's album The Hot Sauce Committee, Part II — an album that unfortunately may now be remembered as The Beastie Boys' swan song as a trio rather than a 21st century update on the group's sound.
When the group moved away from straight forward hip-hop to more diverse musical ground, it was largely thanks to Yauch's artistic direction and his pull as the groups' elder statesman.
Yauch was perhaps best known in the group for his trademark gruff baritone and for his creative influence throughout the Beasties' long run. Through his film company, Oscilloscope Laborities, as well as his alias, Nathanial Hornblower, Yauch was instrumental in the design and production of some of The Beastie Boys's most iconic music videos, such as "So Watcha Want," "Intergalactic," and "Ch-Check It Out."
When the group moved away from straight forward hip-hop to more diverse musical ground such as the eastern rhythms heard on the best-selling albums Check Your Head and Ill Communication, it was largely thanks to Yauch's artistic direction and his pull as the groups' elder statesman.
In passing, Yauch has left behind his wife Dechen, his daughter Tenzin Losel, his parents and his Beastie Boys brothers Michael "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz. He will most certainly be missed.