The Washington Post

Beastie Boys sued over Trouble Funk samples, legendary go-go band was unaware of lawsuit or Adam “MCA” Yauch’s death

Last Thursday, the day before founding member Adam “MCA” Yauch lost his battle with cancer, rap pioneers the Beastie Boys were hit with a lawsuit from Tuff City, a publishing company representing Washington go-go legends Trouble Funk. According to, the company — referred to in cited documents as “Tuf America” — claims that the Trouble Funk classics “Drop the Bomb” and “Say What” were illegally sampled by the Beastie Boys for the songs “ Hold It Now Hit It,” “The New Style,” “Car Thief,” and “Shadrach.”

With Yauch’s death on Friday, the timing couldn’t have been worse. Trouble Funk leader “Big Tony” Fisher tells the Post that he wasn’t aware that the Beastie Boys had even sampled their songs, but knew Tuff City was working on Trouble Funk’s behalf. “We’ve been signed with Tuff City publishing company over 10 years and they’re pretty much going after people that have been using and abusing our stuff without our permission,” Fisher said.

Even worse, Fisher was unaware of Yauch’s death.

“Wow, I’m sorry to hear that,” Fisher said. “We toured with the Beastie Boys and I like ’em. They’re good cats. And they really admired the band. I’m so sorry to hear that.”

A representative for the Beastie Boys was away for “family bereavement” and was unavailable for comment.

Chris Richards has been the Post's pop music critic since 2009. He's recently written about the bliss of summer songs, the woe of festival fatigue and a guide on how to KonMari your record collection.


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