As previously reported by the Post’s Chris Richards, Adam Yauch, otherwise known as MCA of the Beastie Boys, died today of cancer at the age of 47. If you’re a hip-hop music fan, but especially a Gen X hip-hop music fan, this is terribly sad news.
MCA and his fellow Boys, Mike D. and Ad-Rock, were the guys who encouraged us to fight for our right to party. Then they grew up and, led by Yauch, actually fought for more important issues, like freedom for the people of Tibet. MCA the Beastie Boy may have been responsible for spitting sublimely ridiculous rhymes, especially during the “License to Ill” period. But Adam Yauch the man revealed himself to be an intelligent human being, a committed activist and an innovative artist. To see this very recent inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame suddenly wiped from the musical landscape is yet another reminder to the I Want My MTV generation that we are aging and, sadly, not all of our pop cultural leaders are making the journey with us.
After processing this news, Beastie Boys fans may have replayed the band’s often memorable music videos — many of which were directed by Yauch under the pseuodonym Nathaniel Hornblower — or revisited their seminal albums. But the minds of many also immediately went to the trio’s lyrics.
Related: Adam Yauch’s contributions to film
The members of the Beastie Boys have never exactly been Bob Dylan, but their words — again, for those of who grew up to a soundtrack that featured “Paul Revere” and “Sure Shot” — were widely quoted, in high school hallways, dorm rooms, e-mails and — today, in light of Yauch’s death — on Twitter.
I composed a poem that strings together lyrics from various Beastie Boys songs in the form of a tribute to Yauch. Believe it or not, when you weave together the strands of Beastie Boys tracks just so, it can turn into a somewhat moving piece of free verse and a fitting tribute to a life that ended too soon.
Read the poem below, then see some of the celebrity reactions online to Yauch’s death. I also encourage you to share your favorite MCA lyrics on Twitter, using the hashtag #favoriteMCAlyric.
A Tribute to Adam Yauch, Composed Entirely of Beastie Boys Lyrics
Born and bred Brooklyn — U.S.A.
They call me Adam Yauch but I'm M.C.A.
Like a lemon to a lime, a lime to a lemon
I sip the def ale with all the fly women (1)
I'm not James at 15 or Chachi in charge
I'm Adam and I'm adamant about living large (2)
I've got more rhymes than I've got gray hairs
And that's a lot because I've got my share (3)
Now what do we have here, an outlaw and his beer
I run this land, you understand, I make myself clear. (4)
M.C. for what I am and do
the A is for Adam and the lyrics; true
so as pray and hope and the message is sent
and I am living in the dreams that I have dreamt (5)
I wish for peace between the races
Someday we shall all be one (6)
That's right y'all
Don't get uptight y'all (7)
I'm out and I'm gone
I tell you now I keep it on and on. (8)
1: “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” (License to Ill)
2: “Hey Ladies”
3: “Sure Shot”
4: “Paul Revere”
7. “Professor Booty”