Hip Hop CHRONICles: Adam Yauch Was A Genius
Our Hip Hop CHRONICles series focuses on personal experiences as life long hip hop heads. These are brief articles that talk about things like the time I attended the 1993 Soul Assassins concert. In today’s piece we spend a few words talking about Adam Yauch (MCA) and his creative genius.
The only time I saw the Beastie Boys live was the 1994 Lollapalooza at a closed Air Force base in Quonset, Rhode Island. The crowd was estimated at upwards of 100,000 people. The lineup also included George Clinton, A Tribe Called Quest, The Smashing Pumpkins, to name a few. Unfortunately, the original headliner was Nirvana. This would have made things extra epic had tragedy not struck the band in April.
The Beasties reigned supreme that night. Right before sundown the three excess stormed the stage. The sea of people was set into a frenzy. Crowd surfing. Bottle throwing. Half mile wide mosh pits. It was bananas. Then it was over. Or was it?
Curtain call lasted at least 10 minutes, and then out of nowhere, Adam Yauch’s genius bass riff triggered the beginning of the group’s hit Sabotage. Utter chaos. The Smashing Pumpkins were relegated to performing on a pile of smoldering rubble as the headliner that night.
I never met MCA. I don’t know him personally. However, I always had immense respect for his ability to push the limits. Nathaniel Hornblower’s rant filled interruption of REM accepting an MTV Video Music Award still makes me laugh to this day. I often wonder if he was the driving force of the band’s transformation in the Check Your Head era?
I collected everything Beasties in the 1990’s. Books, Grand Royal magazines, X-Large t-shirts, bootlegs, records, you name it. In a time before E-Bay, this was a challenge. I even had homemade Beastie Boys’ shirts – it was like that.
I’ve yet to watch the Beastie Boys Story on Apple TV. I ferociously read the Beasties Boy Book in a day. That book is amazing, but admittedly it is missing something. As culturally defining as Mike D and Ad-Rock are they can’t create the Yauch magic.
MCA and his ability to think beyond the status quo and understand the bigger picture is what I will always admire. One example, is his passion about freeing Tibet. This passion introduced so many to the political and cultural struggles they might not have otherwise known. So now on May 4, I wish I could be my Start Wars nerd-self and greet everyone with a glee filled, “May the 4th be with you”. Since 2012 though, I usually spend some time remembering the genius of Adam Yauch instead.
Peace out y’all. Be good to each other. #RIPMCA