The music industry lost one of its most influential members on Friday (May 4). Adam Yauch of The Beastie Boys was a contributing factor to a revolution in rap music and he will be greatly missed.
The 47-year-old rapper, a.k.a. MCA, may have lost his three year battle with cancer, but he left his mark on the world as he transformed out of his notorious party animal reputation into an independent film creator and philanthropist.
“In the history of hip-hop, the Beastie Boys were both improbable and perhaps inevitable: appreciators, popularizers and extrapolators of a culture they weren’t born into,” writes Jon Pareles in the New York Times. “They were Jewish bohemians, not ghetto survivors; they were jokers, not battlers.”
Although the Beastie Boys put up a rough image, they stood for a greater cause and a greater life purpose; especially Yauch. He started by firing back against his own lyrics and societal views on women through a mid-career verse in “Sure Shot” when he said, “I want to say a little something that’s long overdue/ The disrespect to women has got to be through/ To all the mothers and sisters and the wives and friends/ I want to offer my love and respect to the end.”
Also, in the 2003 song, “In a World Gone Mad,” which is a direct protest against the war in Iraq, MCA rhymed, “In a world gone mad it’s hard to think right / So much violence hate and spite /Murder going on all day and night / Due time we fight the non-violent fight.”
Adam became a spiritual man and began practicing Buddhism. He also created the nonprofit Milarepa Fund, which presented the Tibetan Freedom Concert series and after September 11th, New Yorkers Against Violence, a benefit headlined by The Beastie Boys.
One of his greatest projects is Oscilloscope Laboratories, which is an independent Indie Film company that created many great films throughout the past five years. Those include “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” with Tilda Swinton, “The Messenger” with Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster, “Exit through the Gift Shop,” about the artist Banksy, and “Howl” with James Franco.
“I don’t know what he was like as a young Beastie Boy, but as a filmmaker he was a gracious, charming, intelligent, soft spoken man. He will be sorely missed,” said Roger Friedman from Forbes.