I swear, it seems like we lose a legend every other month. From RollingStone.com:
Adam Yauch, one-third of the pioneering hip-hop group the Beastie Boys, has died at the age of 47, Rolling Stone has learned. Yauch, also known as MCA, had been in treatment for cancer since 2009. The rapper was diagnosed in 2009 after discovering a tumor in his salivary gland.
As of this posting, MCA's cause of death is not clear.
Sadly, the legacy of the Beastie Boys has been diluted in the past few decades. Young fans name Jay-Z and Kanye West as hip hop's trendsetters while older fans may point to Nas, 2pac and The Notorious B.I.G. as the men who shaped the game as we know it. True hip hop heads may name KRS-One and Run DMC as rap forefathers, but often lost in that legendary mix are the contributions of the Beastie Boys.
Originally a hard core punk group, Mike D, Ad-Roc and MCA changed lanes and began to experiment with hip hop in the mid '80s. The result was Licensed to Ill, which is still one of the best rap albums ever made. In my early fandom, I always saw the Beastie Boys as the personification of hip hop - crazy, unrestricted and fun.
What always impressed me about the Beastie Boys was their constant evolution. Sure, they might not have been front and center as hip hop's popularity exploded, but they were still around, consistently dropping new material that was fresh but true to their sound. Four of my favorite tracks — "Sabotage" (1995), "Intergalactic" (1999) "Ch-Check It Out" (2005) and "Too Many Rappers" (2010) — literally spanned my life as a high schooler, college student, working adult and married man. No other artist can boast that longevity.
As long as I've been a fan of hip hop, nearly my whole life, the Beastie Boys have been around, evolving, innovating and changing the game. Most importantly, they made rap fun. Without that spirit, hip hop would have never reached the heights it has achieved.
If you didn't already know, let me restate the obvious: MCA is a true hip hop pioneer. The Beastie Boys paved the way for the creativity and excitement we enjoy in our earbuds every day.
We shouldn't mourn his loss, though, he wouldn't want that. Instead, keep the party alive.