Longtime Beastie Boys member and group co-founder Adam Yauch – aka MCA – died today at age 47. Russell Simmons’ GlobalGrind.com first broke the news and it’s still not clear if Yauch’s passing is related to his ongoing battle with cancer, which he diagnosed with in 2009. Yauch leaves behind his wife and daughter.
It’s hard to completely summarize Yauch and the Beastie Boys’ career achievements in anything less than a book. But here are the nuts and bolts: The Brooklyn trio was part of an early Def Jam roster that moved Hip-Hop culture and rap music from New York’s underground to the mainstream media. Rap on TV, radio and stereos across the world? Give partial thanks to three, offbeat guys who helped shape the culture. The group won countless Grammy awards, crafted two albums that belong in Hip-Hop’s canon of greatest works (1986’s Licensed to Ill and 1989’s Paul’s Boutique) and showed that white boys could rhyme too.
They also sold millions of albums and were some of the early purveyors of blending rock ‘n’ roll music with Hip-Hop beats. MCA – along with his fellow Beastie brothers – was nothing short of a luminary on the American music scene. His passing today might not mark the definitive end of The Beastie Boys, but it concludes a part of an era.