The Beastie Boys and I go way back. In fact the first music I ever bought was a cassette tape of the Beastie Boys License To Ill where their raunchy rhymes were perfect for a nine year old state of mind. Five years later the second concert I ever went to was the Beastie Boys at Bayfront Park. Cypress Hill and the Rollins Band opened which was kind of a perfect fusion for the Beastie Boys ethos. Hip-hop, hard core, goofy marijuana references, and sober political manifestos. In this mosh pit I learned that there were honest to goodness skinheads in South Florida who had no problem at all stomping their sweaty Doc Martens to a Jewish rapper’s lyrics.
But it wasn’t until 1994 when the Beastie Boys music almost became an obsession. Ill Communications came out and as we idled away the summer waiting for MTV to play the Sabotage video we’d discuss which member of the Beastie Boys was our favorite. The argument was usually between Ad Rock and Mike D. MCA was kind of the Geroge Harrison, the quiet, serious minded member of the rap/rock/ comedy troupe.
So it took me by quite a surprise how visceral my reaction was when I heard MCA died last week at 47. In 1994 47 seemed like too old for a rock star to die, now it seems too young. Especially for a vegan Buddhst whose music we might have been ignoring but had just a year ago produced an excellent film in Exit Through The Gift Shop.
In tribute I drove around last week with the album Paul’s Boutique playing on constant loop. As the tracks ascended I couldn’t believe how many of the lyrics were still freshly imprinted in my head. And how the beats still turned my finger into a gun which I very Caucasionally shook up and down as I rapped along to their awsomely silly songs. That’s why I loved the Beastie Boys so much. While in the early nineties Trent Reznor and Billy Corgan were singing about the heartbreak of angst, the Beastie Boys kept it real with their sense of humor.
Rapping about egging people, hooting and hollering over country music samples, throwing pies in their videos. They were/are the best and without MCA’s scratchy voice they will always be incomplete.