Adam Yauch, known as MCA as a co-founder of the groundbreaking rap group Beastie Boys, died earlier today after battling cancer. Born August 5, 1964 in Brooklyn, New York, he was 47. Yauch had been diagnosed in 2009 with a tumor in his salivary gland, and was notably absent last month when the group became the third rap group to be admitted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The group began as a hardcore punk band while Yauch, Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond were in high school in 1979. When they evolved the sound into rap, they were often hailed for playing live instruments in a genre dominated by samples and pre-recorded beats. That said, their second album, Paul’s Boutique, set the bar for the art of sampling and many music fans and critics still regard it as one of the form’s finest examples. You can hear the brief instrumental track “59 Christie Street” from that album here.
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