I hate you, cancer.
Member and co-founder of the Beastie Boys, Adam Yauch, passed away today after battling that stupid throat cancer.
My first memory of the Beastie Boys was of my friend Brandon Earl playing “Girls” for Dave Price and me when we were staying at his house my 7th grade year. I wasn’t impressed. Then he played some Jerky Boys (they were kinda funny). From then until my sophomore year, in my mind, I thought the Beastie Boys were prank callers and every time someone wanted to listen to them I thought, “I don’t want to listen to stupid prank callers.” FOR THREE YEARS I missed out on Beastie Boys due to some crossed wires in my adolescent brain. (SIDE NOTE: We teepeed Brandon’s neighbors house that night and I saw an older sister of his kiss a boy in the drive way. THE TRUTH IS OUT!!!)
“Born and bred in Brooklyn in the USA/They call me Adam Yauch but I’m MCA/Like a lemon to a lime a lime to a lemon/I sip the def ale with all the fly women”.
My friend Cody White reintroduced me to the Beasties’ License to Ill when I was 14-15. I loved it. We rode in the back of his parents suburban while his mom drove from Spokane, WA to Moses Lake, blasting that obnoxious “Rhymin and Stealin“. I, on the other hand, couldn’t get enough of that drum sample from Led Zepplin’s “When The Levee Breaks“. Another friend, Todd, would make me mix CDs like crazy and would draw the Ultimate Truce symbol on the discs (The Ultimate Truce was a truce between Jordan, Todd, Brandon and I to not pee-pee tap each other). Each one of those CDs had “No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn” on them. MCA was from Brooklyn. We would cruise around in our mini-vans (Todd, a friend Dallas and I all drove mini-vans when we turned 16 and called ourselves the MVP….mini van posse. It was a joke, people) and this song would inevitably come on. I’m assuming they won’t sleep until they get to Brooklyn?
“Well I got to keep it going keep it going full steam/Too sweet to be sour too nice to be mean/On the tough guy style I’m not too keen/To try to change the world I will plot and scheme”
With an insatiable appetite for all things Beastie Boys, I started to branch out and check out their other albums. Check Your Head, Paul’s Boutique, Ill Communication and Hello Nasty were the other albums they had out at the time. I’d blast “Remote Control” in my dad’s truck while leaving Lakeview Elementary after having done “140” hours of community service in Mr. Homan’s PE class. Before we started doing sprints in the wrestling room for practice, teammate and friend Chris Wentworth would throw on “Intergalactic” to get us pumped up to lose too much weight.
“But like a dream I’m flowing without no stopping / Sweeter than a cherry pie with ready whip topping / Goin’ from mic to mic kickin’ it wall to wall /Well I’ll be calling out you people like a casting call”
In order to
impress the ladies be cool, I printed off the lyrics to “So Whatcha Want” and would practice rapping along while the song played on loop. Man I was cool! My brain was too slow to pick up the lyrics after 100 times of listening. I needed 500. On trips to the nearest mall (an hour away) in Kennewick, I’d bombard my friend Krystin Davies with remix after remix after remix of “Root Down“. Pretty sure she hated me for that.
“Now here’s a little something that you might not like/My DJ’s name is Mix Master Mike/It’s a real pity that you people gotta bite/But I can understand ’cause he sounds so nice”
Another time, I drove down to Pendleton, Oregon with my twin, Grandpa Livingston, to pick up a truck. I drove back alone and missed the turnoff at Hermiston to head home by about an hour. I was too busy thinking about where to go to college in the future and thinking about my current girlfriend Kaylee, the whole time groovin to “Alive“.
“‘Cause I’m a craftsman, who ain’t fastin’ /I’ll take you to task everyone of ya’ll draftsman/I’m rehearsin’ and ain’t maskin’/Bringin’ the beat back and keepin’ it lastin'”
Before I left on a mission for my church (Mormon), I bought To The 5 Boroughs. Finally, I could be a true Beastie Boys fan and buy a Beastie Boys CD as soon as it came out. None of my friends gave a crap about the Beastie Boys. They liked Fall Out Boy and Big Tymers. It was a weird time in my life, and the Beasties were there rappin away as I thought about what life in South America for 2 years would be like and what girls would write me (very few did and if they did they only did for a couple weeks). I was lonely and the Beastie Boys comforted me by providing sick beats and fresh rhymes.
“So like a pimp I’m pimpin’/I got a boat to eat shrimp in/Nothing wrong with my leg just B-boy limpin’
I got back home from my mission and jumped right back into listening to the Beastie Boys. My spirit animal directed me towards tracks from Paul’s Boutique. To me, Paul’s Boutique has that authentic old school hip-hop sound. That was more Beastie Boys than their first album License to Ill. I had read so many interviews and listened to their music so much that I knew that their License to Ill album wasn’t who they really were deep down. They had matured and grown and changed. So had I. And it was sad to me that people wouldn’t take the Beastie Boys seriously because they were idiots when younger, even though they were completely different now. They didn’t seem to care. They did what the loved and didn’t have to prove anything to anyone. I felt the same way.
“Pass me the scalpel, I’ll make an incision/I’ll cut off the part of your brain that does the b***ing/Put it in formaldehyde and put it on the shelf/And you can show it to your friends and say that’s my old self”
Last year I bought their latest album, Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2. It was so fresh sounding from everything else out there. All the Lil’ Waynes and the Drakes and the Nicki Minajs didn’t have nothing on this. True MCs with real old school beats, yet still fresh. FRESHHH people! What does fresh food taste like? That is what this music tasted like to my ears. A big, crunchy, juicy apple. I listened to the CD from Moses Lake, WA all the way to Mesa, AZ where I spent the next 8 months working at for a wilderness therapy program. Every week after getting home from 8 days (or more) in the wilderness with no music, phones or civilization in general, I’d climb into my car smelling like dirt, sweat, dried cheese and lentils, push the clutch in, turn the ignition and either “Make Some Noise“, “Nonstop Disco Powerpack” or “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win” would fire up, bringing me back to the real world. It’s hot in Mesa, AZ so I’d drop the windows and cruise to Wal-mart at 12:30 at night and buy me some popsicles, all while the Beasties rapped to my heart.
Now MCA is gone. And I’m pretty sure the Beasties are done. But thanks for all the memories. RIP MCA.