Christmas 2001. My brother hands me a wrapped gift that looks like a jewel case and says “You probably downloaded all of this anyway…” I open it up, and in it is Paul’s Boutique by the Beastie Boys. Obviously, I didn’t know this going in, as the cover is a nondescript building with no track listing on the back of the case. I really had no idea what to think, having never heard the Beastie Boys at that age. Cut to six months later, and I know nearly every word to “The Sounds of Science”, which is still one of my favorite Beasties songs to this day. Naturally, the Beastie Boys were one of those bands that made me who I am today. I look up to them, even now.
This morning, Adam Yauch, better known as MCA, died after a three-year battle with cancer. Beyond his lauded music career, Yauch was the founder of the Milarepa Fund. The organization, started in 1994, aims to bring awareness and activism surrounding native Tibetans by the Chinese government and military.
In 2008, Yauch started Oscilloscope Laboratories, a film production and distribution house that has gone on to put out some of my favorite movies in recent times. Films like Exit Through the Gift Shop, A Film Unfinished, and Rare Exports may not have been seen by most folks if it weren’t for Oscilloscope. Also through Oscilloscope, Yauch directed some of the most famous music videos of all time, such as “Intergalactic”, “Body Movin'”, “Ch-Check It Out”, the short film Fight For Your Right Revisited, and “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win”.
Yauch. MCA. Praying Mantis. Nathanial Hörnblowér. Thank you for your music. Thank you for making me care about the bass. Thank you for making middle school, and the rest of my life, more bearable.