Adam Yauch — aka MCA — of Beastie Boys passed away today after a battle with cancer. He was 47.
As a founding member of Beastie Boys, Adam was part of a group that blended musical genres and re-defined notions of hip-hop. The band’s debut album License to Ill, released in 1986, marked the first time a hip-hop LP topped the Billboard 200, widening the audience of hip-hop music and bringing it into the mainstream.
Above all, The Beasties were known most of all for their mix of witty, clever, and mischievous rhymes. To celebrate the influence of MCA and the Beasties, here is a selection of MCA’s classic rhymes from throughout his career:
“I want to say a little something that’s long overdue / the disrespect to women has got to be through / To all the mothers and the sisters and the wives and friends / I wanna offer my love and respect till the end”
From the single ‘Sure Shot’ off of their album Ill Communication, MCA’s rhymes about disrespecting women were bold given that misogynistic lyrics were typical of hip-hop at the time. It’s yet another example of MCA and the band challenging hip-hop’s conventions.
“If you try to knock me you’ll get mocked / I’ll stir fry you in my wok / Your knees will start shaking and your fingers pop / Like a pinch on the neck from Mr. Spock”
MCA showed off some serious MC swagger on the band’s classic hit “Intergalactic.” And let’s face it, a line that mentions the vulcan death grip is a classic, no questions asked.
“Born and bred, Brooklyn U.S.A. / 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”
MCA shouts out his hometown of Brooklyn and let’s the world know his name on one of the band’s first and biggest hits.
“Well I’m as cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce / You’ve got the rhyme and reason but no cause / Well if you’re hot to trot you think you’re slicker than grease / I’ve got news for your crew, you’ll be sucking like a leach”
Serving as a reality check for wannabe MCs, MCA tells us why he’s got more swagger than most MCs could ever dream of.
“Now my name is MCA, I’ve got a license to kill / I think you know what time it is, it’s time to get ill / Now what do we have here an outlaw and his beer / I run this land, you understand I make myself clear”
Adam Yauch kicks humbleness to the curb in a verse from this classic track off the band’s debut album, giving people everywhere a clear introduction to MCA — and one that still fits to this day.
Share your favorite MCA memories and lyrics with us in the comments.