Story about three bad brothers you know so well: The tribute to MCA tributes

Last Friday the world was saddened at the news of the passing of Adam Yauch aka MCA. To borrow a line from their debut album “Licensed to Ill,” (be sure to watch their epic appearance on the Joan Rivers talk show in 1987 where she fumbles the name of this album) he was a member of “…three bad brothers, you know so well. It started way back in history, with Adrock, MCA, and me, Mike D.” Just 47 years old, Adam died of cancer, but not before leaving a huge footprint in the world of music, pop culture, Brooklyn and social justice, especially with the Tibetan independence movement. The tributes came pouring out soon after his death with everyone from Snoop Dogg to Mayor Bloomberg paying their respects on Twitter (that’s a couple you don’t usually see in the same room together).

The impact of the Beastie Boys for me was best captured by @superlau77 who tweeted, “The Beastie Boys were the first band that was ‘ours’. Either you get that or you don’t. RIP MCA.” In fact the first website any of my friends created when we were younger was a Beastie Boys fan page built on Geocities back in the 1990s. The trio always seemed almost ageless and timeless to me and in this regard, MCA’s death hits even closer to home because it’s reminder of our mortality. The reaction on the Web I think reflects this overall sentiment. Here are some of the finds over the past few days that recall this hip hop group’s greatness and tributes to MCA.

At the Mets game last Friday against Arizona, the stadium played Beastie Boys songs to accompany each Mets players first at-bats in tribute to MCA. This was a nice touch first suggested by Mets players Justin Turner and Scott Hairston.

Long before Kanye West famously grabbed the microphone from Taylor Swift, MCA was a pioneer and trailblazer for stage crashers everywhere when his alter-ego “Nathaniel Hornblower” rushed the stage in costume at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards.

At their show the following day, Coldplay did an acoustic cover of the Beastie Boys which turned their raucous party anthem into something sentimental in a manner that only Chris Martin can. It’s saccharine, but also somehow works. Other groups such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Flaming Lips paid their own live tributes as well. Relatedly, Gothamist put together this collection of Beastie Boys covers by other artists in the past, including Jay-Z memorably stepping in when the three emcees had to cancel their appearance after Yauch’s cancer at the 2009 All Points West music festival.

It’s sad that we’ll never get to see this again. RIP MCA. Thanks for fighting for our right to party and telling us what the time is all these years.

[Photo via Terry Richardson]