Beastie Boys 1987 Grammys

In this iconic picture, MCA (right) is seem crashing the 1987 Grammys Awards

Beastie Boys member Adam “MCA” Yauch, 47, tragically lost his his two and a half year long battle with throat cancer today.

The Beastie Boys originally began their career as a hardcore punk group with their debut 1982 EP, Polly Wog Stew.  While the record’s sound brought them moderate success, the band began dabbling with hip-hop influences for their followup EP, Cooky Puss, the next year. Their various cross-genre experimental techniques came to a culmination, however, with their 1986 debut studio LP Licensed to Ill. The album would ultimately become one of the most iconic records in fusion hip-hop and rap metal, inspiring the works of future acts such as Rage Against the Machine, Linkin Park, and Limp Bizkit.

Of the 8 official Beastie Boys albums, Licensed to Ill was the first of four to top the US Billboard 200,  marking it the first hip-hop album to do so. The Beastie Boys 2011 release Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, which was released while Yauch was in an upswing from cancer treatments, also peaked at #2 on the chart. Three Grammys have been awarded to the group, including two in 1998 for best rap performance and best alternative music performance, as well as the 2007 award for best pop instrumental album: The Mix Up.

It is always a tragedy to lose such a prominent member of the music community, especially when they are still releasing new music. The tragedy is even greater when the artist’s new work is still being so widely enjoyed and appreciated as MCA’s was. He will truly be missed, and the 20 Watts staff offers their condolences to his friends, family, and collaborators.

Stream Licensed to Ill Via Spotify:

~ Tom Charles