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Sunday, May 6, 2012

In Which We Lose Another Influential 80s Musician Too Soon

Sad news broke this week that Adam Yauch, founding member of the 80s premiere rap/hip hop band, The Beastie Boys, passed away at the age of 47 from complications of cancer.

Cancer sucks, y'all.

In 1986, three Jewish kids from Brooklyn (Mike D, Ad-Roc and MCA), achieved the unimaginable. They singlehandedly put rap in the mainstream. Their critically acclaimed Licensed to Ill became the first rap album to be #1 on Billboard album charts, opening the door for those who came after.

Admittedly I was not a huge fan of the band or genre, but who can deny the wit, artistry and shear fun of such tunes as She's Crafty, Brass Monkey, No Sleep til Brooklyn, Girls and the quintessential party anthem, (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party).

I have a soft spot for that last song. I will always remember our friends, Carla and Kirby's three year-old son, Atticus, sitting in the back of the car, quietly singing in his sweet, slightly southern voice "you gotta fight, for your right, to Paaaaaaaaaw-tay!" Atticus is 16 now, but hearing that unmistakable chorus takes me right back to the vision of his little toddler self.

Aside from his musical achievements, Yauch was a charitable man. A practicing Buddhist, he started the Milarepa Fund devoted to promoting Tibetan independence. He organized numerous concerts to raise monies. A genuine good guy in the prime of his life, which makes his death all the more sad.

On the day his death was announced, Coldplay paid tribute with this moving version of the Beastie Boys hit. As my twitter friend, Jeff tweeted, you aren't aloud to hate Coldplay anymore.

Cancer sucks.