This is not sudden news—Adam Yauch, founder, emcee, bassist, and more of the astonishingly influential Beastie Boys, has died of cancer at age 47. He had been battling the disease for a while, but the news of his passing still comes as a shock to me. It's still stunning to look at the trajectory of the Beasties—starting off as hardcore punks, then breaking through as smartass party hiphoppers, then more or less becoming one of the greatest American bands ever, with records like Paul's Boutique, Check Your Head, and Ill Communication. Their musical and artistic development become a fundamental part of my life, and I'm sure the same can be said by anyone who grew up listening to them.
Yauch, you were amazing. Thanks for everything. There is a LOT of incredible Beasties music to choose from, but these two songs immediately jumped to mind. RIP, MCA.