Jim Shearer interviewing the Beastie Boys in 2004 for MTV's "Live to the 5 Boroughs" special.
As a teenager in high school—one who obsessed over music and the Beastie Boys (not necessarily in that order)—I began to seriously think about what I’d do for a career when I got older. As stupid and/or as awesome as it sounds now, I chose my future profession based solely on getting to meet the Beastie Boys.
I figured being an on-air VJ was my best shot.
In late 2001, my high school aspirations didn’t seem so lofty when I began hosting music video segments for MTV2. In 2003, the dream was in reach as I was scheduled to interview the Beastie Boys at the Field Day Music Festival.
Long story short, certain residents of Long Island protested, the promoters could not secure a permit, and the festival was moved up a day and a state away, inside of Giants Stadium in New Jersey. Sadly, my brother’s wedding was on the same day and I missed making my teenage dream a reality.
Fortunately, a year later the Beastie Boys were on the verge of releasing their new album, To The Five Boroughs, and had signed on to do an MTV2 $2 Bill concert in Las Vegas, which was going to be hosted by guess who?
Long gone are the days everyone waited for an official statement from celebrities’ publicists. With social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, celebrities can use 140 characters to instantly send a message for anyone to see. Today, the death of Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys is a tremendous loss to music. With the impact MCA made in music, it was inevitable celebrities would tweet their condolences as they, too, mourn with the rest of the world. Celebrities who honored Yauch via Twitter ran the gamut of everyone from Jonah Hill to Q-Tip to Cypress Hill. Judging by his peers, MCA was a well respected musician, father, husband and human being. We’re happy these stars decided to share.
Earlier today, we passed along the unfortunate news of the death of Adam “MCA” Yauch, one of the co-founders of the Beastie Boys. MCA’s mastery rhyme pattern, gravelly voice and bad boy edge is what made him a legendary MC; even though he is gone, there’s no denying that he has left an indelible imprint in hip-hop forever. The Beastie Boys’ catalog of classic tracks are too numerous to list out, and and the same goes for MCA’s best verses. It was hard to choose, but we’ve narrowed down Adam Yauch’s most unforgettable rhymes into this Top 10 List of the Best Verses of MCA’s Career.
1. “Sure Shot” (Ill Communication, 1994)
“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 Sisters And the Wives And Friends / I Want To Offer My Love And Respect To The End.”
2. “Intergalatic” (Hello Nasty, 1998)
“If you try to knock me you’ll get mocked/I’ll stir fry you in my wok/Your knees’ll start shaking and your fingers pop / Like a pinch on the neck from Mr. Spock.”
3. “Pass the Mic” (Ill Communication, 1994)
“If you can feel what I’m feeling then it’s a Musical masterpiece/ But if you can ear what I’m dealing with then that’s cool at least/ What’s running through my mind comes through in my walk true/ Feelings are shown from the way that I talk/ And this is me, y’all/I M.C., y’all/ My name Is M.C.A. and I still do what I please and/ Now I’d Like to introduce I’ll pass the mic to D. for a fist full of truth.”
Terrible news to pass along. We’re getting word that Adam “MCA” Yauch, one of the three members of the Beastie Boys, has passed away at the age of 47 years old. Yauch had been fighting cancer since a diagnosis in 2009, and it appears that the terrible disease got the best of him today.
The Beastie Boys began their career in the late 1970s as punk group playing hardcore thrash music in underground clubs in New York City, but when they teamed up with NYU student Rick Rubin circa 1984, they began experimenting with the fledgling sounds of hip-hop. Nobody quite understood the group’s potential at the time, but by the time 1986 rolled around, thanks to the Beastie Boys’ good looks, dangerous-yet-radio-ready rhymes and the trademark Def Jam sound that fused classic rock riffs with huge breakbeats, the threesome — Adam “MCA” Yauch, Michael “Mike D” Diamond, and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz— became breakout superstars with the release of Licensed To Ill.
From the outset, Adam “MCA” Yauch’s distinctive, gravelly voice was the element that prevented the Beasties from being viewed at the outset purely as a cartoon-y, novelty “white rapper” act. Both Ad-Rock and Mike D had slightly nasally voices, but MCA —the eldest Beastie— provided the group an air of machismo and danger. “Born and bred Brooklyn U.S.A. / They all me Adam Yauch but I’m M.C.A.,” he sang in “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” as a formal introduction to his character. “Like a lemon to a lime a lime to a lemon / I sip the def ale with all the fly women.”
If we were to put together a complete list of songs that sampled the work of James Brown, it would easily run over a thousand songs. Of course, the magic that he made on wax is why RollingStone.com labeled him “the most sampled man in the biz.” No one executed funk and soul the way James Brown and his band did.
The man, perhaps best known for classic hits like “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and “Say It Loud,” would have turned 79 years-old today. With that in mind, we’d like to wish a happy birthday to the Godfather of Soul! In honor of this special day, we’re giving you this list of 10 incredible songs that never would have been if it wasn’t for the work of JB.
1.”Otis”- Jay-Z and Kanye West
Ye and Jigga were watching the throne alright. James Brown’s musical throne, that is. Along with the Otis Redding (how noble of them to name the song after him) sample of “Try a Little Tenderness,” Brown’s “Don’t Tell a Lie About Me and I Won’t Tell the Truth on You” can be heard right when Kanye appears to be beautifully screaming. Yep, that’s James Brown screaming all over a smash record by two of hip-hop’s biggest stars.
Well, after more drama than we care to recall, this weekend’s Rock And Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony went off without a hitch (relatively speaking, of course). Sure, there were a few prominent no-shows —W. Axl Rose, Rod Stewart, Adam “MCA” Yauch, Izzy Stradlin— but those who were there very clearly had a blast.
This year, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Beastie Boys, Donovan, Laura Nyro, the Faces, and, of course, Guns N’ F*cking Roses were inducted into the Hall. This year’s private ceremony was held in Cleveland, and clips of the performances that happened on Saturday night that are popping up on YouTube are getting pulled down without haste, presumably to get everyone to tune-in when HBO airs the ceremony in a few weeks.
That said, our favorite moment of the evening is easily to call out: Guns N’ Roses drummer, former Celebrity Rehab patient and longtime friend of That Metal Show Steven Adler wore a TMS t-shirt to the ceremony! You can take a gander at it, in all its majesty, in our gallery below (and you can get one of your own in the TMS Shop on VH1.com).
We’ve also got a joint interview featuring Steven and Matt Sorum for you below!
Who doesn’t love flashbacks, particularly to hip hop’s golden era of the late 80s and early 90s? Television and music in that era were so badass, and the fashion? Well, that had it’s ups and down. However, there’s no arguing that this era was when hip hop expanded from a genre to a global culture, and throughout it all, Yo! MTV Raps was at the forefront of the movement documenting classic moments of hip hop culture.
On Wednesday night, VH1 will be airing a 2-hour special, The 40 Greatest Yo! MTV Raps Moments, beginning at 7 p.m. ET/PT. To whet your appetite, we pulled a bunch of classic stills from the legendary program —everything from badboy Bobby Brown to a (non-holographic) Tupac going off on the Hughes Brothers to Mary J. Blige pre-”No More Drama.”
President Obama Sings Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”
No matter what you think of President Obama‘s politics, you at least have to admit — dude is cool. Here he is singing Al Green‘s “Let’s Stay Together” at the Apollo Theatre in New York yesterday. [YouTube]
Swizz Beatz Is Apparently Not The CEO Of Megaupload
The latest update in the Megaupload FBI shutdown saga is that Swizz Beatz, who yesterday was named CEO of the beleaguered company, is actually not the CEO after all. He was just trying to be the CEO. Got it? [Media Beat]
Each week here on VH1 Tuner, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. Your regularly scheduled Top 20 Video Countdown show is on a break until 2012, but be sure to tune into the Top 40 Videos of 2011 tomorrow evening when it airs on VH1 at 7 p.m. ET/PT. This week Jim gives us his top 10 albums of 2011.
10.) Love & Rockets, Vol. 1: The Transformation, Murs
Sometimes Murs’ albums have the propensity of being too laid back, but on Love & Rockets he strikes a nice balance, weaving between more chilled out tracks like “Remember 2 Forget” and heavier callouts like “Let’s Go.” The highlight of the album though is its closing track “Animal Style,” the boldest hip-hop song I’ve heard about homosexuality (which sadly, is traditionally never discussed in hip-hop).
9.) The Road From Memphis, Booker T. Jones
Indeed, this is the same Booker T. from Booker T. & the MG’s, an outfit responsible for making one of the greatest instrumentals in modern music: “Green Onions.” Jones’ trademark Hammond organ licks backed by The Roots’ rhythm section and legendary funk/soul guitarist, Dennis Coffey, play out splendidly on the all-too-fun covers of Lauryn Hill’s “Everything Is Everything,” Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” and Biz Markie’s “Just A Friend.” And not to diss, but Lou Reed’s collaboration with Jones on “The Bronx” sounds better than anything he did with Metallica this year.
8.) Watch The Throne, Kanye West & Jay Z
At the beginning of 2011 word on the street was that Kanye West & Jay Z were going to release an album together, while Dr. Dre was set to put out the final recording of his stellar career. I was skeptical of both, but at year’s end I’m happy to say we did get a solid debut from hip-hop’s premiere super-group, although I’m still waiting for Dre’s Detox, which is quickly, or slowly, becoming hip-hop’s version of Chinese Democracy.
Each week here on VH1 Tuner, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 Countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.
Because December is a month full of year-end lists, for your blog-viewing pleasure, today I give you my favorite singles of 2011:
10.) “Blow,” Ke$ha
Yes, this single was featured on Ke$ha’s 2010 mini-LP, Cannibal, but the track didn’t fully explode (or blow-ow-ow) until the beginning of this year. Because “Blow” stayed away from Ke$ha’s polarizing sing-annunciate-rap formula, it became her first single that I couldn’t stop listening to.
9.) “Michael Jackson,” Das Racist
For some reason, underground/indie-minded hip-hoppers tend to shy away from slick production and repetitive hooks, but on “Michael Jackson” Das Racist embrace these elements with fantastic results.
8.) “Lonely Boy,” The Black Keys
Dan and Pat of The Black Keys add bass and keys to their two-man sound, creating one of the most fun rock tracks of the year (which will surely still be in heavy rotation come 2012).