Sunday, 6 May 2012

MCA

Damn, I haven't updated this blog in so long I couldn't remember my password, I pretty much stopped updating this to use Facebook instead, but sometimes there is just so much more than can be said in a little Facebook post, and the news about MCA is one of those times.

Amy Winehouse died recently, as did Whitney Houston, and as undoubtedly sad as this is if i'm being honest the death of Beastie Boys member MCA shook me far more, not that its a grief competition, and as I said the death of anyone is sad, but for some reason a death from cancer always seems like one of the worst ways to go. It's just so incredibly unfair, if someone dies from a drug overdose or in a car crash theres at least a reason, you can't argue with it, it happened and that was why, but cancer always just seems like death is cheating, like theres absolutely nothing wrong with someone, then cancer comes along and fucks it all up, and we all know someone whos been affected by cancer so you'll all know what I mean.

I love Hardcore music, I love Hip Hop and I love Skateboarding, so asking if i'm a fan of the Beastie Boys is really a rhetorical question, Hardcore Punk was the sound of Skateboarding in the eighties, you'll be hard pushed to find a skater from the eighties that doesn't know Black Flag, Minor Threat and.... the Beasties, but they weren't a great hardcore band, they really came into their own when they made the transition into a Hip Hop group. The soundtrack to 90s skateboarding was undoubtedly Hip Hop, and as much as everyone loved that first wave of Gangsta Rap, every skater also had a place in their heart for the Beastie Boys, and this is why: (awful rappers of the new millenium take note)they were themselves, they didn't claim to be in some sort of gangster clique, they just rapped about everyday life, and in doing that they had something we could all relate to, songs like this:

"You wake up late for school, man you don't wanna go!" The first line and EVERYONE has felt like that, its no surprise that song became an instant classic, but unsurprisingly as their fan base grew they came under fire from some hardcore Hip Hop fans, when you come into a genre thats vastly populated by black inner city youth rapping about guns and bitches, 3 white jewish kids rapping about not wanting to go to school sticks out like a sore thumb. However it is almost impossible to criticize the Beasties, they are what they are and don't claim to be anything else, an awesome DJ and 2 rappers that like to have fun, "fun" being the element that seems to be missing in the genre these days, and its exactly what made the Beastie Boys so popular, and its impossible to hate on people having fun! One example of this is in 8 Mile when the main characters are discussing the greatest rappers of all time, and Cheddar Bob says "What about the Beasties?" It kinda gets dismissed and almost laughed off as one of the characters begins to say how much easier it is for a white man to come up in a black dominated genre, but there is no mention of their rapping skills, as basically, they can't be criticized! No one could ever say "F**k the Beasties all having fun and shit!" fun cannot be hated on! And you can't be called a joke, when you set out joking around!

The Beastie Boys skated too, and pretty well at that, over the years there have been a whole bunch of Beastie Boys decks, and Spike Jonze, part owner of Girl/Chocolate has directed Beastie Boys videos in the past, the link to skating was so strong that as soon as MCAs death was announced it was no surprise Thrasher posted a tribute to him.

Spike Jonze Directed "Sabotage" Video The Beasties were one of the best groups at writing their own beats, I say beats but they were full band musical scores, not just cut up samples from breaks. The guitars on Sabotage are instantly recognisable, but at the same time Mix Master Mike was a seriously good DJ and extremely well respected by other DJs.

The longevity of the Beasties shows just how much influence they've had on Hip Hop, each album they release would just remind people how good they are, and while it could be said the 90s was their best era songs like "Intergalactic" were extremely popular when they were released 20+ years after they first got together, it reminded everyone that the Beasties were here to stay, and its still a guaranteed dance floor filler.

I remember posting on Facebook when I heard Adam Yauch had throat cancer, and I knew exactly the people who would respond to it, older skaters that were around in the nineties and all my friends that are DJs, because the amount of respect that the Beasties earnt from true Hip Hop heads and DJs was a testament to how good they were, Chuck D from Public Enemy even said Beasties were one of the best Hip Hop groups, this love from peers is something that is rarely associated with commercial mainstream success but something the Beastie Boys did so well, they were legit, on both levels, selling over 40 million records but still having the respect of the other great Hip Hop artists of our time. This video of Coldplay covering the Beasties has been doing the rounds, Coldplay, the complete opposite to Beastie Boys in terms of genre and fan base, but you can hear screams for them at the end of the cover, they are respected by, well, everyone that truly loves music, not just hip Hop fans but music fans, and i'm sure i'll be playing Beasties to my daughter in 10 years time as she begins to discover music.

MCA, you are an absolute legend, one of Brooklyns finest, and will be sorely missed, R.I.P.

1 comment:

d3@N j0n3s said...

A truly great article. Thanks for taking the time to write and share this with us.

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Reskue Skate Shop is an independent skater owned shop in Southampton, England.
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