A death in the news is always tragic but when the person who passed away is Adam “MCA” Yauch, it cuts a bit deeper. Any hiphop fan is familiar with his name and thanks to their massive popularity and recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, the Beastie Boys have transcended hiphop.

I didn’t have to know MCA to respect his music and his commitment to humanitarian efforts, specifically his dedication to the people of Tibet. It was Yauch that started up the Tibetan Freedom Concerts and introduced a new dimension to what we thought we knew MCA was about. Even more impressive than the 40+ million records sold, the awards and the fact that these guys were able to stick together and sustain a career for over 30 years is the clear love they all had for the music. They weren’t afraid to experiment and try something new with the music. They could release songs that had nothing to do with hiphop and it didn’t feel forced. I can’t name any artist or group that was as musically diverse as the Beastie Boys and MCA was in the middle of it all.

These guys sold millions by doing whatever the wanted and the public ate it up. They went against the grain to carve their own niche and no one ever said it wasn’t hiphop. They made it cool for you to be yourself. You didn’t have to be the same skin color to want to be like MCA in those crazy videos.

My earliest memory of MCA was back on Hawaii when Fight for your Right came on after Falco’s Rock Me Amadeus and by the end of the song I start singing the chorus. It didn’t matter what age you were or where you were from, if you were a fan of music you were a fan of MCA and the Beastie Boys. Enjoy Brooklyn Mr. Yauch, you’ve deserved it.

And lets just end this with a random MCA cameo.