Friday, May 04, 2012

Pass the Mic

After my last post, I wasn't planning on doing any more ruminations on getting older and my own mortality. But then came the sad news that Adam Yauch, aka MCA of the Beastie Boys, died today at the young age of 47. Yauch had been battling cancer for the last three years and missed the Beasties' recent induction into the Rock Hall of Fame, but the news of his death still came as a shock.

The Beasties, along with Run DMC, introduced me to hip hop in the mid-'80s, although it wasn't until 1992's Check Your Head that I really got into them. I never saw them live, but I respected their early beginnings as a scrappy punk band and followed their evolution into a bratty rap act. Just when I was getting sick of Licensed to Ill, the Beasties transformed again with Paul's Boutique, a masterpiece of an album with an insanely amazing collection of samples. Then came Check Your Head and Ill Communication, which highlighted the Beasties' chops as musicians as much as it did their MC skills. As they got into their 40s, the output slowed, but last year's Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 was an excellent return to form.

Yauch's death came just a few days after former NFL linebacker Junior Seau was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 43. He was only a few years removed from playing with the Patriots and left no suicide note detailing his motivations, but his family has released Seau's brain for further study to determine the extent of brain trauma from concussions suffered during his playing days. One former teammate went so far as to say Seau could have suffered 1,500 concussions. Damn.

It's especially strange to see people my age dying, whether it's from disease or by design. Kinda freaky, really. All we can do now is celebrate their lives.

Gratitude: Fight for Your Right (Revisited), directed by Yauch:

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