5 August 1964
Brooklyn, New York, New York, United States
4 May 2012 (aged 47)
Adam Yauch , also know as MCA, famous as starting member of the Beasty Boys. He started the band together with Mike Diamond (Mike D) and Adam Horowitz (Adrock) in New York. (1989).
Adam Nathaniel Yauch (pronounced /ˈjaʊk/; August 5, 1964 – May 4, 2012) was an American rapper, songwriter, and film director. He was best known as a founding member of hip hop trio the Beastie Boys, who formed in 1979 in New York City. He was frequently known by his stage name, MCA, and sometimes worked under the pseudonym Nathanial Hörnblowér.
Yauch founded Oscilloscope Laboratories, an independent film production and distribution company based out of New York City. A Buddhist, he was involved in the Tibetan independence movement and organized the Tibetan Freedom Concert.
Yauch was born an only child in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Frances, a social worker, and Noel Yauch, a painter and architect. While his father had been raised a Catholic and his mother was Jewish, he received a non-religious upbringing.
Yauch attended Edward R. Murrow High School in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn. In high school, he taught himself to play the bass guitar. Yauch formed the Beastie Boys with John Berry, Kate Schellenbach, and Michael Diamond. They played their first show — while still a hardcore punk band in the vein of Reagan Youth — on his 17th birthday. He attended Bard College for two years before dropping out.
When Yauch was 22, the Beastie Boys, now performing as a hip hop trio (via Rick Rubin), released their first album Licensed to Ill on Def Jam Records. Under the pseudonym "Nathanial Hörnblowér", Yauch directed many of the Beastie Boys' music videos.
In 2002, Yauch built a recording studio in New York City called Oscilloscope Laboratories. He began an independent film distributing company called Oscilloscope Pictures. Yauch directed the 2006 Beastie Boys concert film, Awesome; I Fuckin' Shot That!, although in the DVD extras for the film, the title character in "A Day in the Life of Nathanial Hörnblowér" is played by David Cross. He also directed the 2008 film Gunnin' For That#1 Spot about eight high school basketball prospects at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 Hoops Classic at Rucker Park in Harlem, New York City. Yauch produced Build a Nation, the comeback album from hardcore/punk band Bad Brains. Oscilloscope Laboratories also distributed Adam Yauch's directorial film debut, basketball documentary Gunnin' For That#1 Spot (2008) as well as Kelly Reichardt's Wendy and Lucy (2008) and Oren Moverman’s The Messenger (2009).
The Beastie Boys had sold 40 million records worldwide by 2010. In April 2012, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yauch was inducted in absentia due to his illness. His bandmates paid tribute to Yauch; a letter from Yauch was read to the crowd.
In 2011, Yauch received the Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters from Bard College, the college he attended for two years. The award is "given in recognition of a significant contribution to the American artistic or literary heritage."
Yauch was a practicing Buddhist. He became an important voice in the Tibetan independence movement. He created the Milarepa Fund, a non-profit organization devoted to Tibetan independence, and organized several benefit concerts to support the cause, including the Tibetan Freedom Concert.
He and his wife, Dechen Wangdu, had a daughter, Tenzin Losel, in 1998.
Illness and death
In 2009, Yauch was diagnosed and treated for a cancerous parotid gland and a lymph node and underwent surgery and radiation therapy delaying the release of Hot Sauce Committee Part Two and the subsequent tour. He was unable to appear in music videos for the album. Yauch became a vegan under the recommendation of his Tibetan doctors. At the time, Yauch described the cancer as "very treatable".
Yauch died at age 47 on May 4, 2012.
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