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05.04.12

Best of Adam Yauch, a.k.a. MCA, and the Beastie Boys (Video)

Adam Yauch, who died Friday at 47, was a rapper, musician, film director, and founder of the pioneering hip-hop group the Beastie Boys. From the young rapper on public access to “Sabotage,” watch highlights of his 25-year career.

Beastie Boys’ First Rap Single

The Beastie Boys began as a punk-rock group, but made the switch to hip-hop in 1982. The first single to feature the new sound, 1983’s “Cooky Puss,” was an underground smash in New York City. It features sampling of a prank call to Carvel, a local ice-cream chain.

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Shy Yauch on Public Access

This rare 1984 clip from the Manhattan public-access television show program The Scott and Gary Show shows the Beasties two years before they skyrocketed to fame with Licensed to Ill. A diffident Adam Yauch’s most memorable quote: “Bard College.”

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Beasties’ Breakout Album

The 1986 album Licensed to Ill was a huge success, in large measure thanks to a song the Beasties would always have mixed feelings about (we’ll get to that). But before going national, hip-hop radio embraced the Beasties for one of the album’s early tracks, “Hold It, Now Hit It.”

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The Song That Haunted Them

No one expected it to be their defining song, but “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)” is the track that brought the Beastie Boys a national audience and a frat-boy image they didn’t want (and arguably didn’t deserve). They’d right the wrong two decades later with a revision of the song and new video, but here’s the original.

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Sophomore Effort That Became a Classic

Yauch and his Beastie colleagues followed up Licensed to Ill with Paul’s Boutique in 1989. It’s rich in samples, lyrical sophistication, and humor. It sold poorly upon release, but is considered a classic, one of the 10 or 20 best hip-hop albums ever recorded.

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The Song That Crossed Over

The Beastie Boys began getting airplay on rock radio with the release of “Sabotage” in 1994. The video, directed by Spike Jonze, has the crew in a slapstick version of a ’70s cop drama.

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Yauch Prescient on Anti-Muslim Discrimination

At the 1998 MTV Music Awards, the Beastie Boys were awarded the Video Vanguard Award. Yauch took time to speak out against the anti-Muslim sentiment he saw developing after the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

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Yauch and the Group on ‘Charlie Rose’

They’ve come a long way since “Cooky Puss”: check out this in-depth interview on Charlie Rose from 2007.

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‘Fight for Your Right, Revisited’

Another instant classic, 25 years after their first hit. Yauch directed this reprise of “Fight for Your Right” and manages to lampoon himself, hip-hop, and the song that him famous and create a fantastic jam in the process.

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