Adam Yauch dies at 47; impact on modern rap

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On May 4, Adam “MCA” Yauch succumbed to cancer at his family home. One of the main songwriters and musicians of the rap-group Beastie Boys, Yauch was a key component of what would become the modern day rap-group persona. Larger than that, Yauch also helped establish the less serious side of rap.

When the 1980s began, hip-hop and rap were relatively new genres. Never before in the public eye, the 80s brought a time where mainstream music began embracing the deep bass and hissing hi-hat treble of hip-hop.

Public Enemy, NWA: politically charged lyrics seemed to be a must for any hip-hop group hoping to break into the public eye.

Still, mainstream music has never truly embraced political lyrics, preferring instead the care-free prose of pop-music giants like Madonna.

So when the Beastie Boys came around with their huge hit, “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party),” the music scene was overjoyed that they could attach pop-music and fun with rap and hip-hop.

The next thirty years showed that that was the preference of mainstream America: rap and hip-hop about doing the fun things teenagers, thugs and gangstas like to do.

Hip-hop has not evolved much since those days, still preferring lyrics that are relatively meaningless.

But instead of “fighting to party,” rap has changed its thematic experience to “drugs, money and thuggin’.” While both are completely meaningless lyrical ideas, there is something to be said for the musician or artist who started a trend.

Rap and hip-hop has changed drastically, becoming less of a Blondie, The Clash and Beastie Boys punk rock infused sound, and more of its own genre in its own right.

And while the thuggin’ lifestyle of rap is a far cry from what the Beastie Boys set the foundation of, the care-free attitude of their lyrics and persona is something that can not be forgotten when Yauch was taken at the age of 47.

Because no one should forget that it all started with a couple of white, Jewish boys from Brooklyn who just wanted to “party.”

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