Posted by: Necci – May 07, 2012
Like many fans in their 30’s, I spent the weekend reflecting on the life and career of Adam “MCA” Yauch. It’s hard to describe the impact he had on me growing up. I didn’t even know what being “socially conscious” meant when I first heard the “disrespect to women has got to be through” line in "Sure Shot." As a kid living in the cultural vacuum of Bassett, VA, sexist and homophobic speech was simply part of the vernacular. I was smart enough to know it was wrong, but not brave enough to challenge it.
Hearing those lines snapped me out of a small-town, teenage stupor. Changing my attitudes and vocabulary wasn’t an overnight process, but hearing the Beastie Boys transition from assholes to activists on wax made it easier to challenge the fucked up things I heard and saw every day.
In the liner notes of the B-Boys’ Sounds of Science Anthology, Adam Yauch provides a few possible morals for the story of "Fight for Your Right" (one of their most socially unconscious songs):
One might be, “Be careful what you make fun of or you might become it.” But the other one, the one that I like is, “All of the sexist macho jerks in the world are just pretending cause they’re caught in a rut, and maybe, at some point in the future, when the planets line up in a certain way, they’ll all just snap out of it.”
The Beastie Boys, and Adam Yauch in particular, helped me snap out of it. Today, whenever I need the extra motivation to fight the good fight, they provide the background tracks. MCA’s life, music, and activism provided me with a blueprint for how to be a good man and a positive influence in the world. His early death provided me, and countless other fans in their 30’s, with the reminder not to waste a single day.
By Ryan W. McKee (@ryanwmckee)