We're just three emcees and we're on the go
SHADRACH, MESACH, ABEDNEGO
These characters were Judean men, friends of Daniel and possibly prophets as well, selected (among others) by the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar II, to serve in his court by mastering Chaldean language and history and conjuring wisdom. In the Bible’s “Book of Daniel,” they are saved by divine intervention from the Babylonian execution of being burned alive in a fiery cauldron. Yahweh protects them and they emerge from the furnace unharmed. As a result, the king decrees that the entire kingdom worship the Jewish god.
Each man had a given, Hebrew name, and each was given a Chaldean version to serve as their Babylonian name. Daniel was Belteshazzar, Hannaniah was Shadrach, Mishael was Meshach, and Azarya was Abednego.
All three Boys have Jewish lineage — both of Mike D’s parents, MCA’s mother, and Ad-Rock’s father. Each Beastie takes the name of one of the prophets — standing out amongst all other rappers as today’s historians, conjurors of flow, and keepers of wit and wisdom.
- Shadrach goes to Ad-Rock, probably because of the rhyming similarity (“Shad-rach” to “Ad-Rock”).
- Meshach to Mike D, because they both start with M, and maybe the similarity in meaning between Michael (“Who is like God?”) and Meshach (from mi-sha-Aku, “Who is what Aku is?”).
- Abednego is taken up by MCA, probably because MCA is short for “MC Adam Yauch”, Adam and Abednego both start with A.
The three characters have been very popular in song lyrics, maybe because the names have a mysterious quality to them, and have a nice flow when said together.
The Robert MacGimsey tune “Shadrack” which was a hit for Brook Benton. Here sung by Louis Armstrong. Also note how that song, about all three boys, is named after only Shadrach, as is this song.
“Abendigo” by the Abyssinians.
The characters are especially popular in Reggae, featured in The Viceroys' song “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo”, the Twinkle Brothers' “Never Get Burn”, Bob Marley & the Wailers' “Survival”, The Congos' song “La La Bam-Bam” and Steel Pulse’s song “Blazing Fire” on the album, African Holocaust.
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