MCA Keeps Rocking in the Afterlife

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Back in 1994, Beastie Boys’ Adam “MCA” Yauch dropped what some consider his most realized lyrics—“Bodhisattva Vow.”

So I pledge here before everyone who’s listening
To try to make my every action for the good of all beings
For the rest of my lifetimes and even beyond
I vow to do my best, to do no harm

Yauch continues to make good on this prophecy—even from the afterlife… David Browne’s piece for Rolling Stone (9.20.2012) reports how MCA was asked to contribute to the Tony Hawk Foundation less than two months before his death. Adam inscribed three separate decks with the lyrics to Ill Communication’sBodhisattva Vow.” Yauch had skated since he was a kid and found release on the skate ramps in the Beastie Boys' old G-Son Studio…

By the time he put BV on wax, Adam had come a long way. The regressive debauchery of the Licensed to Ill-era period had segued to a period of deep introspection for Yauch. The search for meaning lead him to explore spirituality in many forms, and look within…

There are a lot of lyrics on our first two albums that talk about carrying guns or being disrespectful to women. We looked at it as a fantasy, a cowboy movie, but I began to realize those things have a deeper effect, where people actually think that’s who we are. And in some cases, you kind of become that, a caricature of yourself, your image…"

His spirituality had begun to peak through on Paul’s Boutique‘s “A Year and a Day” and even “Shadrach."

Shortly after we put out Paul’s Boutique, I really started thinking about our lyrics and how they affected people. I just began noticing more and more how lyrics that I viewed as just joking around had a longer lasting effect on people, myself included. I never smoked ‘dust’ (PCP), but kids would come up to me citing our songs: ‘Yo, I heard you talking about smoking dust in your song and we used to smoke dust all the time and listen to your music.’-–Adam Yauch in Chicago Tribune

The transformation continued with cuts such as Check Your Head’s “Namaste.” And in the early 1990s, Adam began trekking to Kathmandu and Nepal.

“I met a group of Tibetans refugees, that had just come over the Himalayas that were heading to Dharamsala to hopefully meet the Dalai Lama and fleeing from the oppression they were facing and from that firsthand exposure, I started getting interested in it."

This experience so deeply affected Yauch that he formed the Milarepa Fund with Erin Potts. The Tibetan Freedom Concerts raised millions for the movement and spurred the growth of Students for a Free Tibet (where Yauch would meet his wife, Dechen). Always one to walk his talk, proceeds from the Buddhism-inspired songs were donated to Milarepa Fund. MCA spent the rest of his life working for the betterment of humanity, and Beastie Boys music was a primary outlet for his passion and creativity.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64lWVE3Tg2A The Hawk Foundation contacted Adam about the project at the request of skating legend Bucky Lasek. They were unaware that Yauch was in the final stages of his fight with cancer

When Ben [Harper] approached Adam about participating, he had no idea what condition Adam was in. If he did, he wouldn’t have asked. Understanding that Adam had been in treatment, he was careful to invite him to participate with no expectation that he would. But Adam responded immediately, and enthusiastically.—Miki Vuckovich, Executive Director, Tony Hawk Foundation

Each deck is signed and dated: “Adam Yauch—March 15, 2012”. MCA passed away on May 4, 2012… As was widely reported, MCA’s will prohibits the selling (out) of his name, image, or music for commercial purposes, and on August 9, Beastie Boys filed suit against Monster Energy Drink for copyright infringement. When it comes to artistic integrity, both posthumous developments imbue MCA’s lyrics with a certain prophetic awareness…

On November 29th, the Adam Yauch boards will be auctioned online to raise money for a skatepark in a low-income community in the Beastie Boys' hometown, NYC…