Blogging Like I've Never Blogged Before

Saturday, May 05, 2012

I was a late bloomer when it came to the Beastie Boys. Honestly, I was a late bloomer when it came to all music. I listened to some shitty, shitty music before my junior or senior year of high school. I mean, who didn't?

Of course, I knew the Beastie Boys, but I didn't really listen to them. I knew the hits, but that was all. My friend, Mike, convinced me I was an idiot for not listening to them. So I bought Ill Communication when it came out and I listened to it pretty much every day. Then I bought every other album and tried to catch up to all this amazing shit I missed.

At some point in life, if you're a Beastie Boys fan, someone asks, "Who's your favorite Beastie Boy?" (It happens mostly in the early part of life when people ask shit like that.) From the first time I listened until today, my answer was always MCA. I'm not sure if the reason for that is because when you first listen, he stands out the most. He's easily recognizable. It's easy to confuse Mike D and Adrock if you don't listen to them on repeat for hours on end.

(Unrelated, no one ever asked, "Who's your favorite REM?")

He also seemed smart. I didn't listen to a lot of hip-hop, but as far as I knew, there weren't a lot of dudes rapping about Buddhism, how respect to women was long overdue, or how White Castle fries only come in one size. Okay, that last line might not be the best example of his smarts, but that's why he was awesome. He was smart, funny, handsome, and sounded like a bad ass.

And he was, by all accounts, the nicest guy in the world.

After 9/11, the Beastie Boys put together a charity concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom. I was lucky enough to get a ticket. It was a great show, a long show, which had a bunch of bands before the Beastie Boys came on. It was a lot of standing (not that I'm complaining... The Roots, N.E.R.D. and a surprise performance by Moby, Michael Stipe and Bono made it all worth it), so when they came on, I was feeling lame and tired. But they fucking brought it. It was one of the best shows I've ever witnessed.

Getting to see them at such a small venue after only seeing them at arenas or Lollapalooza was amazing. At one point, MCA started talking about how going to war might not be the best option and how we should not discriminate against Muslims, which was not a very popular opinion that soon after 9/11. He got booed. I saw them soon after at Madison Square Garden, where he said the same thing, and got booed heavily. One guy in front of me held up his middle finger, and repeatedly just yelled "FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU!". And then he cheered when they did Sabotage.

In 1994, I randomly got to go to the MTV Video Music Awards. Roseanne hosted it. So that part sucked. But you might remember it as the video awards where MCA in Lederhosen ran up and spoke how it was a robbery. Skip to the 2:20 mark.

"I had all the ideas for Star Wars." I mean, that's some funny shit. Also, that clip has all of my favorite things from 1994: Mark Messier, Daisy Fuentes, REM, and the Beastie Boys.

So the weirdest thing about all this is that on Wednesday, a co-worker Tweeted this. On Thursday, I asked her if anyone replied and she had gotten a reply from someone who told her that MCA wasn't doing well. It made me sad. Later, this was our conversation:

Kellie: i heard 'fight for your right to party' on my stepdad's classic rock station just now 
me: noooooo 
i'm really nervous now. 
i will need a day off if he dies 
Kellie: i'll let your boss know 
me: thank you

Today, when I was at work, I checked Twitter pretty much at the moment TMZ and Rolling Stone reported his death. I thought I was hallucinating. No way was this happening the day after I talked about it with someone.

It wasn't until I left work and went to a bar until I heard a Beastie Boys song. And I wanted to cry as soon as I heard MCA's voice. There's no other voice like that in rap. You could argue that Eminem is an Adrock/Mike D hybrid. But there's no one like MCA. He's one of a kind. I don't think we'll hear someone like him ever again.


For some reason, a year ago (to the day, if you don't count Leap Day) this was my status on Facebook. I'm going to miss MCA. And as this is the end of the Beastie Boys, I'm really going to miss one of the most influential bands that I feel shaped my youth. This one hurts.

All material © Mike Toole; 2003 - 2006