Entertainment

Hip Hop Legend MCA Passes Away

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Adam Yauch, who was better known as MCA, was famous for being a music pioneer but his charitable work may be what he is remembered for most. Image: Michael Morel
Adam Yauch, who was better known as MCA, was famous for being a music pioneer but his charitable work may be what he is remembered for most. Image: Michael Morel

You may not have heard of Adam Yauch, but you have probably heard of the Beastie Boys.

Yauch – better known as MCA – was one of three members of the legendary hip-hop group from New York City. He died from cancer early this month.

Yauch and the rest of the Beastie Boys were famous for wild, silly songs and wild, silly behaviour. A perfect example is their most famous song: “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party).”

Yauch taught himself to play the bass guitar in highschool, and formed the Beastie Boys for his 17th birthday party along with the group’s two other members: Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Adrock” Horovitz.

The Beastie Boys went on to sell more than 40 million records, release several number-one albums and win several Grammy awards. The month before Yauch died, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Yauch was not only a rapper and musician, however. He was also a filmmaker, and a human rights activist. For example, he was one of the first public figures in the US to speak out against not just American wars in the Middle East, but also Islamophobia (a fear of Muslims).

Another important cause for Yauch was Tibetan freedom. Tibet is a country that lies between India to the West and China to the East and has been under Chinese occupation for more than half a century. Yauch was a founding member of the Milarepa Foundation, which stages benefit concerts to raise money for the foundation, which in turn raises awareness about and promotes the Tibetan struggle for independence.

Yauch’s film making career included directing several of the Beastie Boys’ own music videos, directing a basketball documentary, and starting an independent film distribution company, which has released many successful films.

(Home page photo of Adam Yauch by Fabio Venni, Wikimedia Commons.)

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Adam Yauch believed in many charitable causes. Who are your favourite celebrities and what causes do they support? Use magazines and the internet to find out! How does knowing their charitable work help you to understand what kind of people they are?

Reading Prompt: Metacognition
“What questions do you ask yourself to make sure you are understanding what you are reading? How do you know if you are on the right track? (OME, Reading: 4.1)”

Primary
Identify, initially with some support and direction, what strategies they found
most helpful before, during, and after reading and how they can use these and other strategies to improve as readers (OME, Reading: 4.1).

Junior & Intermediate
Identify the strategies they found most helpful before, during, and after reading and explain, in conversation with the teacher and/or peers or in a reader’s notebook, how they can use these and other strategies to improve as  readers(OME, Reading: 4.1).

Grammar Feature: Alliteration
Alliteration means that the first syllable in a series of words have a similar sound. The band name, Beastie Boys is a good example of alliteration.

Create alliterative band names for: a hip hop group, a rapper, a heavy metal band, a country band, and a pop band.

Why do you think bands might want to use alliterative names?