In 1986, the Beastie Boys set out on the Raising Hell Tour with LL Cool J, Whodini and Run-DMC, and the chemistry between the groups was instantaneous. Adam Yauch, one-third of the Beasties, died Friday (May 4) after a three-year battle with cancer , and both Rev Run and DMC reached out to MTV News to share their personal memories of Yauch and the Beastie Boys from the days they spent together, early in their respective careers.
Developing a Bond: “When I first met [the Beastie Boys], they came to the [Def Jam] office and they were really good rappers, but more than that, they were funny. They were not only friendly, but they were just so funny, it was amazing. Their rhymes were funny and they were funny, so out of everything I can think of, everything with them was fun and humorous, and that was what attracted me to them. One time, on tour, I actually abandoned my bus because I was so intrigued and was so friendly with them that I went and hung on their bus for a night, so that was really cool. I’d never tried anything like that before, so it was kinda crazy, but I wanted to be with them, so I was like, ‘Y’all got an extra bunk?’ I left my bus and I went and hung on their bus. It was the funnest thing in the word, if ‘funnest’ is a word.”
Their Effect on Hip-Hop: “I think they were blowing people’s minds. I was out on tour right before I met them, and when they came along, it was just amazing. I ended up actually writing songs with them, like ‘Paul Revere.’ And then they took one of our songs ‘Slow and Low’ — we left a tape in the studio and they did it over — so I was really kinda involved with them in a little bit of production, along with Rick Rubin. They actually picked up Dr. Dre as a DJ for a while, which was really cool. So they had Dre DJing, and in my mind, they were just so dope on the mic — especially Adam Yauch. He had a really incredible style of rhyme, and I was like, ‘This dude is amazing.’ Just like everybody else that ended up falling in love with them, that’s what was happening to me — I was like, ‘Wow, these white kids could rap.’ And Adam Yauch has this special type of rasp in his voice that made him incredible to me, so he stood out as a real vintage type of incredible MC. It was intriguing to see white guys rapping like that, being so cool, plus sticking to their roots, so they were true to themselves.”
Fondest Memory: “Them taking the Mercedes-Benz emblems [and wearing them around their necks] or hearing that kids were taking the Mercedes-Benz emblems off of cars. I remember getting to London and the press was so scared of what might happen, because the Beastie Boys were there. It was a phenomenon when I got overseas, to hear what the press was thinking about what the Beastie Boys might do. All of that stuff was just really shocking to me. The press loved Run-DMC, but it was a different type of thing that they thought the Beastie Boys were gonna bring to town with them.”
Recent Memories: “A couple years ago, me and a couple of people that were working on filming ‘Run’s House’ on MTV went to their show in Brooklyn, and I came out on onstage and waved to the audience right before ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn.’ I did so much with them over the years that I just want to keep the love alive. My tribute to them is just to tell them that I love them and what they did for hip-hop culture is legendary.”
Developing a Bond: “It was instant. Right away, they drank Budweiser and we drank 40 ounces of Olde English. We wore gold chains and Cadillac emblems, and they took the emblems right off Volkswagens and put them on their necks. The thing that worked with us was it was the same feeling but different expression. Their sneakers could be dirty and muddy and they could’ve had them since fifth grade, and our sneakers had to be clean, but we both rocked the music, the presentation. The personality was expressed from the same heart, with the same heart and feeling. We lived together, we toured the world together, we played together, we got drunk together, we laughed together, we cried together. You know what was good about them? It wasn’t an act. It wasn’t white rappers trying to be black — they were themselves, and we respected that. Real recognized real. At times you thought you were in a movie, but it wasn’t like they were just doing it to just to do it. It’s really them: energetic, exciting, spontaneous and very creative too.”
Their Effect on Hip-Hop: “The Beastie Boys are one of the greatest groups, and I’m not just talking hip-hop — the Beastie Boys are one of the greatest groups in history. You could call them the Ramones of hip-hop. Even greater than that, they were a great rock and roll band. They made it possible for Eminem , Vanilla Ice and all these other white rappers that came up to have a place to be. They made it acceptable.”
Fondest Memory: “On the Together Forever Tour, we were over in Europe, and the stage got really, really wet, because they were opening cans of beer and spraying it everywhere, so the stage was like a danger zone. We were on the side of the stage watching their show, thinking, ‘One of them is going to bust they ass,’ and MCA slipped and flew about 20 feet up in the air, came down real hard and we thought he was dead … but then he got up and they just kept going. It was the craziest thing ever.”
Recent Memories: “I saw them constantly over the years. If I go to New York, I’ll see them. If I’m in L.A., I see ‘em. If I go to a Rage Against the Machine show, I see ‘em. If I go to a radio show, if I go to a movie premiere, I see ‘em. If I walk by the basketball courts in the Village, I see them out there playing. I would always see them. It was cool, because you would always see them doing the things that they rapped about, that they said they did, and in the places they said they did. They were always at the skateboard park. They were always in the studio. They were always at the club where some new indie band was premiering.”
Tune in to MTV tonight at 8 p.m. for “Adam Yauch: Remembering a Beastie Boy,” an hour-long special hosted by Sway celebrating the life and career of Adam “MCA” Yauch, including his biggest moments and remembrances from his friends and peers. Share your memories of Adam on Twitter using the hashtag #RIPMCA.