Beastie Boys "Jimmy James" (1992) from Check Your Head
In the two days since the shocking news of the sudden death on May 4th of Adam Yauch - aka MCA of the Beastie Boys - everyone has been sharing how much the artist and his group influenced their lives. On my WFMU radio show on Friday guest/longtime emcee Azeem recalled how when he first heard the Beasties he didn't even realize they they were not black and then recalled how in the early 90's during Lollapalooza he "went on tour a long time ago with the Beastie Boys, A Tribe Called Quest, George Clinton" and how he had a debate with members of fellow touring act The Pharcyde on the merits of the Beastie Boys as "hip-hop artists."
"At the time hip-hop still had its racial sensitivities and I had to argue on the Beastie Boys' side been from the East Coast, or been from New Jersey, hearing Licensed to Ill. When we [first] heard that record we didn't know if they were white kids. We just heard good hip-hop." recalled Azeem noting that the fact that the group never stopped creating and evolving & consistently making good music for well over a quarter of a decade is a testament to the greatness of the Beastie Boys.