The Beastie Boys are rap royalty. The average rap fan may not want to admit it, but the Beasties helped the emerging genre access the suburban and punk rock markets. In addition to their marketability, the Beasties also produced a slew of certified bangers. As if their contributions to the early rap scene weren't enough, the Beastie Boys remained as relevant towards the end of the group's lifespan as they were in the beginning. Had the group kept cranking out hit albums, they might still be one of the most celebrated acts in Hip hop.
Sadly, after their album Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, the band called it quits following the death of Adam "MCA" Yauch. Although all of the Beasties were equally instrumental in the group's success, surviving members Ad-Rock and Mike D have credited Yauch as the glue that held the group together. Yauch's sensitive and spiritual perspective helped the Beasties evolve from rowdy party boys to accomplished emcees and producers.
It still hurts to think I won't hear MCA's signature gravely vocals on new Beastie tracks anytime soon, but I can always take time to remember the man as he was. Happy posthumous birthday, Adam Yauch. From one New York boy to another, you kept it real.
You can listen to Yauch explain why he became a Buddhist in the video linked above.