By now, you surely already have heard that Beastie Boy MCA aka Adam Yauch passed away this past Friday, May 4, 2012, after a long battle with cancer. This would be a pretty shitty beat blog if we didn’t pause for the man with the beard like a billy goat. The Beasties will go down in history as legends in hip-hop, and, for our purposes, as some of the greatest innovators of the sample game. Hell, Paul’s Boutique alone contains more samples than probably any dozen rap records that would be released today, thanks to a somewhat more liberal scene back in the day (or simply because the labels hadn’t figured out how to start suing samplers yet; either/or). i remember sitting on the front steps of my grade school, oversized boom box in hand, spitting the lyrics to “Paul Revere” at top volume alongside my best friends. While my group got into hip-hop pretty early (how many other 10 year olds were rocking out to BDP’s Criminal Minded when it came out, i couldn’t tell you, but i doubt we were many), it was the Beasties that brought hip hop to most white suburban kids, for better or worse. i was fortunate enough to catch the group live a couple of times, once during their infamous ‘94 Lolapalooza run and again when they were touring To the 5 Boroughs. i’ve long held a sad theory that once an artist hits a certain age, s/he seems unable to produce music that still speaks to the masses. MCA and the Beastie Boys kept proving that idea wrong, and for this, among countless other reasons, you shall be missed, Adam.