Adam Yauch was better known as MCA, one third of the white-boy rap group Beastie Boys.
A Brooklyn native, Yauch started playing bass in a punk band while he was still in high school. He and Mike Diamond, along with Kate Schellenbach and John Berry, formed Beastie Boys as a hard rock band.
They released a single in 1982, "Polly-Wog Stew," but it wasn't until after Adam Horovitz joined and the new trio released 1983's "Cookie Puss" that they moved into rap music.
With the help of producer Rick Rubin they were signed to Def Jam Records in 1985 and proceeded to go on tour, opening for Madonna and Run-DMC.
The Beastie Boys released their first album, Licensed to Ill, in 1986, and the record went on to become a major market success on the strength of hits such as "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party)."
They went on to sell millions of records over the next 25 years, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.
During the 1990s Yauch left behind his wild partying and embraced Buddhism; he also became active in the campaign to support Tibet in their resistance to China.
Also a photographer and filmmaker, Yauch directed several Beastie Boys videos and founded Oscilloscope Laboratories, where he produced and directed the film Gunnin' For That #1 Spot (2008).
He announced to fans in 2009 that he was undergoing treatment for cancer in his parotid gland. He died 4 May 2012 at the age of 47.
Adam Yauch sometimes posed in character as a filmmaker named Nathaniel Hrnblowr.
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