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Saturday
May052012

R.I.P MCA

The Beastie Boys were something different, they broadened the demographic of hip hop lovers with their experimental ways. With that said, the Beastie Boys released an official statement on the death of MCA, Adam Yauch so instead of me telling you how much he affected people's lives, I decided to just let them speak for themselves. 

Adam Yauch | 1964-2012

 
It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam “MCA” Yauch, founding member of Beastie Boys and also of the Milarepa Foundation that produced the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits, and film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories, passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer. He was 47 years old.

 

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Yauch taught himself to play bass in high school, forming a band for his 17th birthday party that would later become known the world over as Beastie Boys.

With fellow members Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Adrock” Horovitz, Beastie Boys would go on to sell over 40 million records, release four #1 albums–including the first hip hop album ever to top the Billboard 200, the band’s 1986 debut full length, Licensed To Ill–win three Grammys, and the MTV Video Vanguard Lifetime Achievement award. Last month Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with Diamond and Horovitz reading an acceptance speech on behalf of Yauch, who was unable to attend.

In addition to his hand in creating such historic Beastie Boys albums as Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication, Hello Nasty and more, Yauch was a founder of the Milarepa Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness and activism regarding the injustices perpetrated on native Tibetans by Chinese occupational government and military forces. In 1996, Milarepa produced the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, which was attended by 100,000 people, making it the biggest benefit concert on U.S. soil since 1985′s Live Aid. The Tibetan Freedom Concert series would continue to stage some of the most significant benefit shows in the world for nearly a decade following in New York City, Washington DC, Tokyo, Sydney, Amsterdam, Taipei and other cities.

In the wake of September 11, 2001, Milarepa organized New Yorkers Against Violence, a benefit headlined by Beastie Boys at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, with net proceeds disbursed to the New York Women’s Foundation Disaster Relief Fund and the New York Association for New Americans (NYANA) September 11th Fund for New Americans–each chosen for their efforts on behalf of 9/11 victims least likely to receive help from other sources.

Under the alias of Nathanial Hörnblowér, Yauch directed iconic Beastie Boys videos including “So Whatcha Want,” “Intergalactic,” “Body Movin” and “Ch-Check It Out.” Under his own name, Yauch directed last year’s Fight For Your Right Revisited, an extended video for “Make Some Noise” from Beastie Boys’ Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, starring Elijah Wood, Danny McBride and Seth Rogen as the 1986 Beastie Boys, making their way through a half hour of cameo-studded misadventures before squaring off against Jack Black, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as Beastie Boys of the future.

Yauch’s passion and talent for filmmaking led to his founding of Oscilloscope Laboratories, which in 2008 released his directorial film debut, the basketball documentary Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot and has since become a major force in independent video distribution, amassing a catalogue of such acclaimed titles as Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy, Oren Moverman’s The Messenger, Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop, Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze’s Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait Of Maurice Sendak, and many more.

Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen and his daughter Tenzin Losel, as well as his parents Frances and Noel Yauch.

Friday
May042012

J Dilla’s legacy still lives

I would like to give a very special thank you to the record store owner in Detroit who found hundreds of old cassette tapes of J Dilla’s work. For those of us who have his music on repeat, we can now hear new music from the legendary producer. 

The tapes are in Dilla’s mother Maureen Yancey “Ma Dukes” possession and according to AllHipHop.com, the material was found by Jeff Bubeck, who owns the Royal Oak-based record store UHF. 

After a routine spring cleaning in an abandoned storage unit he looked after, he stumbled across over 7,000-8,000 records, notebooks, notes and other handwritten artifacts by J Dilla. 

A lot of Dilla fans are waiting in anticipation to get their hands on this unreleased music, Bubeck, UHF, Yancey and the J Dilla Foundation are working together to figure out the best way to distribute the records, and to figure out a way to get it in the hands of the fans, and do some good for the J Dilla Foundation.

Here at Stimulate Your Soul, we continuously interview musicians who have personally worked with Dilla, and I thought it would be a good idea to collate them all here in a blog for you to easily read.  

Bootie Brown – The Pharcyde

Everyone in there life I think at onetime is exposed to an individual that makes certain things looks so easy because of their flawless workflow. JD was that. He was a genius in his own right. He was my waking up on how music was created before I met him; there were rules to how music was made. He infused the things around him to create music. It was like going on a camping trip and 
one individual brings the raw necessities but he is the most prepared person you ever seen. While you are struggling to get a fire going with matches, he has a bon fire out of flint rock, eating and reading a book.

Dwele

Dilla was crazy; I always say that the MPC was an extension of his arm. It was part of him; I always said he was a court room stenographer too. They are the people that sit down and take the minutes in the courtroom. On an MPC his fingers were fly, you couldn’t grasp what he was doing. Definitely a talent and I learned a lot from him. If I ever got lost on the MPC, I would call him and be like “Yo I got a problem,” he’d respond with “Oh yeahh, fo sho, ffo shoo, what’s up? He got a stutter, “sssuuup.” He always had a solution, and he always knew everything. He might as well have made it himself.

Jack from J*Davey 

Jack: I was approached by Mr French, an LA DJ who said told me about the (Red Light) project. I can't quite remember who was putting it together, but there was some interest & I actually got the track via messenger the day that Dilla passed. I've been a Dilla fiend since college so I was honoured to have the opportunity to write something to one of his tracks.

I also interviewed The President of the J Dilla Foundation Joylette, about how you can keep Dilla’s legacy alive, and to continue to inspire and encourage the younger musical generation into making real music, that we sadly don’t hear much anymore these days.  

For those who don’t know who Dilla is, his name is James Dewitt Yancey and he was an American record producer from Detroit, Michigan. He worked with the music industry's most influential hip-hop artists, working for big-name acts like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, Erykah Badu and Common. He sadly passed away from Lupus in 2006.

What’s your favourite Dilla song? How has he affected you? We want to hear it, please leave a comment below. 

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