Tomorrow is MCA Day, the new holiday where we honor Brooklyn’s own Adam Yauch, aka MCA of the Beastie Boys, who died two years ago. The Beastie Boys meant a lot to music, but we also celebrate Adam’s mission to help others: He was a practicing Buddhist and helped organize the Tibetan Freedom Concert. His giving nature seemed like a calling, and his anti-war stance helped promote peace. His creative spirit also shined in the Beastie Boys’ music videos he directed, as well as his work with Oscilloscope Laboratories, an independent film producer and distributor.
Brooklyn honored him last year with the dedication of Adam Yauch Park in Brooklyn Heights. This year, I’ll be the official VJ at this year’s MCA Day at Littlefield, so to get you pumped, here are my official music-video historian picks for the seven best Beastie Boys videos of all time.
“Shake Your Rump” 1989
This Paul’s Boutique opener maintained their loyalty to the fish-eye lens hip-hop video approach.
Another Paul’s Boutique jammer with an impressionist interpretation. When this album hit the public, people realized that the Beastie Boys were much more talented than their bratty misogynist License to Ill image, and this confirmed it.
“So Whatcha Want” 1992
The first single off CHECK YOUR HEAD showcased the boys playing instruments and slow-mo b-boy styling in a nuclear forest. A must for all believers.
“Netty’s Girl” 1992
This unlistenable song is hilarious as a video. Just give it a chance.
This must be the most hardcore song to break into the mainstream in the last 20 years, and that’s all due to director Spike Jonze’s video tribute to the 1970s cop shows like “Mannix,” “The Rockford Files” and “Starsky & Hutch.” Drinking coffee & doughnuts during the break is a classic moment. Be sure to check out this version, with intercuts of the boys appearance on a fake talk show called “Ciao L.A.”, hosted by Jonze’s then-wife Sofia Coppola.
“Triple Trouble” 2004
On their post-9/11 NYC love letter album, To The 5 Boroughs, they sampled Chic by way of the Sugar Hill Gang for a dancefloor booty shaker, complete with Sasquatch & kung fu action.
“Make Some Noise” 2011
The band turned their “Fight For Your Right To Party” video personas inside out by recruiting famous actors to play them in this vid from Hot Sauce Committee Part Two. Everyone from Stanley Tucci to Elijah Wood to Ted Danson to Will Ferrell showed up to cameo in this wacky video sandbox that clocks in at nearly 30 minutes. The boys do appear as cops at the end.
Keep up some ill communications with Stephen on Twitter: @StephenPitalo.
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