Friday, May 4, 2012

R.I.P. Adam "MCA" Yauch 1964-2012

I wrote this October 2002 for ENGL 1310 at UNT

In a day and age where Rock and R&B were the dominating the charts a few boys from New York emerged into the scene with a whole new genre of music. The year was 1986 and Rap was still considered an underground style of music. These three wealthy middle-class Jewish boys from NYC infused the sounds of punk rock and rap into a hardcore breed of music. They exposed the world of pop to an unaccustomed variety of sound. The Beastie Boys were famous, but why? Did they serve as an act of rebellion? Was it the need to party, or was it much deeper?
Rap: a rhythmic speaking of usually rhymed couplets to a musical accompaniment. Rock: popular music usually played on electric instruments and characterized by a strong beat and much repetition. Combining these two was a very original concept -- a revolutionary step in the music industry. There is a want and search for something that is original; to be different from the numerous amounts of everyday rock bands that had evolved over the past few decades. The Beastie Boys weren’t the first rappers, just the first to blend it with the already establish sound of rock.
Original: not copied from something else, something from which a copy, reproduction, or translation is made. We all have the drive to be the first to invent. To discover or unveil a new way of doing or thinking. Originality is a characteristic that is lost in a world of conformity and repetition. The need to break free and stand out is a pushing force inside us. It is the reason there is Coors Original ®, Coca-Cola Original ®, and the slogan “tastes like the original,” is used by Diet Dr. Pepper ©. It is all marketed to our inner search for the original product. Who wants the copy when we can have the first or real thing? Other words associated with original are first, fresh, and inventive.
To be original is a concept that exists in all aspects of life. It helps us identify ourselves. Each individual has their own ideas and goal that make them unique, but sometimes that is not enough. We want our personality and views to show on the outside. To display “this is who I am” to the general public. I identify with the Beastie Boys’ trend setting style and demeanor. To boldly state, “this is what I stand for and I will back it up.”

One reason Beastie Boys have not faded away after the cliché “15 minutes of fame” is because they continually reinvent themselves. They are one band who I find it hard to label into a category. Their music has included some country, blues, jazz, hip-hop, techno, and even rapping to a flute. They use a very diverse assortment of instruments. If variety is the spice of life, then what is originality? Is it the dressing?

We have views that originality is a goal or standard by which we are judged. Even my professor states in the guidelines to “strive for original insights and an original (not obvious) thesis.” This shows originality to be a standard or a level of validity. I say when things change that, “it isn’t as good as the original.”
Rap was not known in the general public in the mid-eighties. There were plenty of rappers at the time; they just had not been able to receive the national exposure needed to be famous. The Beastie Boys provided an image constructed to appeal to white suburban kids. Using the format of rock and rap, they easily climbed the charts with their debut in 1987. After they arrived into the pop world other rap artists such as Run DMC and many others began to become very popular.
Initially the Beastie Boys stood out in a culture full of rock. They were pioneers in and helped integrate the worlds of rock and rap, and introducing rap in general to the mainstream music scene. Many have benefited from what started as a few punk kids from NYC. Much credit is due to these “boys.” They fought the “beast” and won their right to party.  

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