“I think it’s obvious to anyone how big an influence the Beastie Boys were on me and so many others,” said Eminem. “They are trailblazers and pioneers and Adam will be sorely missed.”
The Brooklyn-born Yauch formed the Beastie Boys with high school friend Michael “Mike D” Diamond. Originally conceived as a hard-core punk group, they played their first show on Yauch’s 17th birthday.
The group became a hip-hop trio soon after Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz joined and coalesced after Yauch dropped out of Bard College. They released their chart-topping debut “Licensed to Ill” in 1986, a raucous album led by the anthem “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)”.
“Adam was incredibly sweet and the most sensitive artist, who I loved dearly,” Russell Simmons, whose Def Jam label released “Licensed to Ill,” said on his website.
In the seven studio albums that followed, the Beastie Boys expanded sonically and grew more musically ambitious.
Their follow-up, 1989’s “Paul’s Boutique,” ended any suggestion that the group was a one-hit wonder. Extensive in its sampling and thoroughly layered, the album was ranked the 156th greatest album ever by Rolling Stone magazine in 2003.
For many, the Beastie Boys’ lyrics — overflowing torrents of wit, humor and rhyme — were always the main draw. While other forms of hip-hop celebrated individualism, the Beastie Boys were a verbal tag team. Yauch once rapped, “on the tough guy style I’m not too keen.”
Yauch is survived by his wife, Dechen Wangdu, and his daughter, Tenzin Losel Yauch.