Friday, May 04, 2012

R.I.P., MCA.

Like it or not, Adam Yauch – as director Nathaniel Hörnblowér – made fisheye lenses cool. At least in my eyes, anyway.

I first saw "Shake Your Rump" on Much's Soul In the City, preceded by Kool Moe Dee's "I Go To Work" (so the two are forever linked in my mind). I taped that episode and watched "Shake Your Rump" over and over again. I did the same once I copped the Skills to Pay the Bills home video. Not only was the song dope – a killer set of drum breaks, punctuated by a funky guitar lick and a synth hook, wrapping their rhymes in a blanket of badass – but the slinky rooftop performance, captured by three cameras, captivated me. Through fisheye lenses, they looked a little otherworldly and warped just right. Combined with the sounds, they also became something other than those "Fight For Your Right to Party" guys. They just looked so fucking cool.

Sandwiched between the rooftop shit was the random video footage: the naked girl dancing, the Schlepper's moving van, the kitten on a turntable, and more. You can bet I looked at those parts in slo-mo, trying to make sense of it all. I really think that was the beginning of their mystique, coupled with the scattershot pop culture references. It added layers to the puddles of beer and juvenile delinquent behavior.

So yeah, that video is fucking magic to me. Before that joint, I found the Beasties amusing, but nothing special. I bought Paul's Boutique before I copped Licensed to Ill. Hell, I think I bought Check Your Head before I bought their debut (when I finally purchased it, it was a used copy on vinyl from Pyramid Records on Portage. There were no liner notes).

My hat's off to you, Mr. Yauch. A deft hand on the mic, and the creator of a truly arresting visual. Rest in peace.

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