The Beastie Boys started off as a hardcore punk group, but soon began experimenting with hip-hop. They had their first American tour opening for another rising star, Madonna. They were mostly panned by fans of the pop diva, but the tour earned them enough to market their first hip hop release to better distribution and media outlets, which proved key in their rise.
The band broke huge with their first proper album, Licensed to Ill, in 1986; it was the biggest-selling rap album of the decade and the first to reach Number One on the Billboard chart.
The Beastie Boys released the seminal album on the infamous Def Jam label, run by hip hop promoter and magnate Russell Simmons. Today, Simmons released a statement on his Twitter account, Adam was incredibly sweet and (the) most sensitive artist who I loved dearly and was always inspired by his work. He will be missed by all of us.
Fortunately, Yauch was able to witness (from a treatment facility) the Beastie’s induction into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame late last year, before his condition took a turn for the worse.
Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen and daughter Tenzin Losel.