“It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch, founding member of Beastie Boys and also of the Milarepa Foundation that produced the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits, and film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories, passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer,” reads an official statement from the Beastie Boys. “He was 47 years old.”

Licensed to Ill was the first cassette I got for myself, the first music of my own that my parents didn’t already know about and didn’t want to know about. That and Paul’s Boutique were omnipresent in my soundtrack to high school life. I don’t care for hip-hop as a rule, but I’ve always had much love for the Beasties.