My prayers go out to Adam Yauch (MCA) as he is now dealing with cancer... full details are found here
He is one of my heroes and definitely a major influence as part of the beastie boys. What I appreciated the most of MCA was the grity yet smooth and timbre of his voice.. it was nasal and grimey all day. As a band, they were always progressive and ahead of the pack, with tracks and albums FULL of ideas.. all that grounded with the true elements of Hip Hop never forgotten.. with their showmanship, DJ Mixmaster Mike, and inventing various themes of Hip Hop topics (they were one of the first to do exaggerated gun-talk). Their influence is still felt as they rode the 808 back in 85 as much as folks ar riding it today.