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Mike Kearney, founder of MCA DAY: The HipHopGods Interview

Mike Kearney, founder of MCA DAY: The HipHopGods Interview

The sixth and final MCA DAY goes down on Saturday (August 5). Established by Boston native Mike Kearney, the event is held in honor of late Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch, who passed away in 2012 from cancer. 


This year’s event features special guests like DJ/producer Prince Paul of De La Soul/Handsome Boy Modeling School/BROOKZILL! fame, and original Def Jam Recordings creative director/artist Cey Adams. Held at the Littlefield venue in Brooklyn, New York, MCA’s life is celebrated with art, music, food and family-friendly fun. 


Kearney opened up about his initial interest in setting up the annual event and explains why it’s time to put it to rest. Find more information on the event here:


HipHopGods: What did the Beastie Boys mean to you? 


Mike Kearney: I feel like I'm of a certain age range where Beastie Boys albums perfectly coincided with where I was in my life. Licensed To Ill dropped when I was a young, crazy kid just having fun. Check Your Head dropped when I was skateboarding and really exploring and creating my identity. Like many, I reached back to the magic of Paul's Boutique to let loose and expand that sense of self. Ill Communication was when the Boys had really refined their sound, and also when Yauch began spotlighting issues in the world and called on fans to use self to help others. Hello Nasty was a celebration and showcasing of that self-actualization of where they came from, who they were, and what they were capable of in the world. To The 5 Boroughs felt like a call to action, and Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 felt like a progression of Hello Nasty, a total jubilee and expose of confidence, potential, and self-awareness. All of these albums pushed along a journey into the world and self, it just so happened that these messages were carried by the best music, dopest beats, illest samples, and directives to have fun, learn and laugh along the way, and to use our time here wisely.


What did they represent? 


Beastie Boys represent the soundtrack to my life, my cooler older brothers from the city, architects towards self-awareness and self actualization, mentors for how to engage this world and realize potential, and constant reminders to have fun while navigating both the absurdities and awesomeness of life while we're here.


What made you want to start this event (aside from MCA’s untimely passing)?


I'm not sure if it's an East Coast thing, a Boston thing, or a Beastie thing, but we're movers and shakers. We don't sit around and wait for answers or directions, we jump into action and make things happen. I was shocked and stunned and leveled by the news of Yauch's passing, but shortly after was moved to action. I knew I had to do something physical to show my gratitude and appreciation to this man who did so much for me in my personal life, I just had no idea that it would grow to this size and scope. MCA DAY started as an open call to get some people together to listen to his music from a boom box around a table with some easels. My knee-jerk reaction to create a space for likeminded people to gather, the community and movement that it's transformed into today is a true testament to the action that Beastie Boys music has inspired in myself and their global army of fans. We're creative, concerned, caring, confident, and crazy enough to make shit happen. When others hesitate, we manifest and move.


Why won’t it be continuing?


What some people don't realize, is that I'm a school therapist in Boston, not my second, unplanned stint as an event planner that I've undertaken the past five years. There's a lot of blood, sweat, and tears from a very small group of people that goes into putting this event on. I'd be open to boiling it down to it's original conception, but the art gallery, speakers, performers, posters, and all of the bells and whistles, I need to walk away from that. I haven't met anybody yet I would quite entrust with "my baby,” but we'll see what the future holds. Maybe we'll do a 10 year anniversary MCA DAY. Who knows? These events have popped up in other cities [Chicago, LA, Denver, Austin, Dublin, San Paolo]. I'm going to the Chicago one on August 12th. It would be nice to visit some of the other MCA DAY events to see in person how other people are throwing down for MCA. The timing feels right, at least for now, to let this go and have some faith that others might step up, and that people know how to represent Yauch and the Beastie Boys' messages and values in their everyday lives by using self to help others.

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