RIP MCA: Looking at My Gucci, It's About That Time

At my 20th high school year reunion, the Beastie Boys brought us back to our raging, hormonal innocence where we learned that it might be okay to be ourselves because the Beasties were doing it.
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I listen to New Style loudly at work four times in a row. I'm transported to Mike Littman's party in eighth grade. The Littman's were New Jersey royalty, two good-looking upperclassman brothers whose dad owned a jewelry store. It was the first high school party Christa Angeloni and I ever attended. We sprayed our bangs high in the air, put on lime green Limited sweaters backwards to show off our bra straps and black leggings to accentuate Christa's round rump and my skinny legs. We drank a four-pack of her mom's wild berry Bartles & James wine coolers for courage. As eighth graders, we hadn't been invited, but the senior boys opened the door, looked at us and didn't slam it in our faces. We learned from John Hughes' movies that this was as good as an invite. The house was large, '80s chic. We found the other underclassman in a dark bedroom with the Beastie Boys break-out album Licensed to Ill playing. We danced and got "housed" as two gyrating tenth graders sandwiched us between them. The tape played in a loop. I felt like a rebel, someone who fights for her right to party. I was still a beginner. The next day, I bought the tape and listened to it and listened to it and listened to it, learning every lyric, note, count and grunt. I learned what "dust" and "crafty" meant. It was the only tape I listened to in 8th grade.

I play "Paul Revere" loudly at work. I post both songs on Facebook and declare my heart-break. I "like" everyone's Facebook status mentioning MCA. It takes 44 minutes since there are so many. I go on itunes and learn that Licensed to Ill is only 44 minutes. Only 44 minutes and it shaped my entire youth. I post on Twitter "My name is MCA and I've got a license to kill. I think you know what time it is, it's time to get ill." I wish I could go to White Castle and get thrown out.

I remember the Gucci bangle watch with seven different color changeable bezels bought with babysitting money to boast in tenth grade History that "Looking at My Gucci, it's about that time." That line becomes of one my senior yearbook quotes. It was time, time to get out of my hometown.

At my first Beastie Boys concert in Chicago, I lost all my sorority sisters in my excitement to get to the mosh pit, inching my way toward the stage until arriving smack up in the front, right next to the 6'4" 270-pound bouncer protecting the stage. The music, the energy, the fervor of the fans and the culmination of a fantasy thrilled me. I wanted to touch King Adrock, Mike D and MCA, to be one of their "Girls, Girls, Girls." I wanted to tell them that I was a "rhyming and stealing" teenager also, smarter than the world gave credit, ready to make my own irresponsible choices. But then the crowd got harder and faster, Doc Marten's mixed in, the glee turned to fear and bruises speckled my back. The bouncer smelled terror and asked "Want to get out of here?" A faint nod and a slight whimper and he hoisted me on his shoulders, over my crush Kurt who had been three people away but unseen in the pit of moshing bodies. The bouncer pulled me on stage. For one moment, I was in their posse, years before anyone called it an entourage. I became the fourth Beastie, ready to "drink and rob and rhyme and pillage." But the bouncer kept carrying me off the stage then told me to get down. I tried to find Kurt but couldn't. It didn't matter. I was on the stage with the Beastie Boys.

I listen to "Hold it Now, Hit it" and think about the Langerado concert in the Everglades four years ago. Five of us stayed in a RV. I was kind've past that stage and only went because the Beastie Boys played. The Beastie Boys still thrashed around stage, but had grey hair. How did that happen? I wanted to reach in the Miller Cooler and grab a cool Bud.

I remember my 20th high school year reunion last year. The only songs that had everyone dancing, singing every lyric and shaking their nearly middle-aged child-bearing rumpas were the Beastie Boys. It didn't matter that the early songs were written as satires. They spoke to our generation and brought us back to our raging, hormonal innocence where we learned that it might okay to be ourselves because the Beasties were doing it.

I cry because my extended adolescence is unequivocally over. MCA and the Beasties were my adolescence. I have no excuse anymore. It's time to get married and have kids. MCA did, long ago, then became a Buddhist and helped the world. I think the story is over, but it's ready to begin. I'm almost 40. And looking at my Gucci, it's about that time.

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