The Beastie Boys’ Lost Chappelle’s Show Performance

We lost Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys on Friday to cancer. While this has pained fans of the man and his music, it’s been wonderful to witness the various tributes across the cultural landscape. From great writers penning great words about Yauch to Coldplay performing a hauntingly Coldplay-ish version of “Fight for Your Right” at their Friday-night Hollywood Bowl show to the entire New York Mets lineup walking out to Beastie Boys tracks in their Friday matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks, people seemed to using the tragic moment to do the right thing, over and over again.

Of all the tributes, probably the most out-of-left-field (but coolest) one took place on Sunday night, as Chappelle’s Show co-creator Neal Brennan uploaded a previously unreleased clip of the Beasties performing Licensed to Ill‘s “The New Style” alongside Dave on a boat in New York City’s East River. The video is dated December 4, 2004, and it never aired because it was part of the infamous, soon-to-be halted third season of Chappelle’s Show. Shortly after the upload, Viacom took it down from YouTube, but, thankfully, rules were made to be broken, and it’s back up on YouTube. For now.

The great thing about Chappelle’s performances is that the look on Dave’s face is always that of a little boy stunned that he’s getting to hang out with his idols-turned-friends. This is extremely true here, especially when Dave does the iconic “mmm … DROP” part of the song and all four men start bouncing up and down to the great last third of the track. Perhaps it’s too early to make this declaration, since emotions are involved, but in the long line of great Chappelle’s Show musical moments, this shoots toward the top of this list, alongside Kanye West and Common’s “The Food” (the version from the show was used on Common’s album — that’s how good it was) and the Dark Man X medley (no words).

Watch it now, before it gets taken down again. I’m serious. Right now. RIP, MCA.

Update: The video keeps getting taken down, but typing “beastie boys chappelle” into Google will keep the hunt for this gem alive.

Filed Under: Beastie Boys, Tributes

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert