Adam Yauch: The Videos of Nathaniel Hornblower - Rolling Stone
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Adam Yauch: The Videos of Nathaniel Hornblower

The Beastie Boys rapper was a secret video auteur

Adam “MCA” Yauch was essential in developing the Beastie Boys’ unique style in music videos. The rapper was always heavily involved in that aspect of the trio’s career, and he directed many of their classic videos himself under the pseudonym Nathaniel Hornblower. Yauch’s videos were always funny, colorful and ambitious.

His final clip for the band, a long form video built around their 2011 single “Make Some Noise,” featured a small army of comedians and actors, including Will Ferrell, Seth Rogen, Elijah Wood, Jason Schwartzman, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Zach Galifianakis, Jack Black and John C. Reilly. Yauch also made the most of his Hornblower alter ego, famously turning up in character on the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards.

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‘Shadrach’ (1989)

Yauch's clip for this Paul's Boutique hit was painted by hand, frame by frame, and was included in the 22nd International Tournee of Animation.

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‘So What’cha Want’ (1992)

Yauch's clip for this 1992 hit features a riff on the werewolf point-of-view shots from the 1981 horror movie Wolfen and infrared shots calling back to the 1987 film Predator.

Nathaniel Hornblower at the MTV Video Music Awards (1994)

Yauch, in costume as Hornblower, stormed the stage in mock outrage when Spike Jonze’s video for the Beasties’ “Sabotage” lost to R.E.M.’s clip for “Everybody Hurts” at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards.

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‘Intergalactic’ (1998)

Yauch paid homage to Japanese giant robot and monster movies in "Intergalactic," plus threw in a few subtle nods to H.P. Lovecraft's Chthulu mythology.

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‘Fight for Your Right (Revisited)’ (2011)

Yauch's final video is his most ambitious, a 30-minute short film featuring a small army of comedy stars and centering on a conflict between the classic Beasties (as portrayed by Seth Rogen, Danny McBride and Elijah Wood) and their time-traveling future selves (as played by Will Ferrell, Jack Black and John C. Reilly).

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