The Beastie Boys say they can't find work because of MCA's death ... and they're so strapped for cash they can't even fight in court without someone covering the bill.
Here's the dilemma ... The Boys have beef with Monster Energy, which jacked some of their songs for an ad campaign. The guys actually won their case and scored a $1.7 million judgment. But a lot of that was eaten away by their lawyers, and they want Monster to foot that bill.
The surviving members say -- since Adam "MCA" Yauchdied from cancerin 2012 -- no one wants them anymore so every dollar counts. And they're on the hook to their lawyers for a whopping $2.4 MILLION in lawyers' fees.
A judge hasn't decided yet, but typically the side that wins in cases like this gets at least some of their lawyers' fees back.
In what may be the worst-timed lawsuit EVER ... a record label has accused the Beastie Boys of stealing its artist's music on 2 of their biggest albums ... and it filed the suit just hours before MCA passed away.
The case is actually pretty interesting ... TufAmerica claims MCA, Mike D and Ad-Rock ripped off the '80s band Trouble Funk ... and illegally sampled their music on multiple songs featured on the albums "Licensed to Ill" and "Paul's Boutique."
In the lawsuit, filed in federal court in NY on May 3, TufAmerica claims the Beastie's sampled a famous drum beat from the Trouble Funk hit "Drop the Bomb" on the 1986 hit "The New Style."
TufAmerica also claims the Beatie's stole riffs from the song on "Car Thief" and "Hold It Now Hit It" ... and also ripped off the Trouble Funk track "Say What" on the song "Shadrack."
So why sue now? TufAmerica claims the Beasties have been re-releasing and distributing the tracks ... and are not paying for the rights to sample Trouble Funk.
In fact, TufAmerica claims it has "never received royalties or payment" for any of the songs ... ever.
So far, no comment from the Beastie Boys ... probably because they have more important matters to tend to at the moment.
11:30 AM PT -- MCA's publicist just released a statement, writing, "It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam 'MCA' Yauch ... passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer. He was 47 years old."
1:00 PM PT -- A rep for the Dalai Lama -- of whom MCA was a huge supporter -- tells TMZ, "Adam had helped us raise awareness on the plight of the Tibetan people by organizing various freedom Tibet concerts and he will be remembered by his holiness and the Tibetan people."
Adam met several times with the Dalai Lama while he was sick -- most recently last July, when the Dalai Lama blessed him.
"Beastie Boys" rapper MCA -- real name Adam Yauch -- has died.
In 2009, MCA announced he was being treated for a cancerous parotid gland and a lymph node (below). He has since undergone surgery and radiation therapy.
Russell Simmons' website GlobalGrind.com first reported the death. We have spoken to people independently connected to the rapper who also say he is dead.
MCA co-founded Beastie Boys in 1979 with Mike D, and Ad Rock ... and went on to churn out some of the most iconic albums in hip-hop ... including License to Ill, Paul's Boutique, Check Your Head and Ill Communication.
The group has won multiple Grammys and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year.
The Beastie Boys haven't performed live since summer 2009 -- and during one of their last ever performances at Bonnaroo that June, MCA appeared noticeably less energetic than his group mates.
MCA recently became a vegan at the recommendation of his Tibetan doctors.
The Beastie Boys' most recent music video was released last year for the song "Make Some Noise" -- and it stars a laundry list of A-listers, including Rashida Jones, Will Arnett, Rainn Wilson, Amy Poehler, Steve Buscemi, Kirsten Dunst, Zach Galifianakis, Orlando Bloom, Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, and Jack Black.
Yauch is survived by his wife and daughter. He was 47.