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Young MC still bustin' a move after all these years

The rap icon comes to Tacoma this weekend for the T-Town Rocks Music Festival. #k5evening

He busted into stardom with 1989’s “Bust a Move,” and helped his friend, Tone Lōc, conquer the charts, too, by co-writing “Wild Thing” and “Funky Cold Medina,” Tone Lōc’s most popular songs.

Marvin Young, better known as Young MC, started writing down his rhymes as a child, carrying them around in a paper bag.

“You just wanted to rhyme about anything and you’re building your skills, you’re building your craft,” Young said.

One of his biggest influences was “KC and the Sunshine Band,” who scored several top hits in the ‘70s and ’80s with their disco-kissed, funky sound.

“I think people would be surprised by that,” he said.

They might be even more surprised to learn that Young MC got signed to a recording contract while he was still a student at USC.

“Yeah, I wrote pretty much all the big hits while I was still in college, pretty much after homework, in the evenings.”

A talent scout from an upcoming record label, Delicious Vinyl, heard he was pretty good, so they auditioned him over the phone.

“I get back to my dorm room, get on the phone, and say three verses for them. Within a week I have a contract.”

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When the Grammy-winning “Bust a Move” cracked the top ten, Young was almost too busy touring to notice how famous he’d become.

“We didn’t have the internet. Cell phones were bigger than my laptop. So I never really had a chance to get the whole big attitude, the whole big head about, 'Oh man, my record’s so big, it’s so great,'” he said.

But the demands of life on the road in service of a blockbuster hit record, appearances on MTV, and radio station visits soon dominated every other concern.

He has no idea how his laundry got done.

“I don’t remember handing somebody a bag of underwear and getting back a bag of clean underwear.”

He’s never stopped touring and still enjoys hanging with Tone Lōc and other rap royalty.

“We have been rocking it all over this country,” he said. “I’ve made new friends and strengthened some older relationships. I think when you’re a little more mature and the record isn’t on the charts with all the pressure, just enjoy it.”

But Young MC says he wouldn’t trade that early rise to stardom — those days when he couldn’t keep track of his own laundry — for anything.

“I’ve never gone ‘bareback’ so I know that I had underwear at the time. But I don’t remember how it was washed.”

A great way to end our interview, right?

“Oh, yeah, wonderful. That’s the last thing I want people to know about me.”

Young MC will be performing at the T-Town Rocks Music Festival this Friday at the Waterfront Venue at Narrows Marina, Tacoma, along with DJ Jazzy Jeff, Tone Lōc, Wanz & Kid Sensation, Aaron Crawford, Cromwell, and comedian Josh Pray. The show starts promptly at 4 p.m. Proceeds benefit local charities.

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