Young MC comes to A.C. as a guest presenter at the Nightlife Awards party and for a rare East Coast show the night after — both at Boogie Nights.
Among the special guest presenters at this year’s Atlantic City Weekly Readers’ Choice Nightlife Awards, at Boogie Nights at Tropicana, Thursday night, Jan. 24, will be a man who had a monster hit in the late 1980s/early ’90s with “Bust a Move,” and helped write a couple of other huge hits around that time for Tone Loc (“Wild Thing,” “Funky Cold Medina”) — all when he was still heading toward graduation at USC as an economics major. That’s where he met the co-founders of the record label Delicious Vinyl, which would release his debut album, Stone Cold Rhymin’ in 1989.
His name is Marvin Young, but you may know him as Young MC.
Young, now 45 (“I do look young though. I am still single and no kids, that might have something to do with it”) took some time to talk to AC Weekly from his home in Arizona where he has lived for six years. He recalls his teenage years growing up in Queens, graduating from USC when “Bust a Move” was about to blow up and his historic album, Stone Cold Rhymin’, which he wrote for the most part in his dorm room. Young MC will also be performing at Boogie Nights the night after the Nightlife Awards, on Friday, Jan. 25, at midnight (doors open at 10pm).
I noticed in your bio that you were born in London. Why did your family move to Queens?
The promise of America. We were up in Harlem for one year and then we got a house in Queens and I spent my whole childhood there. You know it’s a great place to grow up.
Do have a memory of seeing a young Run DMC or any early Queens rappers?
Yeah, I would see [the late Jam Master] Jay around and he would get his hair cut at the barber shop down the street from my house. And Davy DMX, if you remember in [Run DMC’s] “Sucker M.C.’s” when they said “Dave cut the record down to the bone,” that’s Davy DMX. I had my first shot at the music business with Davy DMX when I was 15 but I ran my mouth too much and lost my shot.
And any other memories of growing up in Queens that kind of propelled you and put you in the direction of writing music?
Well, the thing is a lot of the kids were doing graffiti, some kids were getting into illegal stuff and I liked the individuality of the music. I was always the youngest kid around. I wasn’t even into girls yet as much as some of my friends were. But I felt that being able to express myself with rap was a fun thing to do and I just liked it. You know I was able to grow with it.
So you started writing when you were pretty young?
Yeah, I started writing at 10 or 11.
When did you start writing for Tone Loc?
I guess with “Funky Cold Medina” I would have written it in ’87 or ’88, right around there, and I was still in college. I didn’t graduate until around ’89. “Bust a Move” came out the week of finals my senior year. I had that summer to decide whether I wanted to get a real job or whatever and then I took off.