HipHop Pioneer Young MC aka Marvin Young
Bio: In 1977, at the age of 10, Marvin Young witnessed the technique of live rapping for the first time in his friend Jeff Taylor’s basement.
At a young age, Young MC couldn't remember all of his rhymes, so he read them, carrying them around in a plastic bag. One night a shootout broke out at a block party and he had to run off without his bag. Despite getting it back the next day, that incident taught Young MC the lesson of memorizing his rhymes for performance. He still has his childhood habit today, reading his rhymes in the studio for all his recordings, even if he does have them memorized beforehand. Young MC’s early musical influences included Chic, KC and The Sunshine Band, Parliament-Funkadelic, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Marley, The Eagles and Kool & The Gang.
In September 1987, during his 3rd year at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Young MC was put in touch with Mike Ross, one of the owners of Delicious Vinyl. Young MC rapped over the phone for Mike Ross and Matt Dike, with lyrics that would later be included in his songs “I Let ‘Em Know” and “My Name Is Young”. One week later, the founders of Delicious Vinyl delivered a recording contract to Young MC’s dorm room on the USC campus.
While completing his last 2 years at USC, Young MC helped write "Wild Thing" and "Funky Cold Medina" for Tone Loc. The first radio station to play Wild Thing was KROQ-FM, better known for its specialty of cutting-edge alternative rock. “Wild Thing” achieved multi-platinum status in 1988, with sales totaling nearly 4 million copies. “Funky Cold Medina” achieved multi-platinum status in 1989, selling well over 2 million copies.
During the same period, Young MC began recording with Delicious Vinyl. Having no car yet, Young was driven from the USC campus to his sessions by Orlando Aguillen, the head of promotion at Delicious Vinyl. The studio was located in Matt Dike’s apartment, a modest walk-up over Santa Monica Blvd. with a 16-track mixing board in the living room and the vocal booth in the closet, complete with an old mattress used for soundproofing.
Young MC established himself as an artist, first releasing "I Let 'Em Know", "The Fastest Rhyme", and "My Name Is Young" in the spring of 1988 on a blue-label 12-inch vinyl. All 3 tracks were played in heavy rotation on KDAY in Los Angeles.
In the fall of 1988, Young MC released “Know How” on Delicious Vinyl/Island Records which was his first release with major distribution. From the fall of ’88 to the spring of ’89, Young MC recorded the rest of his debut album "Stone Cold Rhymin'" while completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from USC. “Bust A Move” was the last song recorded for his album, a direct reaction to Tone Loc’s success with two up-tempo dance/rap tracks. The music video for "Bust A Move" was released within a week of his graduation from USC.
The lyrics to “Bust A Move” were written by Young MC in 90 minutes in his campus apartment at USC. The lyrics were never edited; he recorded his first draft to the track. The bass line featured in "Bust a Move" was played by Flea, the bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The female vocals in “Bust A Move” were sung by Stevie Wonder's studio background vocalist Crystal Blake, not Diana Ross as was rumored at the time.
“Stone Cold Rhymin’” was released in May 1989, and Young MC went on tour to promote his debut album. He made a deal with his parents that if his music career did not succeed that summer, that he would attend graduate school in the fall of 1989. Both “Bust A Move” the single, and “Stone Cold Rhymin’” the album would achieve multi-platinum status before the end of 1990.
Contrary to popular belief, “Bust A Move” only managed to reach No. 7 on the pre-Nielsen SoundScan Billboard Pop charts, but it remained on those charts for 40 weeks. It outlasted Young MC’s 2nd single “Principal's Office” (Billboard Pop No. 33) which was nearly a gold single in its own right, as well as his 3rd release “I Come Off” (Billboard Pop No. 75).
In early 1990, Young MC won the American Music Award for Best Rap Artist. He also won the Billboard Music Award for the Best New Pop Artist, the first time that award had been given to a Rap Artist. In February 1990, Young MC won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance. His win was the first time that the Rap Grammy presentation was televised.
Also in 1990, Young MC was chosen to be the spokesman for Pepsi’s “Cool Cans” media advertising campaign. Young MC filmed a television commercial and recorded two radio commercials for Pepsi using his own original music and lyrics. The television commercial was shown in 95% of Pepsi bottlers markets in the U.S.. The campaign proved to be so successful, Pepsi renegotiated Young MC’s original contract to include him in a similar campaign for Taco Bell.
Young MC’s next two releases, “Brainstorm” and “What’s The Flavor” were released in the early 1990s on Capitol Records. “Brainstorm” shipped gold, and featured the single “That’s The Way Love Goes” (Billboard Pop No. 54). “What’s The Flavor” contained tracks produced by Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest.
“Return Of The One Hit Wonder” was released in 1997 and featured the dance party track “On And Poppin’”. The re-recorded version of “On And Poppin’” was prominently featured in an episode of the NBC comedy “Scrubs” in 2006.
Also in 1997, Young MC was hired to compose and perform all of the original music for “The Sports Illustrated For Kids Show.” Young MC created the television show’s theme song, as well as creating individual themes for each episode’s featured athlete. Young MC composed and performed the original music for 2 full seasons of “The Sports Illustrated For Kids Show” before production ended in 1998. Even today, many episodes are re-broadcast for kids worldwide.
In 2000, Young MC released the album “Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That.” Both the album and the title track entered the Billboard hip-hop chart, and Young MC began to tour extensively throughout the country. Young MC signed on with Bobby Bessone and Entertainment Artists Agency. Also, in 2007, the song “Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That” was featured in an episode of the ABC Comedy “Ugly Betty.”
At the same time in 2000 that Young MC the artist released his album, Marvin Young the songwriter, along with writing partner Will Wheaton, wrote Anastacia's "Not That Kind", which was a smash hit on several continents, and the title track to her debut album which has sold nearly 10 million copies to date.
In 2002, Young MC appeared as a contestant on “Weakest Link—Rap Stars Edition.” He was joined by Run of Run-D.M.C., DJ Quik, Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat, B-Real of Cypress Hill, Xzibit, and Nate Dogg. Young MC went on to win the celebrity contest, outlasting Xzibit in the finals. All of the proceeds from his winning performance were donated to the Humane Society.
Also in 2002, Young MC released “Engage The Enzyme”. In October 2002, the single “Heatseeker” reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles Sales Chart. A few weeks after that, “Heatseeker” reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Sales Chart, only being outsold by Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This.”
“Stress Test” was another hit track from “Engage The Enzyme.” A video was shot in Vancouver by up-and-coming Canadian director Shawn Angelski. The single and video were enough to secure a single deal for “Stress Test” with Orbit/Virgin Records in Germany. Remixes were made, and “Stress Test” performed well on the charts in Germany and other foreign territories. Also, the original version of “Stress Test” has been featured recently in two major motion picture trailers. It was featured in the film “Four Brothers” in 2005 and the film Crossover in 2006.
“Feel The Love”, the third track from Engage the Enzyme, was featured in the Fox Broadcasting Company series “Wonderfalls” in 2004, and it was also featured in the hit HBO series Entourage in 2006. The single “Crucial” describes Young MC’s personal reaction to 9/11. Young MC has never performed “Crucial” on stage in the years since “Engage The Enzyme” was released.
Canadian film director Raphael Assaf and screenwriter Armen Evrensel asked Young MC to help create a film project that would eventually be titled “The Zero Sum.” Young MC traveled to Vancouver for shooting in December 2004. As an actor in “The Zero Sum”, Marvin Young played Mr. Henderson, a no-nonsense publishing company executive. Mr. Henderson’s firm had the task of reviewing the manuscript of the film’s hero Leonard, played by “Trainspotting” star Ewen Bremner. Marvin Young also Co-Executive Produced “The Zero Sum”. Young MC also teamed up with Baltimore rapper KNOXX to create “Brotherly Love”, the theme song to “The Zero Sum”.
Upon its Canadian release in 2005, “The Zero Sum” received critical acclaim throughout the country. In 2006, actress Sarah Strange won the Leo Award for Best Lead Performance by a Female in a Feature Length Drama. That same year, “The Zero Sum” won the Toronto Reel World Film Festival Award for Outstanding Feature Film. In 2007, “The Zero Sum” won the Canadian Filmmakers' Festival Award for Best Feature Film.
Back in the U.S., Young MC focused on producing KNOXX, featured on “The Zero Sum” theme “Brotherly Love.” KNOXX already had a strong underground following in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, and when he relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, he entered the 1998 Blaze Magazine Freestyle Battle and triumphed as the people’s choice with the greatest crowd response.
Young MC met KNOXX in Los Angeles in 2004. The two began work on the album “Vigilante” which was completed in early 2006. The standout tracks included “Available”, “Go Get ‘Em”, “Ova Now” and the title track “Vigilante.”
In September 2005, Young MC was cast in the VH1 reality show “Celebrity Fit Club 3.” The show aired in January 2006. Joining Young MC was Kelly LeBrock, Bruce Vilanch, Tempestt Bledsoe, Countess Vaughn, Chastity Bono, Jeff Conaway, Gunnar Nelson, and Rapper Bizarre of D12. By season’s end, Young MC had lost the most weight of anyone in the cast, shedding 39 pounds in 14 weeks. Even several years later, “Celebrity Fit Club 3” remains as one of the highest rated shows in the 30 year history of VH1.
Young MC also made an appearance in a special episode of “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” which featured “The Top 50 Sports Moments Of The 80’s.” Young MC crafted lyrics and performed a sports-themed rap song alongside hip-hop legends KRS-One and Kool Moe Dee.
After 20 years of living in Los Angeles, Young MC relocated to Scottsdale, AZ in 2006. He spent 2007 creating the album “Adrenaline Flow” which was released in 2008.
Immediately following “Adrenaline Flow”, Young MC released an online-only album, “B-Sides, Demos and Remixes.” Young MC compiled some of his unreleased tracks, remixed tracks, and re-recorded tracks to create this album.
The new version of “Rollin’” was used in the Burger King national advertising campaign “Open ‘Til Late” in 2004-2005. “Rollin’” was also featured in the NBC television series “Knight Rider” in October 2008. “Get Your Boogie On” was featured in the trailer for the animated feature film “Barnyard” in 2006, as well as multiple video game uses. The re-recorded version of “On And Poppin’” was featured in an episode of the NBC comedy series “Scrubs” in 2006.
In 2009 Young MC released his 8th album, “Relentless”. Later that year, Young MC also landed a cameo role in the breakout Jason Reitman film “Up In The Air” starring George Clooney. Young MC played himself, performing at a software convention which was crashed by Clooney’s character and his two female co-stars Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga.
“Bust A Move” was also prominently featured in the film “The Blind Side” and in the television show “Glee” in October 2009. It has also been featured in major motion pictures such as “You, Me and Dupree”, “Dude, Where's My Car?”, “Can't Hardly Wait”, “17 Again”, and “The Replacements” among others. “Bust A Move” has been featured in network television series such as “My Name Is Earl”, “Spin City”, “One Tree Hill”, “King Of The Hill”, “Futurama”, “Family Matters” and “Yes Dear”. “Bust A Move” also been featured on “The Tonight Show”, “Saturday Night Live”, “Regis and Kathie Lee” as well as on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and has been in some musical video games such as "Dance Central," "Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 2" and "DJ Hero".
check out this hot clip of Young MC and DJ Tony G reppin' on Arsenial Hall