Bust A Move

Album: Stone Cold Rhymin' (1989)
Charted: 73 7

Songfacts®:

  • We can thank Young MC for popularizing the phrase "Bust A Move," which means to take action of some kind. The song follows a guy who seems hapless with women, but somehow keeps getting lucky. In the first first, he busts a move by dancing with a girl who shows interest. Later, he considers becoming a monk but meets a girl in a movie theater. At the end of the song, he's the best man at a wedding, and when a bridesmaid shows interest, he gets to bust a different kind of move when she wants to "dance to a different groove." It's all good fun, and it helped make rap music acceptable for a much wider audience.
  • Flea from The Red hot Chili Peppers played bass on this song and appeared in the video, but he didn't reap the rewards. He explained to Bass Player magazine: "I have a bitter taste in my mouth about that, because I feel as though I got ripped off. The bass line I wrote ended up being a major melody of the tune, and I felt I deserved songwriting credit and money because it was a #1 hit. They sold millions of records, and I got $200! Afterwards, my lawyer told them, 'You should throw down Flea some cash,' but the record company said, 'We told him exactly what to play.' No one was even in the room at the time but me and the engineer! It was ridiculous, but I learned from it."
  • Young MC's real name is Marvin Young. He wrote this and also composed Tone Loc's hits "Wild Thing" and "Funky Cold Medina."
  • This was Young MC's only big hit, although he did have another US Top 40 with "Principal's Office." He was one of the first to write catchy, fun rap songs that crossed over to the world of Pop. Young MC recalled to Rolling Stone: "People looked at rap and hard rock as the type of music that you slam your door after you argue with your parents, and bang your head in defiance. My record wasn't necessarily rebellious, but it was clever enough to grab in a decent segment of people that didn't listen to rap music."
  • This won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance. It was only the second year the category existed, and the next year it was eliminated to recognize Rap Solo and Rap Duo Or Group performances. The previous years' winner was DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince for "Parents Just Don't Understand."
  • The main sample in this song is a loop from a song called "Found A Child" by a Seattle funk group called Ballin' Jack. Their song came out in 1970, and it's amazing that it took 19 years for a rapper to boost it - the 15 seconds of bass, drums and vocal stabs on the song makes a perfect foundation for a rap hit in an era when sampling was widespread.
  • Young MC performs this in the film Up In The Air, where George Clooney plays a guy who is constantly traveling. Clooney crashes a convention at the hotel where he's staying, and Young MC is the performer. These private functions are lucrative gigs for artists who have fallen out of the spotlight (and for some still in it), but they are rarely portrayed in movies.
  • A bunch of commercials have featured this song. Among them, a 2013 spot for Payday candy bars, an Old Navy commercial that same year ("Bust in to Old Navy's huge gift sale...") and a 2014 commercial for Southwest Airlines that shows a woman dancing to the song at a wedding.
  • In the 2016 episode of The Big Bang Theory, "The Positive Negative Reaction," the characters Raj and Leonard sing this in karaoke. A tipsy Sheldon proclaims, "I'm being musically encouraged to bust a move. If I knew what that meant, I might just do it."

Comments: 5

  • Crass from Benjamin, TxFlea's comment quoted above came from the fact that he composed the music (at least the bass line around which the song was built), but because only a recording engineer was present at the time he did it, he wasn't recognized as a composer and thus lost out on his rightful portion of the song's earnings.
  • Emma from Adelaide, Australiaglee covered this song and it was really good!
  • Joel from Lawrenceville, NjThis was also used in an episode of Scrubs.
  • Brandon from Saskatoon, CanadaThis song is on "Dude, Where's My Car?" I love the scene where it's at, see the movie if you get the chance, it's the best friggin' movie ever.
  • Zach from Corpus Christi, TxLol i never really understood this song but it was funny to me :P
see more comments

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