For decades now, people have wondered what the fuck Young MC is talking about in the final verse of his 1990 megahit “Bust A Move.” The last verse of the track details a wedding-night hook-up—you’re the best man, and a bridesmaid catches your eye, and later you meet on the dance floor to, as the song would insist, bust a move. The mystery comes in the opening bars, as Young MC specifies whose wedding it is:
Your best friend Harry, has a brother Larry
In five days from now he’s gonna marry
He’s hopin’ you can make it there if you can
Cause in the ceremony you’ll be the best man
So—it’s Larry’s wedding? And “I,” the listener of “Bust A Move,” am serving as best man to my best friend’s brother? As far back as 2004, Chuck Klosterman was puzzling over this in Spin. In 2006, we concurred, writing:
Now, why would your best friend’s brother choose you as best man over his own flesh and blood? Is Harry just going to be a run-of-the-mill usher at his brother’s wedding while you’re toasting and keeping track of the rings? Also, why would Larry inform you of his family-shaking decision a mere five days before the wedding?
Numerous blogs have devoted paragraphs to the subject, as well as several Reddit threads, all of which go along with the received wisdom that it is, in fact, Larry’s wedding, but that he is just a weird guy who chose to have his brother’s best friend serve as his best man. The surprisingly literal video does little to clarify the situation.
However, the lyrics-analysis hive-mind Genius disagrees, with this analysis currently taking the lead in fervently debated thread:
You’ve been invited to your best friend Harry’s wedding to be the best man.
Alternate interpretations: Some are under the assumption that you’ll be attending Larry’s wedding as best man, but this wouldn’t make sense as it has already been established that Harry is your best friend.
That section is still in flux in part because the subject has been raised anew on Twitter.
And while the ensuing poll (which you can still vote on) is leaning, at press time, heavily toward Larry as the groom, there are some solid countervailing theories taking shape.
It’s like Chekhov’s classic rule of writing fiction: A rhyme scheme shoddily pieced together in the ‘90s must be furiously debated online in the 2010s. While it would certainly make sense for the wedding to be Harry’s, the phrasing points toward it being Larry’s, which may just be something we have to accept as listeners—and, indeed, as hypothetical wedding attendees. Weddings, after all, are personal, and the decision-making in them is not to be questioned. Just show up and get drunk, and, if Young MC is there, bust a move.