Song of the Day: U Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer

Lets dance folks!

U Can’t Touch This” is a hit single written, produced and performed by MC Hammer from his 1990 album, Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em. The track became Hammer’s signature song and is perhaps one of his most recognizable records. In addition, it’s considered to be one of his most popular/successful singles to date. Along with Hammer, Rick James shared songwriting credits with Alonzo Miller, because the song samples the prominent opening riff of “Super Freak”. The single has been used or referenced in multiple television shows, films, commercials and other forms of media. It has also received numerous awards and recognitions. The song lyrics (in particular “You can’t touch this” and “Stop, Hammer time!”) became pop culture catchphrases.


You can’t touch this [x5]

My, my, my music hits me so hard
Makes me say “Oh my Lord”
Thank you for blessing me
With a mind to rhyme and two hype feet
It feels good, when you know you’re down
A super dope homeboy from the Oaktown
And I’m known as such
And this is a beat, uh, you can’t touch

I told you homeboy (You can’t touch this)
Yeah, that’s how we living and you know (You can’t touch this)
Look at my eyes, man (You can’t touch this)
Yo, let me bust the funky lyrics (You can’t touch this)

Fresh new kicks, advance
You gotta like that, now you know you wanna dance
So move, outta your seat
And get a fly girl and catch this beat
While it’s rolling, hold on
Pump a little bit and let ’em know it’s going on
Like that, like that
Cold on a mission so fall them back
Let ’em know, that you’re too much
And this is a beat, uh, you can’t touch

Yo, I told you (You can’t touch this)
Why you standing there, man? (You can’t touch this)
Yo, sound the bell, school is in, sucka (You can’t touch this)

Give me a song, or rhythm
Make ’em sweat, that’s what I’m giving ’em
Now, they know
You talking about the Hammer you talking about a show
That’s hype, and tight
Singers are sweating so pass them a wipe
Or a tape, to learn
What’s it gonna take in the 90’s to burn
The charts? Legit
Either work hard or you might as well quit

That’s word because you know…

You can’t touch this [x3]

Break it down! (Music breaks down) Stop, Hammer time!

Go with the funk, it is said
That if you can’t groove to this then you probably are dead
So wave your hands in the air
Bust a few moves, fun your fingers through your hair
This is it, for a winner
Dance to this and you’re gonna get thinner
Move, slide your rump
Just for a minute let’s all do the bump, bump, bump

Yeah… (You can’t touch this)
Look, man (You can’t touch this)
You better get hype, boy, because you know (You can’t touch this)
Ring the bell, school’s back in (You can’t touch this)

Break it down! (Crazy bridge) Stop, Hammer time!

You can’t touch this [x4]

Break it down! (Nice pants, Hammer) Stop, Hammer time!

Every time you see me
The Hammer’s just so hype
I’m dope on the floor and I’m magic on the mic
Now why would I ever stop doing this?
With others making records that just don’t hit
I’ve toured around the world, from London to the Bay
It’s “Hammer, go Hammer, MC Hammer, yo Hammer”
And the rest can go and play

You can’t touch this [x8]

The song received its debut during a live performance on a late 1989 episode of The Arsenio Hall Show.

The lyrics describe the rapper as having “toured around the world, from London to the Bay” and as being “magic on the mic”, which Hammer says coincides with Rick James’ “beat that you can’t touch”. Additionally, the song lyrics (in particular “You can’t touch this” and “Stop, Hammer time!”) became pop culturecatchphrases, making obvious and subtle references on television, film and radio. The lyrics, Hammertime, later became the title of a reality show featuring MC Hammer on the A&E Network (in the summer of 2009). It’s also one of Hammer’s nicknames.

After the song was released, Rick James sued Hammer for infringement of copyright since the song samples the prominent opening riff of “Super Freak”, which is repeated throughout the recording. The suit was settled out of court when Hammer agreed to credit James as co-composer, effectively cutting James in on the millions of dollars the record was earning.

In April 1990 “U Can’t Touch This” hit the Top 40. The song also secured a Best R&B Song and a Best Rap Solo Performance in 1991, a new category at the time. The single was a major success, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track also performed successfully in other parts of the world, peaking at #1 in Australia, Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden, and #3 on the UK singles chart.

Directed by Rupert Wainwright, a music video was produced to promote the single, showing Hammer doing some of his signature dances, such as “The Running Man” and “Hammer Dance”. In September 1990, the video for “U Can’t Touch This” won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Rap Video and Best Dance Video and was nominated for Best Male Video, Best Editing, and Best Choreography.

Usage in media, cover versions and popular culture

The song and lyrics, or derivatives thereof, have been used in numerous movies, shows, commercials and video games including: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990), Hot Shots! (1990), In Living Color (1990),The Super (1991), Doogie Howser, M.D. (1992), Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996), Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003), Sione’s Wedding (2006), Borat(2006), Into the Wild (2007), Tropic Thunder (2008), Dancing with the Stars (2009) and the 2009 video game Just Dance, among many others.

Before the 1990 NFL season started, the Miami Dolphins parodied the song as “U Can’t Touch Us”. Early in their career, Boston-based grindcore band Anal Cunt often included a novelty song cover of “U Can’t Touch This” in their live set. Their compilation album, The Early Years: 1988-1991 features a recording of them performing this song in 1991. The lyrics “Like a Hammer before me, you can’t touch this” is included on the song, “Trapped on the Dance Floor” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince (from the 1991 album, Homebase). Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song, in their own signature style, in their 1991 album The Chipmunks Rock the House. “U Can’t Touch This” was featured in a South African commercial for Castle Light Beer, and is currently being used in adverts for Carex hand soap.

In 1991, a parody entitled “I Can’t Watch This” was released by “Weird Al” Yankovic for his album Off the Deep End. Lyrics about watching a bad TV program were overlaid on the song’s music track. Agroove metal cover of the song was performed by the Austrian NDH band Stahlhammer, infused with death growls and heavy guitar riffs. Additionally, the song is sampled on rapper Big Sean’s song, “Dance (A$$)”, from his debut album, Finally Famous: The Album.

In The Simpsons episode “Bart Gets Famous”, Bart records an “I Didn’t Do It” rap with the backing track of the song. In a South Park episode titled “Simpsons Already Did It”, ‘Hammer time!’ is used as code word by Tweek to alert the others. Oscar the Fish sings the song while threatening the sharks in Shark Tale (2004). A parody of the song entitled, “Can’t Touch Me”, was sung by Peter Griffin in the Family Guy episode, “E. Peterbus Unum”. “U Can’t Touch This” was referenced in the The Fairly OddParents episode “Chindred Spirits”. When Cosmo says, “Hammer Time!”, a hammer appears and conks his head after he briefly dances in Hammer pants. A parody of the song titled “U Can’t Squash This” was sung by The Annoying Orange.

In the Dead Island videogame, there is a Trophy/Achievement called “Can’t Touch This”, earned for killing 15 zombies in a row without receiving damage while using any kind of hammer in the game. The champions Jayce and Malzahar, from the multiplayer online battle arena game called League of Legends, also dance in the same manner as MC Hammer does in the ‘U Can’t Touch This’ video when the “dance command” is used. In the MMORPG World of Warcraft Orc male, also dance in the same manner as MC Hammer does in the ‘U Can’t Touch This’ video when the “dance command” is used. A parody of the song, called “Can’t Wrap This”, is featured on a Christmas video eCard.

A cover version of the song was featured in the May 4, 2010 episode of TV series, Glee, as well as in the fourth episode of the reality show, The Glee Project. In the 6th season opening of TV series, Dexter, (episode titled “Those Kinds of Things”), the “U Can’t Touch This” song plays at a high school reunion, as the character says: “I have no idea what ‘Hammer time’ is. Or how it differs from regular time.” At the end of the show, he kills his victim with a hammer and says “Sorry, Hammer time.” In a Victorious episode titled, “The Gorilla Club”, Jade made a bet with Andre and Robbie, which she won resulting in the boys having to dance when she said “Hammertime” (although, as heard in the episode, it seems they are dancing to “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot rather than “U Can’t Touch This”). In a Psych episode titled “There Might Be Blood”, Shawn bashes a pretend hammer then says, ‘Stop! Hammer time!’. A reference to the song was present in “Red Is The New Black” episode of Feb 2, 2012 of TV series, The Mentalist during a witness interview. Quote: “Forget about it, you cant touch them. – Really? – Really. Like Mc Hammer”.

The German translation Halt! Hammerzeit is an internet meme. A parody of the song, called “U Can’t Touch Mormon Jesus”, became an Internet phenomenon after first being uploaded by user igiulamam. It parodies both the song and a video entitled “The Secret World of Mormonism”, which tells the story of Mormonism.[12][13] Hugh Atkin, uploader of the viral “Will the Real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up?”, uploaded a parody of “U Can’t Touch This” featuring clips of U.S. President Barack Obama and various others speaking together into the form of a rap titled “U Didn’t Build That.”

In Chile, the song was featured on soundtrack of Chilean soap opera Graduados. Furthermore, the song was used the Chilean shopping Almacenes Paris called “Liquidación” in 2013.

In Minecraft 1.2.3, there was the command /stophammertime which would stop the server.

MC Hammer

Birth name Stanley Kirk Burrell
Also known as M.C. Hammer, Hammer, Hammertime, King Hammer
Born March 30, 1962 (age 51)
Oakland, California, U.S.
Genres Hip hop
Occupations Rapper, entrepreneur, actor, dancer
Years active 1985–Present
Labels Capitol Records/EMI Records,Giant/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records, Full Blast Music
Associated acts Jon Gibson, 2 Bigg MC, Vanilla Ice, B Angie B, Doug E. Fresh,Teddy Riley, Deion Sanders, Big Daddy Kane, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Tupac Shakur, Johnny J, Young Boss, D’Angelo, Psy,Paperboy, Rick Ross, P. Diddy
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