U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer

Rapper MC Hammer (real name Stanley Kirk Burrell) had struggled to hit the charts in a market crowded with hard case gangsta rappers, maybe they found out that he got his imposing nickname “Hammer” as a bat boy for the Oakland A’s baseball team, as he resembled the legendary “Hammerin’  Hank” Aaron, and not because of his exploits on the mean streets of Compton, South LA. The Hammer did however do several things that ultimately ensured his success, he sampled other people’s music and re-invented them for the pop charts of the 90’s, he started wearing ridiculously baggy parachute pants, and he invented some unusual dance moves. U Can’t Touch This was Rick James Super Freak, essentially MC just rapped over the original beat, he did something similar with his biggest hit Pray, rapping over Prince’s Doves Cry, his ’91 hit Addams Groove was a sample from the TV show’s theme music, and Pumps And a Bump in ’94  were samples of George Clinton’s Atomic Dog. Rick James was apparently furious when he first discovered that his lawyers had authorised the use of the song by Hammer, but once it raced up the charts, and the royalties mounted up, he just rolled with it, MC Hammer ran out of samples to cover, had his last hit in 1994, and was last seen on several US reality TV shows, sending himself up.


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