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Meaning of the song ‘U Can’t Touch This’ by ‘MC Hammer’

Released: 1990

MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” is a self-confident ode to his skills, both in music and dance, and a reflection of his place in the music industry. It exudes a level of musical prowess and success that’s seemingly untouchable.

The song starts with repetition of the phrase “You can’t touch this,” which is an assertion of his indisputable excellence – signaling to competitors that they can’t match his talent and success. He gives praise, saying “Oh, my Lord, Thank you for blessing me, With a mind to rhyme and two hyped feet”, acknowledging the source of his talents. He identifies himself as a “super dope homeboy from the Oaktown”, referencing Oakland, California, Hammer’s hometown and a significant hub for hip-hop culture.

Further in the song, MC Hammer talks about his “Fresh new kicks and pants”, boasting about his trendy and fashionable attire, a key part of his unique and flashy stage persona. This fashion element, combined with his distinctive dance moves, led to his widespread recognition and appeal. He encourages listeners to dance to his music, suggesting his beats are irresistible; if you can’t groove to it, you’re most likely “dead”.

“Stop, Hammer time!” has become one of the song’s most iconic lines. It’s a call to action, a cue for the listener to stop whatever they’re doing and give their full attention to Hammer’s performance. This line would later be associated with the eye-catching dance moves that typified his performances.

“Either work hard or you might as well quit” frames Hammer’s perspective on success. It isn’t just about talent, it’s about the grind and determination to reach that untouchable level. And if you’re not prepared to put in the work, you might as well not even compete.

The line “I toured around the world, From London to the Bay”, serves to underline his international stardom, while “Hammer! Go, Hammer! MC Hammer! Yo, Hammer!” emphasizes the chant of the crowd, his recognition and popularity amongst fans and how other artists “can go and play” – suggesting they are merely child’s play in comparison to him.

Throughout the song, MC Hammer uses “You can’t touch this” as a refrain, constantly re-emphasizing his high standing in the music industry and the gap between his immense talent and that of his peers. He’s not just asserting his dominance, but he’s reinforcing the idea that he’s at a level of success and competence that’s out of reach for others, hence “You can’t touch this”.

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