On this day in music history: June 23, 1990 - “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #8 on the Hot 100 on June 16, 1990. Written by MC Hammer, Rick James and Alonzo Miller, it is the biggest hit for the Oakland, CA born rapper and dancer born Stanley Kirk Burrell. After the success of his major label debut “Let’s Get It Started”, MC Hammer hits the road to support it. Hammer installs a recording studio on his tour bus to begin work on his second release while touring. Working with former Con Funk Shun member Felton Pilate and James Early, Hammer comes up with the idea of using Rick James’ 1981 hit “Super Freak”, to form the basis of what becomes “U Can’t Touch This”. As the track is being worked on, everyone agrees the song will be a smash. James is furious at first when he finds out that his song publisher and Motown Records have granted Hammer permission to the use the song without his consent. He sues for copyright infringement, with the matter being settled out of court. When James receives his first royalty check from sales of the record and mechanical royalties from the publishing, it is for over $1 million, and it is not the last one he receives for that amount. Issued the first single from Hammer’s third album Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em, Capitol Records in the US issues the song only as a vinyl 12" single which qualifies it to chart according to Billboard’s chart criteria, but its chart success is driven largely by airplay. The strategy drives sales of the album to 10x Platinum in the US alone. “U Can’t Touch This” also wins Grammy Awards for Best R&B Song and Best Rap Solo Performance in 1991.
“We are only given today, and never promised tomorrow. So be sure to tell the important people in your life that you love them.”
“If I die a tragic death and I’m not able to see out my dreams, I at least wanna know that the kids perceived my message, and were able to make something of themselves, and were able to take my message and use it and turn it into something positive. And to at least, have a good life.”
“Regardless of the negative around my name, regardless of the bad things people say to me. I know my goal in the end and I know what I want for everyone. And I know what my message is.”