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Song Stories

“U Can't Touch This”

MC Hammer | 1990

Aided by the video featuring MC Hammer's slinky dance moves and parachute pants, this self-aggrandizing hip-hop song had fans everywhere declaring, "Stop — Hammer time!" Yet, other well-known rappers criticized Hammer for poor rapping. And Rick James hated the song, which sampled his funk classic "Super Freak." "Hell, no, I wasn't impressed with that s--t," he said. James said he would have refused Hammer had he personally requested to use the song — even though it earned James huge royalties and his only Grammy. "After that, I told my people that I didn't want any more rappers using my stuff."

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Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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