Released 25 years ago, on January 13, 1990, MC Hammer's single 'U Can't Touch This' brought hip hop to center stage. It was not only popular in the hip hop world, but also in the mainstream pop world becoming the inspiration for new dance crazes, fashion trends, and music styles.
Of course, "U Can't Touch This" never would have happened without Rick James, who Hammer sampled heavily to make this track. This recycling did rub some critics the wrong way, but in the popular culture world that didn't really care about copyright at the time, Hammer's strategy was ingenious. By piggybacking on a well-known hit ("Super Freak") he was already halfway there in terms of a guaranteed hit. Once he threw in those trademark pants, some insane dance moves, and a catchy hook, he couldn't lose.
Granted, being ahead of your time doesn't guarantee a lasting career (where is MC Hammer now?), but if nothing else, Hammer's talent, timing, and sweet pants resulted in a hip-hop anthem that is celebrated all over the world (most recently shown in a special stage at a Korean end-of-the-year show!) and will probably stand the test of time.