When did you first hear the words, “Can’t Touch This”?


Up until I was 15, I would spend every summer at my grandmother’s house in Shohola, Pennsylvania. I didn’t care much for my neighborhood in Queens Village, New York and I didn’t like to spend my free time in the concrete jungle. It was the summer of 1990, school was going to start again in a couple of weeks, so I had to come back home. Didn’t care much for the neighborhood, but at least I had some friends to come back home to.

After I unpacked, I walked out the door and towards the center of my block; that’s where my friends usually hung out. As I approached the group, they kept saying, “Can’t touch this!” I had no idea why they were saying this to me. “Can’t touch what? What are you talking about??” I asked frustratingly. If there is one downside to spending time in the country in those days, it was that I was cut-off from popular culture. Usually we’ll watch MTV but I don’t recall doing that much television-watching that summer. Spent most of my time swimming in a lake.

Finally, after being teased for not knowing what they were talking about, they explained that this guy, MC Hammer, has a popular song on the radio called, “Can’t Touch This”. Of course I had to find out what they were talking about. Later that night, I found the video on MTV and practiced some of Hammer’s amazing dance moves. Haven’t been able to do any of them well.

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Justin M. Salvato

Writer/Vlogger at Retroist
Seeker of 1980s nostalgia, rummager of vintage computers and player of retro video games.When not writing posts of The Retroist, I'm converting Retroist audio podcasts to Retroist video podcasts.My own videos can be found at www.YouTube.com/JustinSalvato.
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