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Hammer Time, sometimes written as Hammertime, is a catchphrase adapted from a main lyric of the 1990 MC Hammer song U Can't Touch This, sometimes written as U Can't Touch Dis. Both the catchphrase and the song title are commonly used in a variety of contexts online, including to parody images of people and animals doing strange dances, to celebrate victories or achievements, and as a way to quickly change a topic of an online discussion.
"U Can't Touch This" is a song written by MC Hammer and released in January 13th, 1990. The song is a well-known article of 90s Nostalgia, based on both the popularity of the tune itself as well as the signature dancing and clothing styles of the music video. These styles, in 1990, became immensely popular, but faded quickly. "Hammer Time" is a callout lyric from the song, which is also often used as an alternative title.
In 1990, "U Can't Touch This" reached number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and no. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. The video won two MTV Video Music Awards and was nominated for several more, and it played in heavy rotation on the network, which at the time was still known for showing mostly music videos. The official Vevo version of the video on YouTube has over 179 million views as of October 2016.
On 4chan, the phrase "Stop! Hammer time!" is often used as a way to change the conversation of the discussion thread; according to the archives at 4pleb, the phrase has been used on the boards archived there 576 times as of October 2015. On Reddit, the phrase is also commonly employed in comments in this way. "Hammertime", all one word, was first defined on Urban Dictionary in 2003, and since has received 42 separate definition; the top definition has 771 upvotes and 357 downvotes.
Memecenter records over 9,000 entries for "U Can't Touch This," and 3,400 for "Hammer Time." The images range widely in content, demonstrating the versatility of both phrases for use in image macro form. The hashtag #ucanttouchthis has over 7,000 results on Instagram.