Super Freak

“Super Freak”  is a 1981 single produced and performed by Rick James.  The song, co-written by James and Alonzo Miller, was first released on James’ album Street Songs and became one of James’ signature songs.  It features background vocals from Motown labelmates The Temptations — in which the bass singer is James’ uncle Melvin Franklin — and Canadian singer Taborah Johnson.  Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song #477 in its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  The song was nominated for the Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance at the 1982 Grammys.  (More from Wikipedia)
The sampled break that repeats throughout “U Can’t Touch This is the monster opening riff of Rick James’s “Super Freak” (1981), one of the catchiest and funkiest instrumental passages ever (and I am certainly not alone in feeling this way).  According to Wikipedia:  “‘Freak’ is a slang term for a very promiscuous girl, as described in the song’s lyrics, ‘. . . a very kinky girl / The kind you don’t take home to mother’.” 
Super Freak” includes some background vocals by the Temptations in one part, preceded by Rick James saying:  “Temptations sing!”  The tempo of the background singing is different from that of the song.  In some long-form versions of “U Can’t Touch This, this part of the Super Freak” song is also sampled – it felt like a sample of a sample to me. 
Initially, MC Hammer took full writing credit for “U Can’t Touch This, but anyone familiar with Super Freak” knew exactly where the song came from.  The lawsuit brought by Rick James and others was settled out of court when MC Hammer agreed to give Rick James a songwriting credit (and thus a whole lot of cash) for “U Can’t Touch This
(September 2016)
Last edited: March 22, 2021