MC Hammer Says Cheetos Super Bowl Commercial Was No-Brainer: 'I Guarantee it Will Put a Smile On Your Face'

Cheetos MC Hammer
Courtesy of Cheetos

MC Hammer x Cheetos

MC Hammer has danced across our screens for the past 25-plus years in ads for everything from picture hooks to KFC, Pepsi and Lays potato chips. But in his upcoming Super Bowl LIV ad for the new Cheetos popcorn, the fleet-footed Grammy-winning rapper says he's finally found the produce that speaks to his heart.

"That question is almost illegal," he laughs when Billboard asks if he was familiar with the term "cheetle" before he booked the gig, in reference to the bright orange dust that sticks to your fingers when you dig into a bag of the crunchy snack. "Everybody knows what cheetle is! Here in the U.S., what kid didn't eat Cheetos? Everybody! The short answer is I ate Cheetos as a kid and got the Cheetle all over my fingers and here we are, 30 years later and it's still the same."

Though the full ad won't be revealed until Sunday (Feb. 2), Cheetos has released two teasers clips, including "Where it All Began," a cheesy homage to the alleged origin story for "U Can't Touch This" that, of course, includes a prominent role for said Cheetle.

Billboard hopped on the phone with Hammer to talk about the enduring affection for his signature 1990 smash, what you might find on the grill at the Hammer home for the big game and why the Cheetos spot perfectly captures the spirit of his music.

Do you have a favorite Super Bowl snack? 

My 14-year-old son, we call him Chef Sam, Sammy the Kid Chef. He's out ont he grill and he handles all things on the animal side: beef, burgers... I'm the veggie man. I have my own grill for the portobello mushrooms, bell peppers, the Impossible burgers. And then with both grills, you've got to have Cheetos. Cheetos go with both meals.

You're rocking the classic Hammer high-top fade in the video. Was it fun to throw back to that look for the shoot? 

First, I have to go see Eddie Murphy, who had a bottle of Soul Glo. You put that Soul Glo in your fro and your fro just grow! [Sings] SOUL GLO!!! So I went and got that and put it on and it grew and for the commercial I had back the classic Hammer high-top fade and the Hammer lines. And I loved it! 

What can people expect from the full ad?

One of my favorite parts is the ending. It's hilarious and it’s classic Hammer. The teaser was also one of my favorites, when I'm at the piano and I had Cheetle on my hand and I didn't want to get the Cheetle on those beautiful ivory keys. The way that was shot and captures the moment was humorous and I guarantee the Super Bowl commerical will put a smile on your face.

You're also celebrating the 30th anniverary of "U Can't Touch This" this year. It's been in a number of other ads over the years and remains so popular. What do you think it is about the message of that track that is so universal?

I think the memories that it connects people to. Which are 99.999% good times, good memories: college, high school, youth, the Saturday morning Hammerman cartoons, the videos that came after it -- "Addams Family Groove," "2 Legit 2 Quit." It think when people hear "U Can't Touch This" all the dots connect, great times, good memories and a time that was simpler, more fun comes to mind and puts a smile on their face.

You also bust out your famous Hammer dance to grab some popcorn in another teaser clip. I know you're an athlete, but you're also 56 years old now -- are those moves getting harder?

I just came off a tour last summer where I did about 30-35 shows and every night I'd battle 20-year-olds in the Hammer dance on stage and we'd go at it every night. When we came to the idea of grabbing the popcorn off the table on the break all I did was get in the starter position and wait for the director to say "action!" and I... zooommm!!!... took off the other way. 

Is it hard for you to believe that it's been 30 years since "U Can't Touch This" first came out?

In many respects it's been a couple lifetimes. Because if you say a generation is 10 years, using that as a criteria we'd be fourth generation. And if you used the true meaning of generation today which is only five years because of social media, things change that fast. If you ask kids today what songs they were listening to just two or three years ago they'd say, "well, that's so old!" So a generation now is just five years at the most. So it's it’s been an awful long time for a record to be around for 30 years and it feels to me like less than 10 years. 

What's next for you?

I'm going on tour and I've got two albums, three actually, coming out. Look for the song “She Said” that I just posted with me going through the streets of New York with the music. You'll find the energy, the fun, the nostalgia on that song is a spin on Michael Jackson's "Heartbreak Hotel" from the '70s. One album will come out in the second quarter, Scars Over Bars. And then you have the Don't Hurt 'Em Show,  which is a compilation of all the classic songs redone and the follow-up to those kinds of songs with that same feeling. That's later on this year. 

Watch the teasers for Hammer's commercial and a full 30-second ad below.


Grab your popcorn. Somethin’ big is coming your way. @Cheetos #ad

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Super Bowl 54


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