Mama Said Knock You Out (song)

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"Mama Said Knock You Out"
Single by LL Cool J
from the album Mama Said Knock You Out
Released February 26, 1991 (1991-02-26)
Format CD
Genre Hip hop
Length 4:52
Label Def Jam
Writer(s) LL Cool J
Producer(s) Marley Marl
Certification Gold (RIAA)
LL Cool J singles chronology
"Around the Way Girl"
"Mama Said Knock You Out"
"6 Minutes of Pleasure"
Mama Said Knock You Out track listing
"Farmers Blvd. (Our Anthem)"
"Mama Said Knock You Out"
"Milky Cereal
All World: Greatest Hits track listing
"Around the Way Girl"
"Mama Said Knock You Out"
"Back Seat"

"Mama Said Knock You Out" is a number-one hit single by LL Cool J from his album of the same name. The song famously begins with the line "Don't call it a comeback/I've been here for years." Before "Mama Said Knock You Out" was released, many people felt that LL Cool J's career was waning; his grandmother, who still believed in his talent, told him to "knock out" all his critics. The song was produced by Marley Marl[1] with help from DJ Bobcat along with LL. The single reached number 17[2] on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold by the RIAA. LL Cool J won Best Rap Solo Performance at the Grammy Awards of 1992. The song takes various shots at Kool Moe Dee.

The song was featured in the Michael J. Fox action comedy The Hard Way, in which LL also co-starred.


The song uses samples from James Brown's "Funky Drummer," the Chicago Gangsters' "Gangster Boogie," Sly & The Family Stone's "Trip to Your Heart" and the drum break from Digital Underground's The Humpty Dance, and Rock the Bells by LL Cool J. The music video features LL Cool J in a boxing ring, rapping into a microphone similar to the one an announcer would use in a boxing match. Frequently, there are shots of him working out and scenes of boxers being punched out.

LL Cool J said in his autobiography that the idea for the song came from a discussion with his grandmother. He had said to his grandmother that he felt that he couldn't survive as a rapper now that gangsta rap was popular and he was being dissed by several up-and-coming rappers. She responded, "Oh baby, just knock them out!"[3] At the end of the video, his grandmother says "Todd! Todd! Get upstairs and take out that garbage".

Cultural references[edit]

The song has been parodied on the 1990s comedy show In Living Color as a music video skit, "Mama's Gonna Kick Me Out" with Shawn Wayans as Jimmie Walker's Good Times character, J.J. Evans[4] and in the 1994 hip-hop mockumentary film and its soundtrack album, Fear of a Black Hat as a solo single for rapper Tasty-Taste (Larry B. Scott), "Granny Said Kick Yo Ass."

The title was heard in the Futurama episode, "Proposition Infinity," when during a brief hostage taking of Amy Wong in a police holding cell, the police robot unit URL uses the Vulcan nerve pinch from Star Trek to subdue a violent criminal, then afterwards cooly says: "Mama said Spock you out."

In an episode of "The Office," when introducing Ryan, Michael Scott remarks "Don't call it a comeback."

This song was in the "Pontiac Bandit" episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine when Jake Peralta wore a white suit to a criminal meet.

In It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, the song is used in the episode "The Gang Broke Dee"[5].

In the Auralnauts Star Wars parody, "Revenge of Middle Management," Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker are singing the song during the beginning sequence.


UK rap rock band Senser covered the song frequently at live concerts during the 1990s along with other hip hop songs that they admired.

Street Sweeper Social Club covered the song on The Ghetto Blaster EP and have also performed it live.

The song was included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

The song was also featured in Bebe's Kids and Kangaroo Jack: G'Day U.S.A.!

Five Finger Death Punch version[edit]

"Mama Said Knock You Out"
Single by Five Finger Death Punch featuring Tech N9ne
from the album The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1
Released March 25, 2014
Genre Groove metal, heavy metal, rap metal
Length 2:47
Label Prospect Park
Writer(s) Traditional
Five Finger Death Punch singles chronology
"House of the Rising Sun"
"Mama Said Knock You Out"

The heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch covered the song for their 2013 album The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1, featuring rapper Tech N9ne.[6]

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ Pareles, Jon (November 18, 1990). "HOME ENTERTAINMENT/RECORDINGS: RECENT RELEASES". The New York Times. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Mama Said Knock You Out - LL Cool J Song Information". Billboard. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  3. ^ LL Cool J (1998). I Make My Own Rules. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 126–127. ISBN 9780312967314. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^
  6. ^ Tobbe (May 30, 2013). "Interview with Five Finger Death Punch's Zoltán Báthory". Metal Covenant. Retrieved June 3, 2013. "We had an idea to cover Mama Said Knock You Out. [...] Then we made the song heavy and when Tech N9ne came it, we thought "Oh yeah, this is happening. Fuck it, Let's put it on the record"." 
  7. ^ "LL Cool J" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  8. ^ " – LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  9. ^ " – LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  10. ^ "LL Cool J Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for LL Cool J. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  11. ^ "LL Cool J Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs for LL Cool J. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  12. ^ "LL Cool J Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for LL Cool J. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  13. ^ "LL Cool J > Awards". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved September 30, 2012. 
  14. ^ "American single certifications – L.L. Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out". Recording Industry Association of America. May 15, 1991. Retrieved September 30, 2012.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH