Mama Said Knock You Out (song)

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"Mama Said Knock You Out"
Mama Said Knock You Out (LL Cool J single - cover art).jpg
Single by LL Cool J
from the album Mama Said Knock You Out
Released February 26, 1991 (1991-02-26)
Genre Golden age hip hop
Length 4:50 (album version)
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, was certified Gold by the RIAA, and won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance. 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 Cool J also appeared.


The song uses samples from James Brown's "Funky Drummer," the Chicago Gangsters' "Gangster Boogie," Sly & The Family Stone's "Trip to Your Heart" the drum break from Digital Underground's "The Humpty Dance", and LL Cool J's own "Rock the Bells". 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. Intercut with this are clips of boxing matches and LL Cool J exercising.

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] She is featured in the closing scene of the music video, saying: "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 Fear of a Black Hat as a solo single for rapper Tasty-Taste (Larry B. Scott), "Granny Said Kick Yo Ass".[5]

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 coolly 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".[6]

In the Auralnauts' Star Wars parody, "Revenge of Middle Management", Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker are singing the song during the beginning sequence.[7]

Track listing[edit]

CD single
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Mama Said Knock You Out"   James Todd Smith Marley Marl 4:50


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 (2014-03-25)
Recorded 2012 (2012)–13 (13)
Length 2:48 (album version)
Label Prospect Park
Five Finger Death Punch singles chronology
"House of the Rising Sun"
"Mama Said Knock You Out"
"Wrong Side of Heaven"

American heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch covered the song for their fourth studio album, The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1. The cover features rapper Tech N9ne.[9] The single was released on March 25, 2014 by Prospect Park Records. This specific version of the song was mostly done in the main style of Five Finger Death Punch which is Groove metal, instead of the original rap/hip hop style used by LL Cool J.

Track listing[edit]

Digital download
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Mama Said Knock You Out" (featuring Tech N9ne) James Todd Smith

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 July 16, 2012. 
  3. ^ LL Cool J (1998). I Make My Own Rules. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 126–127. ISBN 9780312967314. 
  4. ^ "In Living Color Parody of LL Cool J- Mama Said Knock You Out". YouTube video.
  5. ^ "Fear Of A Black Hat (Music From The Motion Picture)", Discogs.
  6. ^ "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005– )", IMDb.
  7. ^ "Revenge of Middle Management: Star Wars Ep3", Auralnauts.
  8. ^ Christian, Chris (August 1996). "Various Artists: Operation Beatbox". Sonic Boom. 4 (7). Retrieved November 17, 2016. 
  9. ^ 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.' 
  10. ^ "LL Cool J: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  11. ^ " – LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  12. ^ " – LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  13. ^ "LL Cool J – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for LL Cool J. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  14. ^ "LL Cool J – Chart history" Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs for LL Cool J. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  15. ^ "LL Cool J – Chart history" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for LL Cool J. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  16. ^ "LL Cool J > Awards". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved September 30, 2012. 
  17. ^ "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