Constructed and composed during the recording process at various studios, including Martin Bisi's in Brooklyn NY, "Rockit" was perhaps the first popular single to feature scratching and other turntablist techniques, performed by Grand Mixer DXT - an influential DJ in the early years of turntablism - using turntables as a musical instrument. Many later turntablists have cited "Rockit" as revelatory, inspiring their interest in the instrument.
The single was a major radio hit in the United Kingdom but more of an underground hit in the United States. The humorous music video, directed by duo Godley & Creme and featuring robot-like sculptures (by Jim Whiting) moving in time to the music, was among the earliest videos to feature African Americans on MTV and garnered five MTV Video Music Awards in 1984, including Best Concept Video and Best Special Effects. Hancock himself appears and plays keyboard only as an image on a television, which is smashed on the sidewalk in the closing shot.
In 1986 it was featured in the Soviet film The Courier alongside a hip hop dance sequence making it one of the songs to introduce hip-hop to the USSR. The song was later remixed by V-Video, an early Russian video company, to be played with its logo. It is also featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and is included in its soundtrack box-set. The song was also used in the movies Zoolander and Kickin' It Old Skool. It is also used in the video game NBA Street: Homecourt when a gamebreaker move is activated. A remix of "Rockit" is one of the playable songs in the PlayStation 2 game Amplitude. It also appears in The Simpsons episode Treehouse of Horror XVI.
"Rockit" lends its name to a Toronto music venue.
"Rockit" has also been featured in numerous commercials.