MC Hammer, the rapper who popularized rap music

In 1992, I used to watch a musical channel called « Sky Channel ». This is how I first discovered « U Can’t Touch This ». I was amazed by the way Mc Hammer was dancing in his video and I immediately loved this track.

Early years: MC Hammer, former baseball player

Stanley Kirk Burrell aka MC Hammer aka Hammer was born on March the 30th, 1962 in Oakland, California.
As a teenager, Mc Hammer was noticed as the gifted baseball player he actually was.
Charlie O. Finley, the Oakland Athletics baseball team’s owner had seen young Stanley performing outside of the stadium and he was quite impressed with his performance. He integrated the team rapidly.
Since Mr Finley didn’t live in Oakland, little Stanley was supposed to tell him what was happening inside of the team. Stanley Burrell was nicknamed « Little Hammer » because of his resemblance with Hank Aaron.

Mc Hammer followed the goal of becoming a professional baseball player without succeeding in it.
After returning from the Navy, he started playing in music clubs.

The start of a musical career

MC Hammer founded his own label Bust It.
Mc Hammer’s first record, Feel My Power, produced by Felton Pilate was released in 1987. It sold over 60,000 copies.

MC Hammer wasn’t that enthusiastic to be signed at Capitol Records, but he eventually accepted the contract in exchange of a bonus.

Signed to Capitol Records, he then re- released his debut album under the title Let’s Get It Started. The album was a huge success and went triple platinum.

Mc Hammer’s second album, Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em came out in 1990. It included the well known hit « U Can’t Touch This ». Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em topped Mc Hammer’s first album and sold 10 million units.
Despite his overwhelming success, Stanley Burrell had to face some criticism from emcees like 3rd Bass and Ice Cube. Both humored him in their videos.

In 1991, MC Hammer released his third album ,Too Legit To Quit. He also dropped « MC » from his stage name.

From pop-rap, gangsta rap to gospel

After signing with Giant Records, Hammer changed his soft « gospel » style to a more aggressive gangsta style, which wasn’t accepted that easily by legitimate gangsta rappers and receive a lot of criticism from musical critics.

In 1994, Hammer released a gangsta rap album, The Funky Headhunter.
Hammer signed to Death Row Records and left the label after Tupac’s death.

Hammer was quite disappointed with the album and returned to pop-rap in 1995 with Inside Out that was a flop.

In 1996, Hammer released a compilation of his hits.
In 1997, Hammer took the decision to spread God’s word and to become a Christian artist. His next album, Family Affair, that came out in 1998 was Christian orientated.
Active Duty, a patriotic gospel album, came out in 2001.

Hammer time, Hammer style

Mc Hammer has influenced a whole generation. A lot of people (like me) have discovered rap music through his hits in the early 90’s. Mc Hammer impressed many people because of his dancing skills. His clothing style was characterized by large baggy pants and oversized sunglasses.

MC Hammer was so popular in the 90’s that he was also given his own cartoon on ABC channel on Sunday morning. Mc Hammer dolls were sold and a Hammer clothing was available too.
MC Hammer wrote “Addams Groove,” the hit to the theme the to the film version of The Addams Family in 1994.

Mocked in Eminem’s Just Lose It, Hammer fires back with Full Blast

Eminem’s Just Lose It video raised a lot of controversy. Despite the fact I am deeply convinced that it wasn’t bad intentioned from Eminem’s point of view ( the video is funny and should not be interpreted in a negative way), the artists targeted in the video like Michael Jackson, Mc Hammer, Madonna Pee Wee Hermann didn’t really appreciate the jokes about them.

Since 2003, Mc Hammer was working on his new record, Full Blast. It was set to release for 2004.
In his song « Full Blast », Hammer disses Eminem in response to the Just Lose It video.

Download Full Blast here.

Mc Hammer’s rapping style has inspired a whole generation. His dancing skills are undeniable. Mc Hammer popularized rap music at a time it was unknown by many people. Some might not like it, but his style is unique in the world of rap music.

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