90’s Rap legend MC Hammer turns 59 today
Stop! It’s MC Hammer’s birthday
“Stop! Hammertime” became one of the most popular and used expressions ever in Pop Culture, all credit goes to MC Hammer when he first used it on his smash hit “U Can’t Touch This” in 1990. Born Stanley Kirk Burrell on March 30, 1962, in Oakland, California, MC Hammer had rapid rise to fame during the early 1990’s, becoming a worldwide star, something unusual for Rappers back then. His flashy dance movements, choreography, visionary Pop and Rap blend, and, eponymous Hammer pants were all part of the “package” that made him one of the biggest stars in the music industry. He was the first hip hop artist to achieve diamond status for an album with the 1990 “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em” that included the smash hits “U Can’t Touch This” (featuring the famous sample of the Rick James song “Superfreak”; James sued Hammer for infringement of copyright on the song but the suit was settled out of court when Hammer agreed to credit him as co-composer, effectively cutting James in on the millions of dollars the record was earning), “Have You Seen Her” and “Pray”. In addition to the album, MC Hammer also made the movie called “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em: The Movie” in 1990), which included footage used for many of M.C. Hammer’s music videos from the album. The long form music video movie is about a rapper, played by Hammer himself, returning to his hometown and defeating a drug lord who is using kids to traffic his product. Along with his dance tunes being featured, he also plays a preacher character. In 1991 he released “Too Legit to Quit” which wasn’t as successful as his previous album but still produced the hit “2 Legit 2 Quit” and again went for a “little Hammer Extravaganza” when the video directed by Rupert Wainwright, and at almost 15 minutes in length, became one of the most expensive videos ever produced. Still, in 1991 he scored another hit with a theme song for the movie “The Addams Family”. The song was his last top ten hit in the United States and was the recipient of the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song at the 12th Golden Raspberry Awards in 1991. By this time, and despite his huge international success, MC Hammer career started to sink. He was considered a sellout by the Rap and Hip Hop community, due in part to overexposure as an entertainer (having live instrumentation/bands, choreographed dance routines and an impact on popular culture being regularly referenced on television and in music) and as a result of being too “commercial” when rap was “hardcore” at one point, then his image later becoming increasingly “gritty” to once again adapt to the ever-changing landscape of rap. At the height of his popularity, Hammer appeared in major marketing campaigns for companies such as Pepsi, KFC, Toshiba and Taco Bell. He remained (and remains active) as an artist, however, never again he was able to replicate the same success he had during the early 1990’s. Hammer became a preacher during the late 1990’s with a Christian ministry program on TBN called “M.C. Hammer and Friends”. Additionally, he starred in a Saturday-morning cartoon called “Hammerman” in 1991 and was executive producer of his own reality show called “Hammertime” which aired on the A&E Network during the summer of 2009 Hammer was also a television show host and dance judge on “Dance Fever” in 2003. Today MC Hammer, who sold over 50 million records worldwide during his career, turns 59.
Look back at the iconic 1990 music video for “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer
Listen the 1996 compilation “MC Hammer Greatest Hits” on Spotify
Watch more 1990’s related videos
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