MC Hammer (born Stanley Kirk Burrell, 30.3.1962)
MC Hammer is an American rapper and dancer, best known for his hit record 'U Can't Touch This'.
MC Hammer: Childhood
MC Hammer was born in Oakland, California. He was raised by his mother, along with his eight brothers and sisters, He would spend much of his childhood dancing in the Oakland Coliseum parking lot, to a beatbox, or selling stray baseballs.
Charles O' Finley spotted him dancing, invited him to an Oakland Athletics game (he was the team owner), gave him a job as an office assistant and took him out on the road as the team's bat boy.
Having briefly flirted with the drug trade, MC Hammer eventually enlisted in the Navy for three years, until he was honourably discharged.
MC Hammer: Music Career
Upon leaving the military, MC Hammer set up a record label called Bust It. This then spawned another company, Bustin' Records. He also formed a Christian rap group called Holy Ghost Boys. One song from this era, 'Son of the King' appeared on MC Hammer's debut album Feel My Power, released in 1987.
Feel My Power was produced by Felton Pilate of Con Funk Shun. The track 'Let's Get It Started' became popular in clubs, with MC Hammer proclaiming on the track that he was better than DR Run, LL Cool J or Doug E. Once he was signed up by Capitol Records, MC Hammer re-released his debut album under the name Let's Get It Started. He performed 'U Can't Touch This' (which samples Rick James' 'Super Freak') on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1989.
In 1990, MC Hammer released his second major label album, entitled Please, Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em. MC Hammer then released 'Have You Seen Her', a cover of a Chi-lites song and 'Pray' which contained samples from Prince's 'When Doves Cry' and Faith No More's 'We care A Lot'. Other acts sampled on Please, Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em include Marvin Gaye and The Jackson 5.The album became the first hip-hop album to obtain diamond status, having sold over 18 million copies.
Along with his friend and contemporary rap artist Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer soon became criticised for the repetitive nature of his songs and for sampling other people's songs to provide the basic hook for his own. A number of other hip-hop artists criticised him in their songs, including Ice Cube, Digital Underground, LL Cool J and The D.O.C. The criticism failed to dent MC Hammer's popularity, though. He even had a Saturday morning cartoon that he voiced and hosted, named Hammerman.
MC Hammer changed his name to simply Hammer and released another album, Too Legit To Quit. The track 'Addams Groove' appeared on the soundtrack to The Addams Family, which starred Christina Ricci, Angelica Houston and Christopher Lloyd. The video for '2 Legit 2 Quit' was one of the most expensive music videos of all time and featured James Brown, as well as a Michael Jackson lookalike.
Hammer parted ways with Capitol and signed with Giant Records. In 1992, Kevin Christian filed a $16 million lawsuit against MC Hammer for copyright infringement. MC Hammer admitted having used Christian's song 'Oh-Oh, You Got the Shing' for his own song 'Here Comes The Hammer'. MC Hammer's next album was entitled The Funky Headhunter and was released in 1994.This time, he chose to diss the likes of Run DMC, A Tribe Called Quest and Q-Tip on record.
MC Hammer's 1995 album, Inside Out, only managed to reach 119 on the Billboard chart. Hammer's decadent lifestyle failed to adapt to his dwindling record sales and he was declared bankrupt in 1996.
MC Hammer had a friendship with Death Row Records' Suge Knight that dated back to 1988. Hammer signed to the label, which was also home to Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg but they did not release any of his music. In 1996, he signed to EMI, who released a Greatest Hits album, followed by Family Affair in 1998.
His 2001 album, Active Duty was a response to the 11th September terrorist attacks in New York. It was followed two years later with Full Blast, which contains lyrics blasting Busta Rhymes and Eminem.
MC Hammer then created an independent digital label to release his next album, Look Look Look. 2009 saw him release DanceJamtheMusic.
MC Hammer: Personal Life
MC Hammer is also an ordained minister and once officiated the wedding of the actor Corey Feldman and Susie Sprague.