Stanley Kirk Burrell (born March 30, 1962), better known by his stage name MC Hammer (or simply Hammer), is an American hip hop recording artist, dancer, record producer and entrepreneur. He had his greatest commercial success and popularity from the late 1980s, until the early 1990s. Remembered for his rapid rise to fame, Hammer is known for hit records (such as "U Can't Touch This" and "2 Legit 2 Quit"), flashy dance movements, choreography and eponymous Hammer pants.
A multi-award winner, M.C. Hammer is considered a "forefather/pioneer" and innovator of pop rap (incorporating elements of freestyle music), and is the first hip hop artist to achieve diamond status for an album. Hammer was later considered a sellout 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. Regardless, BET ranked Hammer as the #7 "Best Dancer Of All Time". Vibe's "The Best Rapper Ever Tournament" declared him the 17th favorite of all-time during the first round.
Burrell became a preacher during the late 1990s 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 Hammertimewhich aired on the A&E Network during the summer of 2009. Hammer was also a television show host and dance judge on Dance Feverin 2003, was co-creator of a dance website called DanceJam.com, and is a record label CEO while still performing concerts at music venues and assisting with other social media, ministry and outreach functions. Prior to becoming ordained, Hammer signed with Suge Knight's Death Row Records by 1995.
Throughout his career, Hammer has managed his own recording business. As a result, he has created and produced his own acts including Oaktown's 3.5.7, Special Generation, Analise, DRS, B Angie B, and Wee Wee. A part of additional record labels, he has associated, collaborated and recorded with VMF, Tupac Shakur, Teddy Riley, Felton Pilate, Tha Dogg Pound, The Whole 9, The Hines Brother (Andra Hines & Dunkin Hines), Deion Sanders, Big Daddy Kane, BeBe & CeCe Winans and Jon Gibson. In 1992, Doug E. Fresh was signed to M.C. Hammer's Bust It Records label.
Stanley Kirk Burrell was born on March 30, 1962 in Oakland, California. His father was a professional poker player and gambling casino manager (at Oaks Card Club's cardroom), as well as warehouse supervisor. He grew up poor with his mother (a secretary) and eight siblings in a small apartment in East Oakland. He recalled that six children were crammed into a three-bedroom housing project apartment. The Burrells would also frequent thoroughbred horse races, eventually becoming owners and winners of several graded stakes.
In the Oakland Coliseum parking lot the young Burrell would sell stray baseballs and dance accompanied by a beatboxer. Oakland A's team owner Charles O. Finley saw the 11-year-old doing splits and hired him as a clubhouse assistant and batboy as a result of his energy and flair. Burrell served as a "batboy" with the team from 1973 to 1980. In 2010, Hammer discussed his lifelong involvement with athletes on ESPN's First Take as well as explained that his brother Louis Burrell Jr. (who would later become Hammer's business manager) was actually the batboy while his job was to take calls and do "play-by-plays" for the A's absentee owner during every summer game. The colorful Finley, who lived in Chicago, used the child as his "eyes and ears." Reggie Jackson, in describing Burrell's role for Finley, took credit for his nickname:
Hell, our chief executive, the guy that ran our team, uh, that communicated [with] Charlie Finley, the top man there, was a 13-year old kid. I nicknamed him "Hammer," because he looked like Hank Aaron [whose nickname was "The Hammer"].
Team players, including Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Pedro Garcia, also dubbed Burrell "Little Hammer" due to his resemblance to Aaron. Ron Bergman, at the time an Oakland Tribune writer who covered the A's, recalled that:
He was an informant in the clubhouse, an informant for Charlie, and he got the nickname "Pipeline."
According to Hammer:
Charlie said, "I'm getting you a new hat. I don't want you to have a hat that says "A's" on it. I'm getting you a hat that says 'Ex VP,' that says 'Executive Vice President.' You're running the joint around here." ... Every time I come down to the clubhouse, you know, Rollie would yell out "Oh, everybody be quiet! Here comes Pipeline!"
He acquired the nickname "M.C." for being a "Master of Ceremonies" which he used when he began performing at various clubs while on the road with the A's, and eventually in the military. Hammer, who played second base in high school, dreamed of being a professional baseball player but did not make the final cut at a San Francisco Giants tryout. However, he has been a participant/player in the annual Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game wearing an A's cap to represent Oakland (American League).
Burrell went on to graduate from high school in Oakland and took undergraduate classes in communications. Discouraged by his studies at a local college and failing to win a place in a professional baseball organization, Hammer considered the drug trade. Instead he joined the United States Navy for three years, serving with PATRON (Patrol Squadron) FOUR SEVEN (VP-47) of NAS Moffett Field in Mountain View, CA as a Petty Officer Third Class Aviation Store Keeper (AK3) until his honorable discharge.
Before Hammer's successful music career (with his mainstream popularity lasting approximately between 1988 and 1998) and his "rags-to-riches-to-rags-and-back saga", Burrell formed a Christian rap music group with CCM's Jon Gibson (or "J.G.") called Holy Ghost Boys. Some songs produced were called "Word" and "B-Boy Chill". "The Wall", featuring Burrell (it was originally within the lyrics of this song he first identified himself as K.B. and then eventually M.C. Hammer once it was produced), was later released on Gibson's album Change of Heart (1988). This was Contemporary Christian music's first rap hit ever. Burrell also produced "Son of the King" at that time, releasing it on his debut album. "Son of the King" showed up on Hammer's debut album Feel My Power (1987), as well as the re-released version Let's Get It Started (1988).
With exception to later remixes of early releases, Hammer produced and recorded many rap songs that were never made public, yet are now available on the Internet. Via his record labels such as Bust It Records, Oaktown Records and FullBlast, Hammer has introduced, signed and produced new talent including Oaktown's 3.5.7, Ho Frat Hoo!, the vocal quintet Special Generation, Analise, James Greer, One Cause One Effect, B Angie B, The Stooge Playaz, DASIT (as seen on ego trip's The (White) Rapper Show), Teabag, Common Unity, Geeman and Pleasure Ellis; both collaborating with him and producing music of their own during his career.
At about the age of 12, Oakland native Keyshia Cole recorded with Hammer and sought career advice from him.
In the mid-1980s while rapping in small venues and after a record deal went sour, Hammer borrowed US$20,000 each from former Oakland A's players Mike Davis and Dwayne Murphy to start a record label business called Bust It Productions. He kept the company going by selling records from his basement and car. Bust It spawned Bustin' Records, the independent label of which Hammer was CEO. Together, the companies had more than 100 employees. Recording singles and selling them out of the trunk of his car, he marketed himself relentlessly. Coupled with his dance abilities, Hammer's style was unique at the time.
Now billing himself as "M.C. Hammer", he recorded his debut album, Feel My Power, which was produced between 1986 and 1987 and released independently in 1987 on his Oaktown Records label (Bustin'). It was produced by Felton Pilate (of Con Funk Shun), and sold over 60,000 copies and was being distributed by City Hall Records. In the spring of 1988, a 107.7 KSOL Radio DJ Tony Valera played the track "Let's Get It Started" in his mix-shows—a song in which he declared he was "second to none, from Doug E. Fresh, LL Cool J, or DJ Run"—after which the track began to gain popularity in clubs. (He would continue to call out other East Coast rappers in future projects as well.)
Hammer also released a single called "Ring 'Em", and largely on the strength of tireless street marketing by Hammer and his wife, plus continued radio mix-show play, it achieved considerable popularity at dance clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area. Heartened by his rising prospects, Hammer launched into seven-day-a-week rehearsals with the growing troupe of dancers, musicians, and backup vocalists he had hired. It was Hammer's stage show, and his infectious stage presence, that led to his big break in 1988 while performing in an Oakland club. There he impressed a record executive who "didn't know who he was, but knew he was somebody", according to the New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll.
M.C.Hammer had received several offers from major record labels before (which he initially declined due to his personal success), but after the successful release of this independent album and elaborate live dance show amazed the Capitol Records executive, Hammer agreed to sign a record deal soon after. Hammer took home a US$1,750,000 advance and a multi-album contract. It didn't take long for Capitol to recoup its investment.
Once signed to Capitol Records, Hammer re-issued his first record (a revised version of Feel My Power) with additional tracks added and sold over 2 million copies. "Pump It Up" (also performed during Showtime at the Apollo on September 16, 1989), "Turn This Mutha Out", "Let's Get It Started" and "They Put Me in the Mix" were the most popular singles from this album which all charted. But not quite satisfied with this first multi-platinum success, Hammer's music underwent a metamorphosis, shifting from the standard rap format in his upcoming album. "I decided the next album would be more musical," he says. Purists chastised him for being more dancer than rapper. Sitting in a leopard-print bodysuit before a concert, he defended his style: "People were ready for something different from the traditional rap style. The fact that the record has reached this level indicates the genre is growing."
M.C. Hammer was very good friends with Arsenio Hall (as well as a then-unknown teen named Robert Van Winkle, aka Vanilla Ice, despite later rumors that there was a "beef" between the two rappers which was addressed during the height of both their careers on Hall's show, and who he would later reunite with in a 2009 concert in Salt Lake City, Utah). Therefore, Hammer was first invited to perform the song "U Can't Touch This", prior to its release, on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1989. He also performed "Dancing Machine" in a version that appeared in the same-titled movie.
Hammer used some of the proceeds from this album to install a rolling recording studio in the back of his tour bus, where he recorded much of his second album.
In 1989, Hammer was featured on "You've Got Me Dancing" (with Glen Goldsmith), which appeared on the Glen Goldsmith album Don't Turn This Groove Around (RCA Records). The track was Hammer's first release in the UK. Hammer also appeared in Glen Goldsmith's music video for this song. The single failed to chart.
Notorious for dissing rappers in his previous recordings, Hammer appropriately titled his third album (and second major-label release) Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em, which was released February 12, 1990 (with an original release date of January 1, 1990). It included the successful single "U Can't Touch This" (which sampled Rick James' "Super Freak"). It was produced, recorded, and mixed by Felton Pilate and James Earley on a modified tour bus while on tour in 1989. Despite heavy airplay and a #27 chart debut, "U Can't Touch This" stopped at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart because it was released only as a twelve-inch single. However, the album was a #1 success for 21 weeks, due primarily to this single, the first time ever for a recording on the pop charts. The song has been and continues to be used in many filmmaking and television shows to date, and appears on soundtrack/compilation albums as well.
Follow-up successes included a cover of the Chi-Lites' "Have You Seen Her" and "Pray" (a beat sampled from Prince's "When Doves Cry" and Faith No More's "We Care a Lot"), which was his biggest hit in the US, peaking at #2. "Pray" was also a major UK success, peaking at #8. The album went on to become the first hip-hop album to earn diamond status, selling more than 18 million units to date. During 1990, Hammer toured extensively in Europe which included a sold-out concert at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. With the sponsorship of PepsiCo International, Pepsi CEO Christopher A. Sinclair went on tour with him during 1991.
The album was notable for sampling other high-profile artists and gave some of these artists a new fanbase. "Dancin' Machine" sampled The Jackson 5, "Help the Children" (also the name of an outreach foundation Hammer started) interpolates Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)", and "She's Soft and Wet" also sampled Prince's "Soft and Wet". All of these songs proved to be successful on radio and video television, with "U Can't Touch This," "Pray" (most successful), "Have You Seen Her," "Here Comes the Hammer," and "Yo!! Sweetness" (UK only) all charting. The album increased the popularity of hip-hop music. It remains the genre's all-time best-selling album.
A movie also accompanied the album and was produced in 1990, called Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em: The Movie (with portions of his music videos included within the movie). At the same time, he also appeared in The West Coast Rap All-Stars posse cut "We're All in the Same Gang." Music videos from this album and the previous albums began to receive much airplay on MTV and VH1.
M.C. Hammer also contributed a track, "This is What We Do", to the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie soundtrack on SBK Records.
A critical backlash began over the repetitive nature of his lyrics, his clean-cut image, and his perceived over-reliance on sampling others' entire hooks for the basis of his singles—criticisms also directed to his contemporary, Vanilla Ice. He was mocked in music videos by 3rd Bass (including a rap battle with MC Serch), The D.O.C., DJ Debranz, and Ice Cube. Oakland hip-hop group Digital Underground criticized him in the CD insert of their Sex Packets album by placing Hammer's picture in it and referring to him as an unknown derelict. Q Tip criticized him in "Check the Rhyme," asking, "What you say Hammer? Proper. Rap is not pop, if you call it that then stop." LL Cool J dissed him in "To tha Break of Dawn" (from the Mama Said Knock You Out album), calling Hammer an "amateur, swinging a Hammer from a bodybag [his pants]," and saying, "My old gym teacher ain't supposed to rap.", though this could have been seen as a response to Hammer calling him out in "Let's Get it Started", when he was mentioned along with Run DMC and Doug E Fresh as rappers that Hammer claimed to be better than. (LL Cool J would later compliment and commend Hammer's abilities/talents on VH-1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop, which aired in 2008). However, Ice-T came to his defense on his 1991 album O.G. Original Gangster: "A special shout out to my man M.C. Hammer: a lot of people dis you, man, but they just jealous." Ice-T later explained that he had nothing against people who were pop-rap from the start, as Hammer had been, but only against emcees who switch from being hardcore or dirty to being pop-rap so that they can sell more records.
Despite the criticisms, Hammer's career continued to be highly successful including tours in Asia, Europe, Australia, and Russia. Soon after, M.C. Hammer Mattel dolls, lunchboxes, and other merchandise were marketed. He was also given his own Saturday morning cartoon, called Hammerman, which he hosted and voiced.
After publicly dropping the "M.C." from his stage name, Hammer released Too Legit to Quit (also produced by Felton Pilate) in 1991. Hammer answered his critics within certain songs from the album. Sales were strong (over five million copies), with the title track being the biggest hit single from this record. The album peaked in the Top 5 of the Billboard 200. Another hit came soon after, with "Addams Groove" (which appeared on both The Addams Family motion picture soundtrack and the vinyl and cassette versions of 2 Legit 2 Quit), reaching #7 in the U.S. and #4 in the UK. His video for the song appeared after the movie.
Hammer set out on a tour for this album, but the stage show had become as lavish as his lifestyle. Loaded with singers, dancers, and backup musicians, the supporting concert tour was too expensive for the album's sales to finance, and it was canceled partway through. In 1992, Boyz II Men joined Hammer's high-profile 2 Legit 2 Quit tour as an opening act. While traveling the country, their tour manager Khalil Roundtree was murdered in Chicago, and the group's future performances of "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" were dedicated to him. As a result of this unfortunate experience, the song would help advance their success.
Music videos were produced for all four singles released from this album (including "Do Not Pass Me By" and "This Is The Way We Roll"), all which charted. The "2 Legit 2 Quit" video featured many celebrity appearances. It's been ranked as one of the most expensive videos ever made. The hand motions used within the song and video also became very popular. The song proved to be successful in the U.S., peaking in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, at #5. Despite the album's multi-platinum certification, the sales were one-third of Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em.
At the end of the "2 Legit 2 Quit" video, after James Brown enlists Hammer to get the famous glove of Michael Jackson, a silver-white sequined glove is shown on the hand of a Michael Jackson look-alike doing the "2 Legit 2 Quit" hand gesture. In a related story, M.C. Hammer appeared on The Wendy Williams Show (July 27, 2009) and talked about his hit reality show Hammertime on A&E, his marriage, his role as a dad and the reasons he eventually went bankrupt. He told an amusing story about a phone call he received from "M.J.", regarding the portion of the "2 Legit 2 Quit" video that included a fake Michael Jackson, giving his approval and inclusion of it. He explained how Michael had seen the video and liked it, and both expressed they were fans of one another. Hammer and Jackson would later appear, speak and/or perform at the funeral service for James Brown in 2006.
The artwork featured in the album was created by James B. Young and accompanying studios.
During 1991, Hammer was featured on the single "The Blood" from the BeBe & CeCe Winans album, Different Lifestyles. In 1992, the song peaked at #8 on the Christian charts.
In 1992, after a four-year hiatus, Doug E. Fresh joined with Hammer's label, Bust It Records and issued one album, Doin' What I Gotta Do, which (despite some minor acclaim for his single "Bustin' Out (On Funk)" which sampled the Rick James 1979 single "Bustin' Out") was a commercial failure.
Prior to Hammer's next album, The Funky Headhunter, rumors from critics and fans began claiming Hammer had quit the music/entertainment business or had suffered a financial downfall (since a couple of years were passing between his two records), which Hammer denied. Hammer claimed rumors falsely heralded his downfall were most likely a result of the fact he turned over his "trimmed-down" Bust It Records to his brother and manager Louis Burrell Jr., and his horse racing interests to his brother Chris and their father, Louis Burrell Sr.
During his hiatus between albums, Hammer consequently signed a multimillion-dollar deal with a new record company. He said there were a lot of bidders, but "not too many of them could afford Hammer". Therefore, Hammer parted ways with Felton Pilate (who had previously worked with the successful vocal group Con Funk Shun) and switched record labels to Giant Records, taking his Oaktown label with him. Hammer was eventually sued by Pilate. Additionally, Hammer launched a new enterprise, called Roll Wit It Entertainment & Sports Management, with clients such as Evander Holyfield, Deion Sanders and Reggie Brooks. In 1993, his production company released a hit rap song by DRS.
By this time, he also parted ways with his only female executive, music business administration consultant and songwriter, Linda Lou McCall (who previously worked with The Delfonics and her husband Louis A. McCall, Sr.'s band Con Funk Shun). She went on to work with artists such as Puff Daddy, Faith Evans, Notorious B.I.G, Mýa, Black Eyed Peas and Eminem. A music industry vet who attended Howard University's College of Fine Arts and the University of California-Davis School of Law, McCall was hired by Hammer's brother and manager, Louis K. Burrell, in 1990 to help set up his corporate operations and administration at Bust It Management and Productions Inc. in Oakland, California. She later became Vice President of Hammer's talent management company, overseeing artists like Heavy D, B Angie B and Ralph Tresvant. While at Bust It, she and her husband Louis A. McCall, Sr. brought their artist Keith Martin to Felton's attention who hired him as a backup musician and vocalist for Hammer's Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em and Too Legit to Quit world tours. In 1993 and 1994, Linda Lou was also involved in several lawsuits against Hammer which were eventually settled out of court.
With a new home and daughter, a new record soon to be released, and his new business, Hammer claimed he was happy and far from being broke during a tour of his mansion for Ebony. "Today there is a more aggressive Hammer, because the '90s require you to be more aggressive", Hammer said of his music style. "There is a harder edge, but I'm no gang member. Hammer in the '90s is on the offense, on the move, on the attack. And it's all good".
In 1993, Hammer began recording his fifth official album. To adapt to the changing landscape of hip-hop, this album was a more aggressive sounding album entitled The Funky Headhunter. He co-produced this record with funky rapper and producer, Stefan Adamek. While Hammer's appearance changed to keep up with the gangsta rap audience, his lyrics still remained honest and somewhat clean with minor profanity. Yet, as with previous records, Hammer would continue to call out and disrespect other rappers on this album. As with some earlier songs such as "Crime Story" (from the album Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em), the content and reality about "street life" remained somewhat the same, but the sound was different, resulting in Hammer losing favor with fans. Nonetheless, this harder-edged, more aggressive record went gold, but failed to win him a new audience among hardcore hip-hop fans.
In another appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show during the mid-1990s, Hammer debuted the video for "Pumps and a Bump". Talk show host Arsenio Hall said to M.C. Hammer, "Women in the audience want to know, what's in your speedos in the 'Pumps and a Bump' video?" A clip from the video was then shown, to much approval from the audience. Hammer didn't give a direct answer, but instead laughed. Arsenio then said, "I guess that's why they call you 'Hammer.' It ain't got nothin' to do with Hank Aaron."
The accompanying video to the album's first single, "Pumps and a Bump", was banned from heavy rotation on MTV with censors claiming that the depiction of Hammer in Speedos (and with what appeared to be an erection) was too graphic. This led to an alternative video being filmed (with Hammer fully clothed) that was directed by Bay Area native Craig S. Brooks.
"It's All Good" was the second single released, which would become a pop culture phrase as a result of its success. It was also the most successful song by this title. Within this album, Hammer disses rappers such as A Tribe Called Quest (Q-Tip), Redman and Run DMC for previous attacks they made against him on wax. This quite possibly led to a decrease in his popularity after this record responded to his critics.
On December 20, 1994, Deion Sanders released Prime Time, a rap album on Hammer's Bust It Records label which featured the minor hit "Must Be The Money". "Prime Time Keeps on Tickin'" was also released as a single. Sanders, a friend of Hammer's, had previously appeared in his "Too Legit to Quit" music video, and his alter-ego "Prime Time" is also used in Hammer's "Pumps and a Bump" video.
The song "Help Lord (Won't You Come)" appeared in Kingdom Come. This album peaked at number two on the R&B charts and remained in the Top 30 midway through the year. To date, it has managed to become certified platinum.
In 1995, Hammer released the album V Inside Out (or inside out V). The album sold poorly compared to previous records (peaking at 119 on the Billboard Charts) and Giant Records dropped him and Oaktown Records from their roster. Songs "Going Up Yonder" and "Sultry Funk" managed to get moderate radio play (even charting on national radio station countdowns).
Along with a fickle public, Hammer would go on to explain in this album that he felt many of his so-called friends he helped staff, used and betrayed him which contributed to a majority of his financial loss (best explained in the song "Keep On" and the bio from this album). He would also hint about this again in interviews, including The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2009.
In 1995, Hammer released "Straight to My Feet" (with Deion Sanders) from the Street Fighter soundtrack (released in December 1994). The song charted #57 in the UK.
Hammer's relationship with Suge Knight dates back to 1988. Hammer signed with Death Row Records by 1995, then home to Snoop Dogg and his close friend, Tupac Shakur. The label did not release the album of Hammer's music (titled Too Tight) while he had a career with them, although he did release versions of some tracks on his next album. However, Burrell did record tracks with Shakur and others, most notably the song "Too Late Playa" (along with Big Daddy Kane and Danny Boy). After the death of Shakur in 1996, Burrell left the record company. He later explained his concern about this circumstance in an interview on Trinity Broadcasting Network since he was in Las Vegas with Tupac the night of his death.
In October 1996, Burrell and Oaktown signed with EMI, which saw the release of a compilation album of Hammer's chart topping songs prior to The Funky Headhunter. The album, titled Greatest Hits, featured 12 former hits. In 1998, another "greatest hits" album, called Back 2 Back Hits, was produced and released by CEMA. (Another compilation version of Back 2 Back was later released by Capitol Records in 2006.) As Hammer's empire began to collapse when his last album failed to match the sales of its predecessors, and since he unsuccessfully attempted to recast himself in the "streetwise/hardcore rap" mold of the day, Hammer turned to a gospel-friendly audience.
In 1998, M.C. Hammer released his first album in his new deal with EMI, titled Family Affair, because it was to introduce the world to the artists he had signed to his Oaktown Records (Geeman, Teabag, and Common Unity) as they made their recording debut. Technically his seventh album since his debut EP, this record was highly promoted on Trinity Broadcasting Network (performing a more gospel version of "Keep On" from his album V Inside Out), yet featured no charting singles and selling about 1,000 copies worldwide.
The album also features a song originally by 2Pac that was given to Hammer, which he did as a remake on this album, called "Unconditional Love". Hammer would later dance and read the lyrics to this song on the first VH1 Hip Hop Honors in 2004.
A double album mostly about faith and family values, additional tracks from Family Affair are: "Put It Down", "Put Some Stop in Your Game", "Big Man", "Set Me Free", "Our God", "Responsible Father Shout", "He Brought Me Out", (Geeman Intro), "Eye's Like Mine", "Never Without You", "Praise Dance Theme Song", "Shame of the Name", (Smoothout Intro), (Teabag Intro), "Silly Heart", "I Wish U Were Free", (Common Unity Intro), "Someone to Hold to You", "Pray" (1998), "Let's Get It Started" (1998), and with "Hammer Music/Shouts/Tour Info" announcements between songs. The compact disks are also "PC Ready" with interactive features.
After this album, new projects were rumored to be in the works, including an album (War Chest: Turn of the Century) and a soundtrack to the film Return to Glory: The Powerful Stirring of the Black Man, but neither appeared.
In 2000, another compilation album was released, titled The Hits. It contains 17 tracks from his first four albums.
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, M.C. Hammer released his 8th studio album, Active Duty, on his own World Hit Music Group label (the musical enterprise under his Hammertime Holdings Inc. umbrella) to pay homage to the ones lost in the terrorist attacks. The album followed that theme, and featured two singles (with accompanying videos), "No Stoppin' Us (USA)" and "Pop Yo Collar" (featuring Wee Wee) which demonstrates "The Phat Daddy Pop", "In Pop Nito", "River Pop", "Deliver The Pop" and "Pop'n It Up" dance moves. The album, like its predecessor, failed to chart and would not sell as many copies as previous projects. Hammer did however promote it on such shows as The View and produced a video for both singles.
This patriotic album, originally planned to be titled The Autobiography Of M.C. Hammer, donated portions of the proceeds to 9/11 charities. Hammer shot a video for the anthem "No Stoppin' Us (USA)" in Washington, D.C., with several members of the United States Congress, who sang in the song and danced in the video. Present members of the United States House of Representatives included J. C. Watts, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Thomas M. Davis, Earl Hilliard, Alcee Hastings, Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.), Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) and Jesse Jackson, Jr.
After leaving Capitol Records and EMI for the second time in his career, M.C. Hammer decided to move his Oaktown imprint to an independent distributor and released his ninth studio album, Full Blast (which was completed in late 2003 and released as a complete album in early 2004). The album would feature no charting singles and was not certified by the RIAA. A video was produced for "Full Blast", a song that attacks Eminem and Busta Rhymes for previous disrespect towards him.
Some of the original songs didn't end up making the final album release. Guest artists included The Stooge Playaz, Pleasure, Rain, JD, Greer & DasIt.
After going independent, Hammer decided to create a digital label to release his tenth studio album, Look Look Look. The album was released in February 2006 and featured production from Scott Storch. The album featured the title-track single (Look Look Look) and a music video. It would sell much better than his previous release (300,000 copies worldwide).
"YAY" was produced by Lil Jon. "What Happened to Our Hood?" (featuring Sam Logan) was originally from Active Duty. "I Got It From The Town" was used in the movie but is only present in one scene instead of the originally planned two on The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (soundtrack).
Between 2006 and 2007, Hammer released a military-inspired rap song with a political message to President George W. Bush about sending American troops back home from war, called "Bring Our Brothers Home". The video was filmed at the Santa Monica Pier.
In 2008, Platinum MC Hammer was released by EMI Records. The compilation consists of 12 tracks from Hammer's previous albums, with a similar playlist as former "greatest hits" records (with the exception of including a remix of "Hammer Hammer, They Put Me In A Mix" which includes rap lyrics that "They Put Me In A Mix" originally did not). An import was released by Capitol Records.
Since his 2006 album, Hammer continued to produce music and released several other raps that appeared on his social websites (such as Myspace and Dancejam.com) or in commercials, with another album announced to be launched in late 2008 (via his own record label Fullblast Playhouse). Talks of the tour and a new album were expected in 2009.
"Getting Back to Hetton" was made public in 2008 as a digital single. It was a departure for Hammer, bringing in funky deep soul and mixing it with a more house style. Released through licence on Whippet Digital Recordings, media reviews were said to be "disappointing". However, the song "I Got Gigs" from this album was used in a 2009 ESPN commercial and performed during Hammertime (as well as played while he danced just prior to introducing Soulja Boy during YouTube Live on November 22, 2008).
Other tracks and videos from the album included: "I Go" (produced by Lil Jon), "Keep It In Vegas", "Lookin' Out The Window", "Dem Jeans" (by DASIT), "Stooge Karma Sutra" (by The Stooge Playaz) and "Tried to Luv U" (by DASIT featuring Pleasure Ellis).
In March 2009, M.C. Hammer and Vanilla Ice had a one-off concert in the McKay Events Center, Orem, Utah. This concert aided in the promotion of Hammer's new music and television show. During the concert (as shown during an episode of Hammertime), it was mentioned between the two rappers that this was their first headline show together in nearly 20 years, since the time when they were touring together at the peak of their hip-hop careers. Hammer said: "Contrary to popular belief, Ice and I are not only cool with each other, we are like long lost friends. I've known him since he was 16, before he had a record contract and before I had a record contract. It is a great reunion." Vanilla Ice, real name Robert Van Winkle, said: "It's like no time has passed at all. We set the world on fire back in the day - it gives me goose bumps to think about. The concert wouldn't have been so packed if it wasn't us together. I'm so happy right now, the magic is here."
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