MC Hammer (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Stanley Kirk Burrell (born March 30, 1962), better known by his stage name MC Hammer (and later simply Hammer), is an American rapper, dancer, entrepreneur, spokesman and occasional actor. He had his greatest commercial success and popularity from the late 1980s until the mid-1990s. Remembered for a rapid rise to fame, Hammer is known for his hit records (such as "U Can't Touch This" and "2 Legit 2 Quit"), flamboyant dance movements, choreography and trademark Hammer pants. Hammer's superstar-status and entertaining showmanship made him a household name and hip hop icon. He has sold more than 50 million records worldwide.
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 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, 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.
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". Vibes "The Best Rapper Ever Tournament" declared him the 17th favorite of all-time during the first round.
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, Common Unity, Special Generation, Analise, One Cause One Effect, Teabag, Dom Kimberley, Geeman, Pleasure Ellis, B Angie B, Stooge Playaz, Ho Frat Hoo! and Wee Wee, among others. A part of additional record labels, he has associated/collaborated/recorded with VMF, Tupac Shakur, Teddy Riley, Felton Pilate, Tha Dogg Pound, Whole 9, Deion Sanders, Big Daddy Kane, BeBe & CeCe Winans and Jon Gibson, as well as others. In 1992, Doug E. Fresh was signed to M.C. Hammer's Bust It Records label. In late 2012, Hammer appeared with PSY at the 40th American Music Awards and during Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest performing "Gangnam Style" and "Too Legit to Quit" together.
Stanley Kirk Burrell was born in Oakland, California, a son of 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. The future rapper 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 prestigious graded stakes.
The young Burrell sold stray baseballs and danced with a beatbox at the Oakland Coliseum parking lot to earn money for games sometimes. 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 sports 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:
Team players, including Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Pedro Garcia, also dubbed Burrell the nickname "Little Hammer" due to his resemblance to Aaron. Ron Bergman, at the time an Oakland Tribune writer who covered the A's, recalled that:
According to Hammer:
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 Navy for three years, serving with Patron (Patrol Squadron) Forty Seven (VP-47) of Moffett Field in Mountain View, California as a Petty Officer Third Class Aviation Store Keeper (AK3) until his honorable discharge.
Before Hammer's successful hip-hop career (with his mainstream popularity lasting approximately between 1988-1995) and his "rags-to-riches-to-rags-and-back saga", Burrell formed the Christian rap music group Holy Ghost Boys. Some songs produced were called "Word" and "B-Boy Chill". "This 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 by CCM's Jon Gibson (or "J.G."). This rap hit appeared on Gibson's album Change of Heart (1988) and "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 raps 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.
Feel My Power (1987)
Main article: Feel My Power
In the mid-80s 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 1986-1987 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 DJ played the track "Let's Get It Started" " 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, 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", as was quoted as saying in 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, which did not take long for Capitol to recoup its investment.
Let's Get It Started (1988)
Main article: Let's Get It Started (album)
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 "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em", a song that didn't make it on his next album, but did appear 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 sophomore effort.
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.
Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em (1990)
Main article: Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em
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 rap 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 "Have You Seen Her" (a cover of the Chi-Lites) 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.
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. 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." (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.
Too Legit to Quit (1991)
Main article: Too Legit to Quit
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 at 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 "Too Legit to 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.
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.
New venture with Oaktown/Giant Records (1992-1993)
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's band Con Funk Shun). She went on to work with artists such as Puff Daddy, Faith Evans, Notorious B.I.G, Mya, 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".
The Funky Headhunter and Prime Time (1994)
Main article: The Funky Headhunter
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, who also helmed the video of rap group DRS' only hit single "Gangsta Lean".
"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.
Inside Out, Death Row Records and Too Tight (1995-1996)
Main article: Inside Out (MC Hammer album)
In 1995, Hammer released the album V Inside Out (or inside out V), which critics claimed was unfocused, as it was unclear what genre it was. However, some critics praised the fact it was perhaps intentionally eclectic (combining elements of dance, pop, rap, hip hop, alternative rock and gospel). Nonetheless, 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).
Some claimed this album had not sold as well as its predecessors because it was victim of the "crab mentality". 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.
Return to EMI and Family Affair (1996-1998)
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 between about 100,000-500,000 copies worldwide. Nonetheless, it managed to rank #43 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts.
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.
The Hits and Active Duty (2000-2001)
Main article: Active Duty (MC Hammer album)
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.
Full Blast (2004)
Main article: Full Blast (album)
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.
Look Look Look and Platinum MC Hammer (2006-2008)
Main article: Look Look Look
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 (400,000 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 not present 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.