HIP HOP OWES HAMMER A APOLOGY
I remember growing up and getting into Hip Hop for the first time back in 80s with my first introduction being to Too Short, Ice T, Run DMC, NWA and amongst others.I also remember when where I first seen MC Hammer for the first time on television for the first time and was blown away by dude’s performance. He has to be one of the greatest dancers I’ve ever seen! One of the key elements to made Hammer successful was that he knew exactly how to rock a crowd! Hammer knew how to carry that momentum into making hit records as his first album Cant Touch This sold a whopping 10 Million records across the globe. This was a first among hip hop and remains a record to this day. But this also generated alot of hatred from his peers.
Unlike alot of these wack ringtone rappers we have today whom got picked up over a catchy beat and a dumb hook, MC Hammer gets respect based off the fact that dude actually put in work to achieve his success. He was selling records out of his trunk all over California establishing his grind from the ground up, He went to every club to get his record played and performed at every spot. He was so talented with his dance moves that he was charging people on the block 100 dollars to see them! Hammer knew he had something special so he further increased his demand until he landed a deal. He had Record Companies in bidding wars until he signed what was perfect for him.
Even though Hammer sold Millions of records, Won numerous of awards, sold out venues all over the world, had his own cartoon and was even getting endorsements from big time companies such as Pepsi, and KFC. He was Hip Hop’s target for whats negative in Hip Hop and proceeded to becoming a whooping boy for artists and fans alike. Alot of his peers including Ice Cube, LL Cool J, 3rd Bass, and many others have publicly dissed Hammer on and off wax for being a sellout, being pop and being commercial(More on that in a minute).
Hammer was getting hate from everybody and it was only a matter of time before he was heading for a downfall as his fall off would be as quick as his rise. Another one of his main faults was taking care of people whom weren’t really appreciative of him. Hammer had a heart of gold and did what many of your favorite rappers wouldn’t do and thats reach back to his old friends in the neighborhood so he can take them out of the ghetto and put on his team. Whenever they be assistants, dancers, tour bus drivers, or Choreographers. Hammer wrote alot of checks and helped take care of their families
Sadly a lot of those ungrateful vultures took advantage of Hammer’s loyalty and sucked his pockets dry. They wouldn’t ride with Hammer when he hit hard financial times and eventually bailed out on him. He filed for bankruptcy in 1993 despite selling close to almost 25 million records within two albums. Hammer mistakened this for having 25 million dollars in his bank which is where he was deceived once again. Hammer ended up losing everything he worked hard for and his star within hip hop was fading fast. Death Row Records brought West Coast Gangsta Rap into the mainstream with their rebellious attitude and record sales flew through the roof. Suge Knight whom also was one of Hammer’s closest friends gave Hammer a record deal and signed him to Death Row. Hammer would even shed his squeaky clean dancing image into a more rough and harder gangsta image hoping to attract those Death Row fans.
The West Coast had the Rap Game in the choke-hold during that time and everybody period tried to jump on the gangsta rap bandwagon(Even RUN DMC). Even though his 2nd single Pumps in a Bumps ended up being a hit for him, It would always be more known for Hammer appearing in the video wearing SPEEDOS than his new gangsta sound. He sold out his core beliefs and values to keep up with the industry which rubbed alot of people whom followed him through the spiritual level(his church) the wrong way.
If you really look at it from a hindsight, P-Diddy was everything Hammer was in an artist sense only with more business savvy . He had shiny suits like Hammer, He wasn’t a great rapper and spent most of his career jacking popular tunes. The difference is what was the true elephant in the room: P Diddy was smart enough to make Biggie’s death the pinnacle of his success.
A lot of people are wondering what do I mean by that, What I mean is that Diddy did a convincing job of still making Biggie a priority to his career taking off-throughout 1997. Ever wondered why all of these so-called “Real Hip Hop heads” wasn’t giving Diddy the Hammer treatment? The truth was that Puff brainwashed everyone into believing that if you comment on how terrible his music was or how bad of a musician he really was that he is that you were doing nothing but player hating on him and if you’re doing that then you’re disrespecting the memory of Biggie. This Jedi Mind Trick is still evident today but on different levels.
Ushering into the millennium, All of these novelties to emerge to a level where they would make Hammer look like Big Daddy Kane or Rakim on the mic. This became what was considered a low period within quality in hip hop and furthered the sentiments of hip hop being dead. But for some odd reason they didn’t receive the backlash for any of this baffoonary whereas Hammer got backlash for music that wasn’t even as horrible as alot of this stuff out now.
Fast forward to today and you see artists jumping on EVERY opportunity to get heard, Whenever it’s doing Mcdonalds commercials, Right Guard commercials, Movie deals, doing Paris Hilton records, country records, Boost Mobile advertisements. The bottom line is that these guys are doing no more than what Hammer did in the 90s and thats try to get more money and exposure. Ice Cube couldn’t even talk about Hammer going commercial and selling out because technically wasn’t Cube directing or producing that Color Me Badd track Sex You Up a commercial move? At the end of the day all of these so-called real hip hop heads are out for the paper too.
So in closing, I feel that Hammer is owed an apology for his treatment by hip hop artists and fans alike. He’s was crucified by fans and peers alike for what many are doing today. The man was a great entertainer(He would still shut down the stage) and better than alot of these garbage musicians that are getting phrased nowadays. However Hammer is also to blame for his downfall as well. His luxurious spending, taking care of ungrateful people and pressure to stay relevant by selling his soul to the industry by becoming something he’s not is what did him. Even though his best days are over, Its great to see that he’s still in high spirits, He’s healthy and doing real well for himself nowadays.
Vic Da Ruler