U Can't Touch This
Two-time Grammy award-winning rapper MC Hammer (later known as Hammer), born Stanley Kirk Burrel, reached the zenith of his hip-hop career during the late 1980s to early 1990s. His first album with Capitol Records, “Let's Get It Started” (1988), which produced the R&B/Hip-Hop hit “Turn This Mutha Out,” sold more than three million copies. However, he is perhaps best-recalled for the diamond “Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em” (1991), which spawned the popular singles “U Can't Touch This,” “Have You Seen Her” and “Pray.” Following the multi-platinum “Too Legit to Quit” (1991), Hammer's career gradually declined. Subsequent albums, “The Funky Headhunter” (1994) and “Inside Out” (1995) were flops and this, combined with his lavish lifestyle, led Hammer to file for bankruptcy in 1996. He maintained his presence in the music industry by releasing “Family Affair” (1998), “Active Duty” (2001), “Full Blast” (2003) and “Look Look Look” (2006), but none rose to the same success as his first three records. Aside from his musical career, Hammer, who was once named one of VH1's “50 Greatest Hip Hop Artists,” is also an occasional actor and television host.
Married to Stephanie Fuller since 1985, Hammer is the father of six children.
Childhood and Family:
Stanley Kirk Burrell, who would later be famous as MC Hammer, was born on March 30, 1962, in Oakland, California, where he graduated from McClymonds High School. He grew up in a very religious family and as a teenager, joined the religious rap group The Holy Ghost Boys. However, he did not consider music as a professional career until after leaving the Navy. An aspiring baseball player, Hammer began his three-year military service after high school when he failed to sign with a professional baseball organization. Previously, he was a batboy for the Oakland Athletics (1972-1980) and use to entertain the fans by dancing during breaks in the games. It was during that period that he got the nickname “Little Hammer” for his childhood likeness to baseball legend “Hammerin” Hank Aaron.
On December 21, 1985, Hammer married Stephanie Fuller. They have six children, A'Keiba, Jamaris, Sarah, Stanley, Jeremiah and Samuel. Currently, he and his family reside in Tracy, California.
Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em
MC Hammer got his early musical experience as a teenager when he performed with the religious rap group The Holy Ghost Boys. After leaving the Navy, the former batboy for the Oakland Athletics baseball team decided to pursue music professionally and soon found himself performing in local clubs. With financial support from several Athletics players, he also had the opportunity to start his own record label, Bust It.
Hammer's first album, “Feel My Power,” was released independently in 1987. Produced by Felton Pilate, it was regarded a success and subsequently put Hammer on the radar of major labels. After signing with Capitol Records, Hammer reissued “Feel My Power” in 1988 for the label under the title “Let's Get It Started.” The album spawned several R&B/Hip-Hop hits, most notably “Turn This Mutha Out,” and eventually received triple-platinum certification.
Hammer's true major breakthrough, however, did not arrive until the following year when he released the highly successful sophomore effort “Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em.” A smash hit, the album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and stayed in the position for 21 weeks. The lead single, “U Can't Touch This,” rose to No. 8 on Billboard's Hot 100 and received heavy airplay on radio and MTV during 1990 and eventually brought Hammer two Grammys for Best R&B Song and Best Solo Rap Performance. It was followed by a cover of the Chi-Lites' “Have You Seen Her” and “Pray,” which peaked at No. 4 and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively. With the success of the singles, “Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em” went diamond, marking it the first hip-hop album to attain the spot, and became the biggest-selling album of the year. He solidified his growing status by touring extensively in Europe.
Despite the massive success, Hammer became the subject of criticism, but in spite of the criticism, was also given his own Saturday morning cartoon show called “Hammerman” (1991).
For his third album, “Too Legit to Quit,” Hammer dropped the “MC” from his name and applied more instrumentation. Released in October 1991 and although it was not as successful as its predecessor, the record managed to reach the Top 5 on the Billboard 200 and went triple-platinum. Its title track was a hit in America and reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album also consisted of the singles “Adams Groove” and “2 Legit 2 Quit,” both of which were included in the soundtrack of the film “The Addams Family” (1991).
Hammer took some time off from recording and made his way back in 1994 with “The Funky Headhunter.” The more hostile album went gold, but failed to gain Hummer new listeners among hardcore hip-hop lovers. He followed it up the following year with “Inside Out,” which marked his return to clean pop look. The record, however, was also a dud and only reached No. 119 on the Billboard chart.
During his glory days, Hammer became known for his lavish lifestyle that was also shown in his stage shows, and by 1996, he had filed for bankruptcy and lost his mansion. Led by the crisis, Hammer reconsidered his religious life and began to write new material concerning spiritualism and family issues. The “Family Affair” album was launched in 1998, but because of it poor reception, was not released nationally.
After several years’ hiatus, Hammer resurfaced in 2001 with his new album, “Active Duty,” a patriotic-themed record released under his own WorldHit label. Producing the singles “No Stoppin' Us (USA),” and “Pop Yo Collar,” the album was also a flop. Since then, he has released “Full Blast” (2003), anther disappointment, and “Look Look Look” (2006), which sold 300,000 copies internationally.
Since 1997, Hammer has also pursued a pastoral career. In addition to having a TV show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, he has performed at the celebrity weddings of actor Corey Feldman and Susie Sprague as well as Mötley Crüe's Vince Neil and Lia Gerardini in 2002 and 2005, respectively. He also appeared as an actor in such films as “One Tough Bastard” (1995), “Cheyenne” (1996), “Deadly Rhapsody” (2001) and more recently, “Finishing the Game: The Search for a New Bruce Lee”(2007). On the small screen, in addition to voicing Stanley Burrell/Hammerman in the 1991 animated series “Hammerman,” he hosted a 1991 episode of “Saturday Night Live” and the 1993 miniseries “Story of a People” as well as appeared in the made-for-TV film “The Right Connections” (1997).
Razzie: Worst Original Song, “The Addams Family,” 1992
Grammy: Best Music Video - Long Form, “Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em: The Movie,” 1991
Grammy: Best R&B Song, “U Can't Touch This,” 1990
Grammy: Best Solo Rap Performance, “U Can't Touch This,” 1990