From the Vault...


M.c. Hammer
"Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em"

© Capitol Records

Year of Release: 1990

track listing
  • Here Comes
    The Hammer
  • U Can't Touch This
  • Have You Seen Her
  • Yo!! Sweetness
  • Help The Children
  • On Your Face
  • Dancin' Machine
  • Pray
  • Crime Story
  • She's Soft And Wet
  • Black Is Black
  • Lets Go Deeper
  • Work This

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    M.c. Hammer
    "Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em"

    "Can't Touch This..."

    That immortal catch line started a very successful career for M.C. Hammer in 1990, and it seems that Hammer's impact on his album Please Hammer Don't Hurt Em started Rap music full-tilt, even if his lyrics weren't very offensive. The bad news was that over time, Hammer became broke, and Rap music would have a greater impact, reflecting on more intriguing lyrics, regarding drugs, sex, and violence. Hammer was broke, started infomercial for real estate, and many just cannot stomach today's Rap.

    But back in 1990, Please Hammer Don't Hurt Em became a sensation, reaching #1 for an amazing 21 (non-consecutive) weeks. His dancesteps were seen everywhere on television, likewise "U Can't Touch This" was heard all over the radio, and everyone was reciting "U Can't Touch This" followed by the beginning rhythms of Rick James' "Super Freak."

    I seem to remember the beginning beats of "Here Comes The Hammer" used in commercials and/or sporting events. It's catchy, and being revised at the time, it does draw the attention for the rap fan to listen more. Rick James' career superlaunched again with his song "Super Freak" used in "U Can't Touch This." "Super Freak" has always been a classic, with or without Hammer's help. (It turned out that James sued Hammer for using "Super Freak" without consulting him first. It was settled out of court, with James as cowriter.) One of my favorite soul songs, orginally by Chicago's The Chi-Lites, Hammer's version of "Have You Seen Her" is just as great, with an updated 1990 rap touch. "Yo!! Sweetness" can be compared to Run DMC; it has a somewhat "innocent" style, yet the beginning stages of Rap music was just starting to settle with this particular sound.

    One item of rap music is how rap artists will sample or use a well-known song as its baseline in their songs. Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me" is used in "Help The Children," and it does well, with the soulful beats of Gaye's tune, with Hammer's original written lyrics. A combination of 1970s soul and Bobby Brown has "On Your Face" funky and groovin', yet "Dancin' Machine" maybe the least song to listen to, as it would start into a sound into what we now hear as today's Rap music.

    "Pray" received some heavy radio airplay, sampling Prince's piano from "When Doves Cry." As energetic as it is, this style of Rap music would be pushed to its limits in the 1990s decade and beyond. "Crime Story" paved the way for Run DMC's style, and the lyrics could have just started something with reference to guns and violence, something we commonly hear in today's music.

    Prince's "Soft And Wet" is used as the baseline in "She's Soft And Wet", and of course, another common storyline in today's Rap music is sex, yet Hammer doesn't specifically doesn't use suggestive sex lyrics, but anyone can put two and two together in listening to this song. "Black Is Black" refers to the black movement, using James Brown's "Say it loud" (I'm black and I'm proud). "Let's Go Deeper" showcases the future of rap, and another group's style, The Beastie Boys, likewise the album's closing number, "Work This".

    M.C. Hammer most likely put Rap back on the map, with his dancestyled shows, and updating Rap music in many ways, to shape it and mold into today's most popular source of music. Sad to say, Hammer became bankrupt in 1997, and seeing a once-superstar on late-night informercial television, does make one wonder, that even though a person can have tons of money, it cannot bring happiness, unless the money is handled more professionally. We've heard having all that money will lead to foolishness, but if invested correctly, maybe, just maybe $$$ can bring happiness. In Hammer's case it didn't, and viewing his television biography, Hammer announced he would like to make a comeback. It's been years since that announcement, we have yet to see if Hammer can "Hurt Em" one more time.

    © All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol Records and is used for reference purposes only.

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    Paul Mccartney--Flaming Pie