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MC Hammer skyrocketed to fame in the late 80s and early 90s with a string of smash hits like “U Can’t Touch This” and “2 Legit 2 Quit”. Known almost as much for his flamboyant dance moves and iconic parachute pants as his music, Hammer has sold over 50 million records worldwide, making him one of rap’s most successful solo acts. After financial troubles and controversy later in his career, he is now focused on mentoring new talent and giving back through his ministry.

Introduction to MC Hammer

Stanley Kirk Burrell, known professionally as MC Hammer, was born on March 30, 1962 in Oakland, California. After a turbulent childhood, he found solace in music and dance, honing his skills through teenage years while holding down odd jobs.

Influenced by funk legends like Prince and Sly and the Family Stone, Hammer began incorporating flamboyant costumes and high-energy dancing into his performances. After independently releasing early rap single “Ring ‘Em”, he went mainstream in 1990 with multi-platinum album Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em and #1 single “U Can’t Touch This” – making him a global icon.

Musical Style and Influences

MC Hammer’s music fuses old school hip hop lyricism with elements of pop, funk and R&B for mass appeal. Heavily sampled grooves and synth melodies provide an upbeat, dancefloor-ready foundation for his rap delivery that ensured mainstream crossover success.

Hammer pulls from an eclectic range of musical influences. From a production standpoint he takes cues from the signature Bay Area funk sound via artists like Tower of Power, Rick James and Confunkshun. Vocalists like James Brown and Prince inspired his trademark adlibs and soulful wails.

Lyrically, Hammer considers himself a storyteller and party starter rather than a hardcore battle rapper. But pioneers like Kool Moe Dee and Melle Mel encouraged him to embrace his unique style and introduced more advanced rhyme schemes into his flow.

Discography and Labels

Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em remains Hammer’s best selling release, moving over 10 million units in the US. However he continued topping charts throughout the early 90s with albums like Too Legit to Quit (1991) and The Funky Headhunter (1994).

After his meteoric rise to fame with Capitol Records, Hammer launched his own Bust It Records label via distribution deal with EMI. He has since funneled artists like Ho Frat Hoo! and Oaktown’s 3.5.7 through this vanity imprint.

In the 2000s, Hammer returned from a career hiatus with albums Look Look Look (2006) and DanceJamtheMusic (2009) showcasing updated production with his signature fun vibe. He continues to record and release music independently today.

Collaborations and Performances

At his commercial peak, MC Hammer was one of rap’s most in-demand collaborators. Early high profile appearances came on Rick James’ 1990 smash “Dance Wit Me” (which he also choreographed) and “This is What We Do” from the Rocky V soundtrack.

Hammer also toured and collaborated frequently with other major rap stars, including joint College and Reality tours with Vanilla Ice and shows alongside Public Enemy. He later linked up with Jay-Z during more troubled financial times on songs “1st Rapper To…” and “Jigga.”

On the production front, Hammer has worked extensively with “U Can’t Touch This” creator Rick James and even landed a sample clearance from Godfather of Soul James Brown for “Dancin’ Machine”.

Recent music has seen fewer high profile team ups and more independent output as Hammer has focused efforts on philanthropy and mentoring emerging talent.

Personal Life and Other Ventures

A devoted family man, MC Hammer married wife Stephanie Fuller in 1985. They have five children together and live in Tracy, California near Hammer’s alma mater of San Jose State University. He is also an ordained minister and oversees several community programs aimed at social reform.

In addition to a lengthy rap career, Hammer has worked extensively as an actor, dancer, entrepreneur and investor at various stages. Some of his business and media ventures have included:

  • Oaktown Stable racing horses
  • Hits magazine focused on positive urban music
  • Multiple TV and film appearances (The Surreal Life, Check Please, etc.)
  • Dance influencer and instructor via DanceJam academy
  • Tech startup during the dot-com boom

Despite earning over $30 million per year at his early 90s peak, Hammer has endured tax troubles and bankruptcy over the years. However between ongoing music catalog sales, touring and other income streams, CelebrityNetWorth currently estimates his net worth at $2 million.

With a triumphant comeback still eluding him decades later, MC Hammer’s staying power relies more on touring nostalgia and his Bay Area legacy rather than chart dominance. Regardless, his catalog of party anthems cement his status as a true original in hip hop history.