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MC Hammer's Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em becomes just the second rap album to reach #1 in America (Licensed to Illby Beastie Boys was the first).
The album is a very accessible form of rap that makes an easy crossover to pop. Acts like Bobby Brown and Milli Vanilli have been incorporating rap into their tracks with tremendous success, but Hammer flips the formula, making his raps the basis for the vocals while using dance music samples and beats to carry the tracks.
The breakout hit is "U Can't Touch This," which gets the rapper on MTV with an iconic video that shows off his high-energy Hammer dancing (including his signature move: the Chinese typewriter). The party vibe becomes the basis for his live appearances, where dozens of dancers and hypemen join him on stage.
Hammer grew up in a rough neighborhood in Oakland, California. After becoming a batboy for the Oakland A's baseball team, he released his first album, Feel My Power, in 1987. Let's Get It Started was issued in 1988, and Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em followed in 1990, catapulting him to fame and making him unquestionably the most popular rapper in the world. His world tour fills arenas while more stalwart rap acts like Public Enemy perform in much smaller venues.
He burns through cash at an alarming rate, with huge payroll budgets and massive expenses for his next album, Too Legit To Quit. In 1996, he files for bankruptcy.
There is no stopping the rise of this rap/pop hybrid Hammer has wrought: the album spends a total of 21 weeks at #1, finally replaced by Vanilla Ice's To the Extreme.