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December 14th, 2011

Please Hammer…

At the AV Club, Steven Hyden has written a solid piece on “U Can’t Touch This”, the 20-year-old hit from a young chap named MC Hammer. You might have heard of him. What I found interesting about Hyden’s article were two things. Well, more than two, but here are the two I really liked.


Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ’Em filled many banks full of money at a time when some of the most mind-blowingly great and timeless rap music was being made, which makes the record’s junkiness all the more mystifying. Even “Ice Ice Baby” is better wedding-reception cheese than “U Can’t Touch This.”

It really is, right? I haven’t thought of the two in that context.


But 20 years later, I think his story really remains more compelling than his videos, and his videos remain more compelling than his music. Perhaps that is why Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ’Em elicits difficult reactions from many of us hip-hop aesthetes of a certain age. He made us and our part of the world less invisible, but his work was too sugary to make us as proud as his triumphant success did.

Story trumps videos which trump music. Sounds about right, too.

Posted in Childhood Memories, Television, Movies, and Music

Ryan December 14, 2011, 1:23 pm

I remember really liking Hammer’s first video (“Turn Thus Mutha Out”) when I first saw it, but everything after that was a pretty embarrassingly obvious grab for commercial cred.

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