Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'em

M.C. Hammer

Capitol Records, 1990

REVIEW BY: Darren Paltrowitz


By now, I’m betting you -- the loyal reader of The Daily Vault -- have watched MC Hammer’s episode of VH1’s Behind The Music more than twice.  If not, well, it’s a sad but uncommon story in the music world.

Man grows up with little, man works hard, man gets a lot, man gives a lot so he can help those with little, but man gives too much.  His “based on a true story” VH1 movie told the same tale, of course, although I didn’t believe the angle about him and Tupac being best friends.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em, the first album I ever bought, is what took MC Hammer into the “man gets a lot” phase.  It yielded a massive five singles in the United States: “U Can’t Touch This,” “Have You Seen Her,” “Pray,” “Here Comes The Hammer” and “Yo! Sweetness.”  These five singles helped the album spend 21 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. Ultimately, it was the first hip-hop album to sell more than 10 million copies.

Listening back now, the album sounds like 1989 hip-hop in every way possible, with exception to “underground” folks like N.W.A. and Public Enemy. It’s focused on melody, it’s sampling artists of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, there’s little low-end…there is nothing threatening about this album. In fact, it’s as pop as can be. There’s not even a bad word to bleep out. By comparison, it makes hair-metal look like public enemy number one.

While I don’t envision listening to Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em in its entirety anytime this century, it is great nostalgia.  It reminds me of a time when rock music still prevailed. At the same point in time, the music industry was still on the rise and there were more than four record companies. Then again, in that same era, the Internet was not used for musical purposes and people were more force-fed by default. It is likely that force-feeding nature of MTV led to a hip-hop album like this spending 21 weeks at number one.

Whatever the case, I take great pride in the purchase of this cassette with my parents’ money at Caldor.  “U Can’t Touch This” is timeless by my standards.  I’ll take MC Hammer any day over just about any hip-hop artist.  Well, with the exception of N.W.A., Public Enemy, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, DJ Quik…oh, well, you get the point.

Rating: B+

User Rating: B



© 2007 Darren Paltrowitz and The Daily Vault. 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 informational purposes only.