In 1993, Hammer began recording The Funky Headhunter. To adapt to the changing landscape of hip-hop, the album was a more aggressive sounding album. He co-produced this record with funky rapper and producer, Stefan Adamek. While Hammer's appearance changed to keep up with the gangsta rap audience, his lyrics still remained honest and somewhat clean with minor swearing. Yet, on this album as with previous records, Hammer would continue to call out other rappers who had dissed him.
"Pumps and a Bump" proved to be a controversial track on this album, somewhat affecting Hammer's image. However, the single peaked at #3 on the US Rap charts. It was banned from heavy rotation on MTV with censors claiming that the depiction of Hammer in Speedos (and with what appeared to be an erection) was too graphic. This led to an alternative video being filmed (with Hammer fully clothed) that was directed by Bay Area native Craig S. Brooks, who also helmed the video of rap group DRS' only hit single "Gangsta Lean".
During a mid-1990s appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show, talk show host Arsenio Hall said to Hammer, "Women in the audience want to know, what's in your Speedos in the 'Pumps and a Bump' video?" A clip from the video was then shown, to much approval from the audience. Hammer didn't give a direct answer, but instead laughed. Arsenio Hall then said, "I guess that's why they call you 'Hammer.' It ain't got nothin' to do with Hank Aaron" (which refers to the fact that Hammer was nicknamed after Aaron).