Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em

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Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em
Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em.jpg
Studio album by MC Hammer
Released February 12, 1990 (1990-02-12)
Recorded May 1988 – November 1989
Length 59:04
  • Big Louis Burrell
  • MC Hammer
  • Scott Folks
MC Hammer chronology
Let's Get It Started
(1988)Let's Get It Started1988
Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em
Too Legit to Quit
(1991)Too Legit to Quit1991
Singles from Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em
  1. "U Can't Touch This"
    Released: January 13, 1990
  2. "Have You Seen Her"
    Released: March 16, 1990
  3. "Pray"
    Released: August 21, 1990
  4. "Turn This Mutha Out"
    Released: November 2, 1991

Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em is the third album (and second major-label release) by MC Hammer, released on February 12, 1990[1] by Capitol Records. The album was produced, recorded, and mixed by Felton Pilate and James Earley.

The album ranked number one for 21 weeks on the Billboard 200, due primarily to the success of the single "U Can't Touch This".[2] The song has been and continues to be used in many movies and television shows to date, and appears on soundtrack/compilation albums as well. Likewise, the album saw longevity on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart at number one because it peaked there for 28 weeks.[3]

Hammer, being good friends with Arsenio Hall, was invited to first perform "U Can't Touch This" prior to its release, on The Arsenio Hall Show in late 1989.[4] He also performed "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em", a song that didn't make it on this album, but did appear in his movie by the same name.

The album singles released all proved to be successful on radio and video television, with "U Can't Touch This", "Pray", "Have You Seen Her", "Here Comes the Hammer" and "Yo!! Sweetness" (UK only) all charting. The album raised rap music to a new level of popularity. It was the first hip-hop album certified diamond by the RIAA for sales of over ten million.[5] It remains one of the genre's all-time best-selling albums.[6] To date, the album has sold as many as 22 million units.[7][8][9][10]

Album details[edit]

Notorious for dissing rappers in his previous recordings, Hammer appropriately titled his third album (and second major-label release) Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em,[11] which was released February 12, 1990.[12][13] It included the successful single "U Can't Touch This" (which sampled Rick James' 1981 "Super Freak"). It was produced, recorded, and mixed by Felton Pilate and James Earley on a modified tour bus (while on tour) in 1989.[14] Despite heavy airplay and a #27 chart debut, "U Can't Touch This" stopped at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart because it was released only as a twelve-inch single.[15] [clarification needed] However, the album was a #1 success for 21 weeks, due primarily to this single, the first time ever for a rap recording on the pop charts. The song has been and continues to be used in many movies and television shows to date, and appears on soundtrack and compilation albums as well.

Follow-up successes included "Have You Seen Her" (a cover of the Chi-Lites) and "Pray" (a beat sampled from Prince's "When Doves Cry" and Faith No More's "We Care a Lot"),[16] which was his biggest hit in the US, peaking at #2. "Pray" was also a major UK success, peaking at #8. The album was notable for sampling other high-profile artists and gave some of these artists a new fanbase. "Dancin' Machine" sampled The Jackson 5, "Help the Children" (also the name of an outreach foundation Hammer started)[17] interpolates Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)", and "She's Soft and Wet" also sampled Prince's "Soft and Wet". All of these songs proved to be successful on radio and video television, with "U Can't Touch This," "Pray" (most successful), "Have You Seen Her," "Here Comes the Hammer," and "Yo!! Sweetness" (UK only) all charting.

During 1990, Hammer appeared in one of the final episodes of the MTV game show Remote Control as an announcer.[18] He also toured extensively in Europe which included a sold-out concert at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. With the sponsorship of PepsiCo International, Pepsi-Cola CEO Christopher A. Sinclair went on tour with him during 1991. By June 1991, the album sold 14.5 million copies worldwide.[19] It would go on to become the first hip-hop album to earn diamond status, selling more than 18 million units to date.[6][20][21] The album increased the popularity of hip-hop music. It remains the genre's all-time best-selling album.[22]

According to Guinness World Records of hit singles, the album cost just $10,000 to produce.[23] The video for "Here Comes the Hammer" proved to be the most expensive video on this album, Hammer's second most expensive behind "Too Legit to Quit".[24][25][26]

The album's liner notes contains a "Special dedication to the victims of the California earthquake of 1989 and the victims of Hurricane Hugo".

Critical reaction[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[6]
Entertainment Weekly A−[27]
RapReviews (5/10)[11]
Robert Christgau (choice cut)[28]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[16]

A critical backlash began over the repetitive nature of his lyrics, his clean-cut image, and his perceived over-reliance on using hooks from other artists for the basis of his singles—criticisms that were also directed at his contemporary, Vanilla Ice. He was mocked in music videos by 3rd Bass, The D.O.C., DJ Debranz, and Ice Cube. Oakland hip-hop group Digital Underground mocked him in the CD insert of its Sex Packets album when placing his picture in with the other members and referring to him as an unknown derelict. LL Cool J mocked him in "To tha Break of Dawn," a track on his Mama Said Knock You Out album, calling Hammer an "amateur, swinging a Hammer from a bodybag [his pants]," and saying, "My old gym teacher ain't supposed to rap." (LL Cool J would later compliment and commend Hammer's abilities/talents on VH-1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop, which aired in 2008.)

However, Ice-T came to Hammer's defense on his 1991 album O.G. Original Gangster: "A special shout-out to my man M.C. Hammer: a lot of people dis you, man, but they just jealous." Ice-T later explained that he had nothing against people who were pop-rap from the start, as Hammer had been, but only against emcees who switch from being hardcore or "dirty" to being pop-rap so they can sell more records.

Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em was also criticized for its sampling of other musicians' songs.[16] The album sampled high-profile artists and gave some of these artists a new fanbase as a result. "U Can't Touch This" sampled "Super Freak" by Rick James; "Dancin' Machine" sampled the Jackson 5; "Have You Seen Her" is a semi-cover of The Chi-Lites song; "Help the Children" interpolates Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)"; "Pray" and "She's Soft and Wet" sample the Prince songs "When Doves Cry" and "Soft and Wet" respectively.

Despite the criticisms, MC Hammer's career continued to be highly successful including tours in Asia, Europe, Australia, and Russia. Soon after, MC Hammer Mattel dolls, lunchboxes, and other merchandise were marketed. He was also given his own Saturday morning cartoon, called Hammerman, which he hosted and voiced.[29]

Impact in pop culture[edit]

The album title was often used as a chant by the crowd during live performances. ("Please, Hammer, don't hurt 'em..."!) Additionally, "Hammer Time" (from the track "U Can't Touch This") became a major pop culture phrase and used in many television shows and movies, eventually becoming Hammer's nickname and the title of his own reality show called Hammertime. "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em" (featuring vocals by Teddy Riley) was a track used in Hammer's film by the same name. However, the song was never released as a single.

The song "U Can't Touch This" has been used in many shows and movies, such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990), Hot Shots! (1990), The Super (1991), Doogie Howser, M.D. (1992), Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996), Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003), Into the Wild (2007), Tropic Thunder (2008), Dancing with the Stars (2009), Glee (2010) and many more.

Additionally, during this time, "This Is What We Do" was a 1990 track released by Hammer (featuring B Angie B) for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film and soundtrack. Other songs from this album featured in shows and/or film were "Pray" (License to Wed) and "Let's Go Deeper" (Beverly Hills, 90210), among others.

Legal issues[edit]

Rick James sued Hammer for infringement of copyright on the song "U Can't Touch This", but the suit was settled out of court when Hammer agreed to credit James as co-composer, effectively cutting James in on the millions of dollars the record was earning. Hammer was also sued by a former producer, Felton Pilate (who is also a member of the successful R&B band, Con Funk Shun) and by several of his former backers, and faced charges that performance troupe members endured an abusive, militaristic atmosphere.[30]

In 1992, Hammer also admitted in depositions and court documents to getting the idea for the song "Here Comes the Hammer" from a Christian recording artist in Dallas, Texas named Kevin Christian. Christian had filed a US$16 million lawsuit against Hammer for copyright infringement for his song entitled "Oh-Oh, You Got The Shing". This fact compounded with witness testimony from both Hammer's and Christian's entourages and other evidence including photos brought about a settlement with Capitol Records in 1994. The terms of the settlement remain sealed. Hammer settled with Christian the following year.[31][32]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Here Comes the Hammer" MC Hammer 4:32
2. "U Can't Touch This" James & Miller 4:17
3. "Have You Seen Her" (The Chi-Lites cover) Acklin & Record 4:42
4. "Yo!! Sweetness" MC Hammer 4:36
5. "Help the Children" Gaye, MC Hammer 5:17
6. "On Your Face" (Earth, Wind & Fire cover) Bailey, Stepney, White 4:32
7. "Dancin' Machine" (The Jackson 5 cover) Davis, Fletcher, Parks 2:55
8. "Pray" MC Hammer, Prince, Gould, Bottum 5:13
9. "Crime Story" MC Hammer 5:09
10. "She's Soft and Wet" MC Hammer, Moon, Prince 3:25
11. "Black Is Black" MC Hammer 4:31
12. "Let's Go Deeper" MC Hammer 5:16
13. "Work This" MC Hammer 5:03


Work This

Help the Children

Here Comes the Hammer


U Can't Touch This

Yo!! Sweetness

She's Soft and Wet

Black Is Black

Charts and certifications[edit]


The Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em album was accompanied by a film, called Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em: The Movie (1990),[63] which included footage used for many of M.C. Hammer's music videos from the album.[64] The long form music video movie is about a rapper, played by Hammer himself, returning to his hometown and defeating a drug lord who is using kids to traffic his product. Along with his dance tunes being featured, he also plays a preacher character.


The film starred M.C. Hammer as himself and as "Reverend Pressure". It also featured Juice Sneeed, Keyon White, Joe Mack and Davina H'Ollier. Michele Jennings appeared as one of the dancers.[65]

Plot summary[edit]

A story, featuring music from Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em, about Hammer returning to his home of Oakland, California to confront a drug pusher who is victimizing his old neighborhood.

Music awards[edit]

The movie won Hammer, Rupert Wainwright (director) and John Oetjen (video producer) a Grammy Award for Best Music Video, Long Form at the 33rd Grammy Awards.[66]

Besides Hammer, music talent included Ho Frat Hoo! (1991 MTV Video Music Awards Best Choreography in a Video winner for "Pray (Jam the Hammer Mix)" along with Hammer), Torture, Special Generation and One Cause One Effect.


Originally released on VHS (on July 1, 1991), the movie can now be found on YouTube or purchased online through services such as and, along with The Making of Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em.[67] Additional VHS releases (each approximately 60 minutes of Hammer's music videos) during this time were: Hammer Time (1990) and Here Comes the Hammer (1991).[68] All projects were Capitol Records Productions.[69]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MSN Music entry for Please Hammer Don't Hurt Em". Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  2. ^ MC Hammer. "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em: Information from". Retrieved 2012-04-10. 
  3. ^ "Please Hammer Don't Hurt Em". Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  4. ^ "article". 
  5. ^ "article". Archived from the original on 2009-02-01. 
  6. ^ a b c "Allmusic review". 
  7. ^ "article". 
  8. ^ "article". June 24, 2001. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  9. ^ "article". 
  10. ^ "article". Archived from the original on 2012-07-15. 
  11. ^ a b "MC Hammer :: Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em :: Capitol Records". 2008-06-24. Retrieved 2010-03-31. 
  12. ^ "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em" (track listing). MTV. 
  13. ^ "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em" (track listing). Billboard. 
  14. ^ "MC Hammer: Biography from". Retrieved 2010-03-31. 
  15. ^ Billboard Hot 100 charts: 1990 Each week's chart has a key for a single's format availability (CD, cassette, etc.). Scroll down to any week where "U Can't Touch This" is on the Hot 100, and it will reflect that only a 12-inch single is available.
  16. ^ a b c Corcoran, Michael (1990-05-17). "MC Hammer: Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2007-10-21. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  17. ^ "Recent Press Releases". Retrieved 2010-03-31. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Hammer Times". The Los Angeles Times. 1991-06-06. 
  20. ^ CHRISTOPHER JOHN FARLEY (2001-06-24). "Rap's Teen Idols Return". TIME. Retrieved 2012-04-10. 
  21. ^ Cassidy, John. "The Talk of the Town: Under the Hammer". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2012-04-10. 
  22. ^ "MC Hammer Biography". Archived from the original on 2012-07-15. 
  23. ^ "Music Feats". 
  24. ^ Farber, Jim (March 8, 1991). "article". 
  25. ^ "article". 
  26. ^ "article". 
  27. ^ Sandow, Greg (1990-06-08). "MC Hammer: Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2017-08-03. 
  28. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: MC Hammer". Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  29. ^ MC Hammer To Perform At Reds Game SB-Nation
  30. ^ "MC Hammer: Biography from". Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  31. ^ "Songwriter claims Hammer stole his song: sues him. (Muhammad Bilal Abdullah)". Jet. February 1, 1993. 
  32. ^ Weitz, Matt (February 26, 1998). "Hammered". Dallas Observer. 
  33. ^ " – MC Hammer – Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'em". Hung Medien.
  34. ^ " – MC Hammer – Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'em" (in German). Hung Medien.
  35. ^ "Billboard Magazine". Billboard. Retrieved July 30, 2017. 
  36. ^ "RPM 100 Albums". RPM. archived at Library and Archives Canada (Volume 52, No. 14). 18 August 1990. Retrieved 26 July 2017. 
  37. ^ " – MC Hammer – Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'em" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  38. ^ source: Pennanen, Timo: Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972. Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava, 2006. ISBN 9789511210535. page: 280
  39. ^ "Tous les Albums de l'Artiste choisi". InfoDisc. Retrieved July 26, 2017. 
  40. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Knstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche -". 
  41. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ – Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége". Retrieved 26 July 2017. 
  42. ^ "Irish Charts". Irish Charts. Retrieved July 27, 2017. 
  43. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  44. ^ " – MC Hammer – Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'em". Hung Medien.
  45. ^ " – MC Hammer – Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'em". Hung Medien.
  46. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  47. ^ " – MC Hammer – Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'em". Hung Medien.
  48. ^ " – MC Hammer – Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'em". Hung Medien.
  49. ^
  50. ^ a b "MC Hammer Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  51. ^ * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: albums chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
  52. ^ "MC Hammer | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart.
  53. ^ Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade – The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s. Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  54. ^ "Chart Stats – MC Hammer". Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. 
  55. ^ a b c d e " – Artist Chart History – MC Hammer". Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  56. ^ "Austrian album certifications – M.C. Hammer – Please Hammer" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter M.C. Hammer in the field Interpret. Enter Please Hammer in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  57. ^ "Canadian album certifications – MC Hammer – Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em". Music Canada. 
  58. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (M.C. Hammer; 'Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  59. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (MC Hammer; 'Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'em')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. 
  60. ^ "British album certifications – MC Hammer – Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em in the search field and then press Enter.
  61. ^ "American album certifications – MC Hammer – Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  62. ^ "The 10 Best Selling Rap Albums Of All Time In USA". Southpaw – Supporting Eminem. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  63. ^ "MC-Hammer-Please-Hammer-Don-t-Hurt-em-The-Movie - Trailer - Cast - Showtimes -". Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  64. ^ "article". 
  65. ^ "Michele L. Jennings – TV Celebrities". ShareTV. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  66. ^ "Rupert Wainwright – Director". Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  67. ^ "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em: The Movie (1990)". Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  68. ^ "Please Hammer: Don't Hurt 'Em [VHS]: Mc Hammer: Movies & TV". 1991-07-01. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  69. ^ "Movie Mashup". Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  70. ^ "Please Hammer don't hurt 'em [videorecording] / Bust It Productions presents a Fragile Films Production of a Rupert Wainwright film. – Item Details – Chicago Public Library". 2007-02-07. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  71. ^ "Hammer Time : When Big Money Comes Down From His Son, Lewis Burrell's Dream Sees the Light of Day – Los Angeles Times". 2007-05-20. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
Preceded by
I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got by Sinéad O'Connor
Billboard 200 number-one album
June 9–29, 1990
July 7 – November 9, 1990
Succeeded by
Step By Step by New Kids on the Block