Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em
|Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em|
|Studio album by MC Hammer|
|Released||February 12, 1990|
|Recorded||May 1988 – November 1989|
|MC Hammer chronology|
|Singles from Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em|
Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em is the third album (and second major-label release) by MC Hammer, released on February 12, 1990 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". 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.
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. 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. It remains one of the genre's all-time best-selling albums. To date, the album has sold as many as 22 million units.
- 1 Album details
- 2 Critical reaction
- 3 Impact in pop culture
- 4 Legal issues
- 5 Track listing
- 6 Samples
- 7 Charts and certifications
- 8 Film
- 9 See also
- 10 References
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, which was released February 12, 1990. 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. 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. [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"), 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) 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 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. It would go on to become the first hip-hop album to earn diamond status, selling more than 18 million units to date. The album increased the popularity of hip-hop music. It remains the genre's all-time best-selling album.
According to Guinness World Records of hit singles, the album cost just $10,000 to produce. 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".
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. 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.
Impact in pop culture
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.
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.
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.
|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|
Help the Children
Here Comes the Hammer
U Can't Touch This
She's Soft and Wet
Black Is Black
Charts and certifications
Sales and certifications
The Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em album was accompanied by a film, called Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em: The Movie (1990), which included footage used for many of M.C. Hammer's music videos from the album. 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.
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 Amazon.com and Blockbuster.com, along with The Making of Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em. 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). All projects were Capitol Records Productions.
- M.C. Hammer and Louis Burrell – Executive Producers
- Directed by Rupert Wainwright
- Produced by John Oetjen
- Choreography by M.C. Hammer
- Mark Yellen – Line Producer
- Terance Power – Supervising Producer
- Written by M.C. Hammer
- Screenplay by M.C. Hammer and Robert Andrus
- Music by M.C. Hammer
- Additional Music Score by Felton Pilate (making a cameo appearance in the film)
- Bill Zarchy – Director of Photography
- Dean Backer – Production Designer
- Editing by Jerry Behrens and M.C. Hammer
- Bustin' Productions and Capitol Records Presents / a Fragile Film Production / a Rupert Wainwright Film 
- List of best-selling albums in the United States
- List of number-one albums of 1990 (U.S.)
- List of number-one R&B albums of 1990 (U.S.)
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