The Funky Headhunter

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The Funky Headhunter
A sepia tone image of a man squatting down with his hands clasped, wearing a black toque, sunglasses, tank top, pants and shoes.
Studio album by Hammer
Released March 1, 1994 (1994-03-01)
Recorded 1993
Genre
Label
Producer
Hammer chronology
Too Legit to Quit
(1991)Too Legit to Quit1991
The Funky Headhunter
(1994)
Inside Out
(1995)Inside Out1995
Singles from The Funky Headhunter
  1. "Pumps and a Bump"
    Released: February 28, 1994 (1994-02-28)
  2. "It's All Good"
    Released: April 19, 1994 (1994-04-19)
  3. "Don't Stop"
    Released: July 4, 1994 (1994-07-04)

The Funky Headhunter is the fourth studio album and fifth overall official release by Hammer. The album was recorded in 1993 and released in early 1994.

The album at the time was hailed as Hammer's comeback album. As with some earlier songs such as "Crime Story" (from the album Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em),[1] the content and reality about "street life" remained somewhat the same, but the sound was different, resulting in Hammer losing favor with fans.[2] Nonetheless, this harder-edged, more aggressive record went platinum, but failed to win him a new audience among hardcore hip-hop fans.[3]

Production[edit]

In 1993, Hammer began recording this album. 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.

It was produced by innovative musicians and writers such as Teddy Riley (who had previously produced records for Guy, Blackstreet and Michael Jackson), The Whole 9, The Hines Brothers (Andra Hines and Dunkin Hines) and G-Bomb. It also featured Death Row Records head Suge Knight and Death Row recording artists Tha Dogg Pound.

Release and promotion[edit]

Hammer debuted the album and video for "Pumps and a Bump" two months before its release on The Arsenio Hall Show and finally released it in March. 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 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). [4]

"Pumps and a Bump" proved to be a controversial track on this album, somewhat affecting Hammer's image. However, the single peaked at number three 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.[5] This led to an alternative video being filmed (with Hammer fully clothed) that was directed by Bay Area native Craig S. Brooks.

"It's All Good", produced by The Whole 9, was the second single released on this album, and peaked on the record charts as follows: US number 46; US R&B number 14; US Rap number 3; UK number 52.

This album peaked at number two on the R&B charts and remained in the Top 30 midway through the year.[4] The album eventually reached number 12 on the Billboard 200 album chart[6] The album managed to become certified platinum.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[7]

AllMusic writer Ron Wynn said about the album overall, "Hammer's sound was leaner, his rapping tougher and more fluid, and his subject matter harder and less humorous."[7] In a review for Vibe, contributor Charles Aaron called it "one of the most stunning curios of pop marketing hubris ever perpetrated", criticizing Hammer's half-hearted attempts at dissing other rappers, and the tracks for utilizing the overused g-funk sound and lacking lyrical substance or even "a nifty turn of phrase."[8]

Track listing[edit]

Source:[9]

  1. "Intro"
  2. "Oaktown"
  3. "It's All Good" (response diss to Black Sheep & Redman)
  4. "Somethin' for the O.G's" (contains diss towards Run-D.M.C.)
  5. "Don't Stop"
  6. "Pumps and a Bump"
  7. "One Mo' Time"
  8. "Clap Yo' Hands"
  9. "Break 'Em Off Somethin' Proper" [featuring 2 Bigg MC & Suge Knight] (response diss to Q-Tip, Rodney-O, MC Serch, Black Sheep, Run-D.M.C., A Tribe Called Quest & Redman)
  10. "Don't Fight the Feelin'"
  11. "Somethin' Bout the Goldie In Me"
  12. "Sleepin' on a Master Plan" [featuring Tha Dogg Pound]
  13. "It's All That"
  14. "Funky Headhunter" (response diss to MC Serch, Q-Tip & Redman)
  15. "Pumps and a Bump (reprise: Bump Teddy Bump)"
  16. "Help Lord (Won't You Come)" [featured in Kingdom Come film]
  17. "Do It Like This" [EU Edition bonus track]
  18. "Heartbreaka (Is What They Call Me)" [EU Edition bonus track]

Samples[edit]

Break 'Em Off Somethin' Proper

Don't Fight the Feelin'

Don't Stop

It's All Good

Oaktown

Pumps and a Bump

Somethin' for the O.G.'s

References[edit]

  1. ^ Greg Sandow (February 16, 1990). "Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em | Music". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  2. ^ "MC Hammer - Crime Story Lyrics". MetroLyrics. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  3. ^ "MC Hammer - Upcoming Shows & Performances". Zvents. Archived from the original on 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
  4. ^ a b "The Funky Headhunter: Information from". Answers.com. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
  5. ^ "Bang Thy Head Carefully". San Francisco - News.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "MC Hammer Chart History". Billboard Magazine. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  7. ^ a b Wynn, Ron. "MC Hammer - The Funky Headhunter". AllMusic. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  8. ^ Aaron, Charles (April 1994). "Hammer". 2 (3). Vibe Media: 99–100. ISSN 1070-4701. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  9. ^ "Funky Headhunter: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved October 13, 2013.