Nobody could touch M.C. Hammer in the late-’80s/early ‘90s.
The Oakland rapper literally came out of nowhere and put his own personal stamp on pop music, both in music and fashion. M.C. Hammer really made some great music back in his heyday, and to give you an introduction of Hammer’s truly unique style, here are his 10 best songs ever.
1. “Too Late Playa”
In actuality a Tupac track, M.C. Hammer played a huge part in the creation of “Too Late Playa.” Though by the time “Too Late Playa” was released in 1996, it remains one of Hammer’s (and Pac’s) most underrated singles, and it’s failure to chart illustrate that sometimes we can miss great singles right under our noses.
2. “It’s All Good”
OK, some folks down M.C. Hammer’s (or “Hammer,” as he was known in 1994) The Funky Headhunter’s LP as a sellout to gangster rap, but in actuality, this was a solid record that contained “It’s All Good,” a track that provided the last hit of glory from his prime and should be counted as one of his best.
1992 was an interesting time for MC Hammer. He was in the process of changing his image, but he still retained the flash and style that defined his early career, and that sound was best presented in “This Is the Way We Roll,” which features Hammer’s iconic dance moves and a fun atmosphere that you can’t help but dance to.
4. “He Brought Me Out”
By 1997, Hammer had changed his career and gone the gospel route. Though none of his gospel material charted, his singles celebrating his new found religion weren't slouches, either. Case in point: “He Brought Me Out,’ which brought a funky flavor to the track and should have at least charted on the Gospel Charts.
5. “Addams Groove”
In 1991, Hammer’s popularity was just as high as it was in the late ‘80s, and that was enough for him to score the title tune for “The Addams Family” film. “Addams Groove” was Hammer in his greatest form, including all of his trademarks, from the raps to the dancing. “Addams Groove” went all the way to number seven on the Pop Charts, the last time any of his singles would visit the Top 10 on the Billboard Charts.
6. “Pump It Up”
It may be a forgotten relic today, but 1988’s “Pump It Up” was the single that established his reputation as a showman. The iconic dances and simplistic lyrics were established on this single, and it because his first track to hit the charts.
7. “Have You Seen Her”
The original Chi-Lites version of “Have You Seen Her” will forever be the best remembered track for the older generation. If you were born after that single became a smash hit in 1971, however, you may well remember Hammer’s version of this classic slow jam, which was his second single to hit the Top 10 of the pop charts. Fun fact: “Have You Seen Her” actually charted higher than “U Can’t Touch This,” Hammer’s most well-known single.
Way before Hammer went full gospel mode in the mid ‘90s, he always had time to praise the Lord. Many may not see his huge 1990 hit “Pray” as a gospel song, but that’s exactly what it was, and it was a glorious track indeed thanks to the sample of Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” one of the few tracks that Prince actually signed off on to be sampled by Hammer.
9. “2 Legit 2 Quit”
If it wasn’t for “U Can’t Touch This,” you could make a great argument that “2 Legit 2 Quit” could very well be Hammer’s finest outing. It’s bombastic and flashy, and that’s exactly how Hammer wanted it and what made this single so great.
10. “U Can’t Touch This”
Who cares that he sampled Rick James’ “Super Freak” without his permission to make this song? When you think of MC Hammer, this is the track that often comes to mind. That dancing, those lyrics, the energy: Everything that made Hammer a star was established on this track. “U Can’t Touch This” was more than a smash hit (and the first rap single to be nominated for Record of the Year honors at the Grammys): it was a phenomenon, one that will live on forever in popular music history. Sorry, Rick.