MC Hammer was born as Stanley Kirk Burrell in Oakland, in 1962. He was one of nine children living out of a small home in the East Oakland projects.
At the age of eleven, he would hang out outside the stadium of the Oakland A’s. Hammer would dance and sell baseballs he had found around the area. This got him the attention of the team owner, Charles Finley. Finley liked Hammer’s energy and gave him a job in the clubhouse. He had the task of giving information to Finley, so many players started calling him the “Pipeline.”
One other nickname came from this period that would change his life. Stanley looked like all-star baseball player Hank Aaron. Reggie Jackson would call him Hammer since Aaron’s nickname was “The Hammer.” As you know by now, this name stuck, and Hammer ran with it.
Hammer started performing more often after 3 years in the navy. During that time, he nearly garnered a record deal, but it fell through. This gave him the urge to forge his own way forward. He approached some of the baseball players he knew and received loans of $20,000 from both Dwayne Murphy and Mike Davis. This allowed him to start a record label called Bust It Productions. This led to another company named Bustin’ Records, making Hammer a CEO.
This is where Hammer’s trajectory turned skyward. He had made an album named Feel My Power and it was getting some attention. This led to a record deal with big-name Capitol Records for almost $2 million. He released an album named Let’s Get it Started which sold a couple million copies. Next, his fame would balloon upon the 1990 release of Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em.
At this time Hammer began facing some financial trouble due to overspending on his music videos a lawsuit by by Rick James for his very direct sampling of Super Freak on U Can’t Touch This, which was settled out of court.
MC Hammer as a Business Consultant
During his fame and especially when it dwindled, Hammer increasingly became involved with business. Most notably he has been involved in the tech business. Along with MC Hammer’s music, he rode the waves of the latest trends.
He went to visit Youtube’s offices when it first came into existence. He was enthralled with the chance to offer video content to his fans directly, without record labels or MTV altering the creative process. Likewise he visited Twitter when it was new to the social media landscape. He saw it as a unique way for fans to connect directly with musicians, including things as specific as influencing the songs played at a concert. He currently has over 3.5 million twitter followers.
MC Hammer invested in and cofounded Dancejam.com in 2007. It is a video sharing site for dancers to share dance moves and rate each other’s dances. Hammer even jumps in to rate videos at times.
In 2010, Hammer started involving himself in the business of MMA. He started a management company named Alchemist Management. It manages around a dozen fighters. It has recently branched out into a clothing line as well.
Hammer even tried to popularize a new search engine named WireDoo. The plan was for it to compete with Google and give even more intuitive search results. Unfortunately, it was a failure in beta testing.
What is he doing today?
Currently, MC Hammer consults with over 10 companies on how to succeed in social media. He has always enjoyed tech and has involved himself in it since 1994. However, what has brought him deeper into the tech industry is their acceptance of him despite his failures. When he went broke in the late 90s, most people wrote him off. The tech industry is not like that. They were willing to listen to him for his insights, even if he made some mistakes. Hammer is truly a man that shows you it isn’t about how many times you fall, it’s about how many times you have stood back up.