It’s “Hammertime” in San Bernardino when the man who first brought rap music into the mainstream takes center stage Sept. 11 at the California Theatre of the Performing Arts, 562 W. Fourth St.
Presented by the City of San Bernardino Economic Development Agency, MC Hammer in concert is the first show of the fall season at the historic and landmark theater in downtown San Bernardino.
Tickets are $19 to $49, and are available through www.ticketmaster.com, www.livenation.com, or the theater box office at (909) 885-5152.
Known as much for his flashy wardrobe, especially his trademark baggy parachute pants, as his immense talents as a dancer and showman, MC Hammer’s second album, “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em,” became the best-selling rap album of the time.
Born Stanley Kirk Burrell in Oakland in 1962, he was a bat/ball boy for the Oakland Athletics, where he entertained fans by dancing during breaks in the game, and earned the nickname “Hammer” for his resemblance to baseball legend “Hammerin” Hank Aaron. He became interested in hip-hop when he returned to civilian life after a stint in the U.S. Navy, and formed his own record label called Bust It. He recorded the album “Fell My Power” in 1987 with ex-Con Funk Shun mastermind Felton Pilate producing.
Capitol Record later signed him to a multi-album deal; his first release was a revamped version of his first album retitled “Let’s Get It Started.” The album, with the hit “Turn This Mutha Out,” went double platinum. But it was MC Hammer’s 1990 follow-up album, “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em” that launched his career into the stratosphere. It’s first single, “U Can’t Touch This,” was an instant smash hit and went on to win two Grammys (Best R&B Song and Best Solo Rap Performance). MC Hammer’s next two singles, “Have You Seen Her (a cover of the ‘70s song by the Chi-Lites) and “Pray” (built on the keyboard hook from “When Doves Fly” by Prince) followed “U Can’t Touch This” into the Top 10.
Sales of “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em” passed the 10 million mark and make it the No. 1 Album of the Year. He released the album “Too Legit To Quit” in 1991. Although it wasn’t as successful as “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em,” the title track was a hit and the album still sold more than three million copies. “The Funky Headhunter” (1994) featured the singles “Pumps and a Bump” and “It’s All Good.” In 1995 he released “Inside Out.” Other albums include “Family Affair (1998), “Active Duty” (2001), “Full Blast” (2003), “Look Look Look (2006), and DanceJamtheMusic (2008).
MC Hammer became a preacher in the late 1990s, was a television show host and dance judge. In 2008 he co-created a dance web site called DanceJam. In 2009, Hammer’s own reality show, called Hammertime,” aired on A & E Network. This summer he started a mixed martial arts management company, Alchemist Management.