*The MC Hammer era in hip hop kicked into high gear on this day in 1990, when his third album, “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em,” started its record breaking 21-week run at the top of the U.S. album charts. It’s the longest uninterrupted reign of any album since the album charts became a thing.
Let’s run the numbers before we typewriter-dance down memory lane.
Produced by Felton Pilate and James Earley, “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em” was the first rap album to be certified diamond by the RIAA, meaning 10 million units sold in the U.S. To date, the album has sold more than 17 million copies worldwide. And all of the album’s singles – “U Can’t Touch This,” “Pray,” “Have You Seen Her,” “Here Comes the Hammer” and “Yo!! Sweetness” (released in the UK) – charted.
There were two singles released before “U Can’t Touch This.” “Help the Children,” released Jan. 10, 1990, and “Dancin’ Machine” the following month.
Then in April, with its infectious sample of Rick James’ “Superfreak,” “U Can’t Touch This” dropped. But because it released only as a 12-inch single, the song went no higher than No. 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Hammer followed that up in the summer of 1990 with “Have You Seen Her,” a cover of the Chi-Lites classic; and “Pray,” powered by Prince’s “When Doves Cry.” Peaking at No. 2, “Pray” became Hammer’s highest-charting U.S. single.
The final single to be released from “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em” was “Here Comes the Hammer,” released in December. That’s right, the album’s six single releases spanned all of 1990 – from January to December.
Remember the video was more than 8 minutes long?