Twitter creates strange bedfellows. As I was perusing my timeline Saturday night, I noticed famed music journalist, Touré, taking shots at MC Hammer. Yes, you read that right. MC Hammer.
My first thought: “What the hell?”
My second: “Hasn’t Hammer suffered enough?”
After ascending to musical stardom in the late 80s and early 90s, MC Hammer sold millions of records and garnered one of the first major endorsement deals in rap. For a while, Hammer ruled the game, appearing on everything from “SNL” to “The Adam’s Family” film soundtrack. But the good times didn’t last.
Even though he made upwards of $35 million from his music, Hammer squandered it away. He lived lavishly, employed scores of people from his Oakland neighborhood, and, after record sales began to tank, Hammer was forced to file for bankruptcy in 1996.
Since losing it all, Hammer became a minister, starred in reality TV shows like the “Surreal Life” and “Hammertime,” and is back in the studio.
Hammer, who has rebranded himself as “King Hammer,” recently decided to pick a fight with one of the best lyricist in hip-hop—Jay-Z. It seems as though he took offense at Jay’s verse on Kanye’s newest posse cut, “So Appalled.” In the song, Jay spits, “Hammer went broke so you know I’m more focused/I lost 30 mil’ so I spent another 30/ ‘Cause unlike Hammer 30 million can’t hurt me.” Instead of a clever rhyme, Hammer heard a call to war.
After unleashing a series of angry tweets attacking Jay and his fans, Hammer told his followers that he’d hit back at Jay . . . verbally. “I’m not going to Diss JayZ.. But I am going to Check him.. #KingHammer.” One major point that seemed to burn Hammer up is Jay-Z’s allusions to the devil in his rhymes. The rapper-turned-minister repeatedly called Jay a “Devil Romancer” and vowed to put him in his place. Which leads me to Hammer’s verbal scuffle with Touré.
In the midst of yet another Hammer rant, Touré succinctly summed up the absurdity of Hammer’s beef. “What the fuck is Hammer talking about? Dissing Jay for being a devil worshipper is the weakest comeback ever.” Touré’s verbal jujitsu continued. He went on to question Hammer’s relevance to hip-hop, and correctly analyzed Hammer’s one-sided fight, “When someone disses you truthfully (losing $30m did devastate you & not him) & you comeback w silly conjecture (devil worshiper!) you lose.”
Watching Hammer call out Jay-Z made me cringe. I can’t front. I danced to “Can’t Touch This,” and begged my mom for parachute pants back in the day. But watching Hammer commit rap suicide was like watching my childhood pal set himself on fire.
Hammer’s career is barely hanging on by a thread, and challenging someone like Jay to a lyrical joust is sure to end whatever credibility Hammer has left in hip-hop (Summer Jam Stage, anyone?). Or will it? Perhaps this “beef” is exactly what Hammer wants and needs to revive his career.