2 legit, 2 legit 2 quit…
Yes, that was MC Hammer up there on the stage at the American Music Awards, doing an amazing mashup of his megahit along with Psy and his megahit, Gangnam Style.
ABC and the awards had taunted audiences with Psy bringing an “international” star on with him. It should have been a hint when the South Korean superstar — who somehow didn’t get a best New Artist nod despite having the song everyone was dancing to and singing along with all year long — came on stage in sparkly “Hammer” pants.
But while some people on Twitter were questioning what Hammer could possibly be doing on stage, the one-time rap star has made a career shift of sorts. He still performs, but he doesn’t always dance.
1. He’s a Social Media Guru
In recent years, he’s remade himself into a social media guru and entrepreneur. He’s a highly-sought speaker at places like Harvard and Stanford, and if there’s something you want to know about making yourself known on the Internet, he’s the one to get hold of.
2. He’s the Official Spokesman for Oakland, Calif.
Oakland is Hammer’s hometown, and it’s got a challenging reputation as a gritty, crime-riddled area. But Visit Oakland, also known as the Oakland Convention Center and Visitors Bureau, believes a little bit of Hammertime is just what the community needs to better prosper.
3. He Has Earned and Lost More Money Than Any of Us Ever Will See
Hammer burned through a fortune of more than $30 million in a just a few years. He rolled with a 40-person entourage that came with a half-million dollar a month payroll. Eventually, he had to seek bankruptcy protection.
4. He Lost Half the Proceeds of “Can’t Touch This” to Rick James
Rick James cried foul when Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This” hit big, and with good reason. If you compare the two, it doesn’t take long to see that “Superfreak” and “Can’t Touch This” sound almost just alike.
5. He Was First Discovered by the Oakland As
Before he became MC Hammer, the rapper was Stanley Burrell, and when he was a boy, he liked to take his beatbox to the Oakland Coliseum and dance. The CEO of the Oakland As baseball team spotted him and hired him to come work as a bat boy.
6. He Got His Nickname From Reggie Jackson
While he was working as a batboy, baseball legend Reggie Jackson nicknamed him “Hammer” because he said he looked like world record batting champ Hank Aaron.
7. He Didn’t Start Out Performing as a Rapper
Hammer had many careers before he became famous. He wanted to be a professional baseball player, but that didn’t pan out. So he started recording gospel music, and eventually signed on with Suge Knight’s Def Jam Records.
8. Twitter Led to a New Career
Hammer was one of the first celebrities to join Twitter, which provided him with a perfect platform to get his message out and rebuild his image. In fact, he was one of Twitter’s first investors, and urged others to join in the budding craze.
9. He Has a Huge Twitter Following and He Talks to His Fans
Hammer has just shy of 3 million followers on his Twitter account, @MCHammer, and tweets about 30-40 times a day. If you send him a tweet, it’s likely he’ll tweet you back, because he thinks important to maintain contact.
10. He’s a World-Renowned Social Media Expert and Calls Himself a “Super Geek”
Hammer may have lost his rapping money, but he’s nowhere near down and out. He consults for about 10 different technology companies and says he spends about 10-12 hours every day working on tech projects. That is, when he’s not speaking at Ivy League colleges or appearing on music awards shows to dance “Gangnam Style.”