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So Corny It's Good: Part Four (aka What The F@$K is Trav Thinking)

by Travis on September 25, 2008

It’s time again for THE longest running series on WYDU. It doesn’t have the most posts, since we are only on part four, but it’s been going since April of 2006. For those of you who might have missed the first three, take a dip back in time:

Part One: Kwame
Part Two: Redhead Kingpin
Part Three: Bobby Jimmy & The Critters

This is what I wrote way back on that April day about the whole subject and I still stand by my observation of the artists that will be covered in this series:

“Have you ever heard a song that first time you heard it, it sounded corny as shit, but there is just something about it……..something that makes you want to sing along with it. You know you shouldn’t like it, you shouldn’t play it, but sooner or later you find yourself sneaking around your boys, playing a certain song, or a CD that you know you would get clowned on if anyone ever found out. Hip hop is very into peer pressure. In a sense, there are too many sheep and not enough wolves. If something is corny, at least in the “old days”, it usually was talking about things not typically found in hip hop. Stuff like Kid N Play, or DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. The subject matter wasn’t about how “hard on the boulevard” you are, or bustin’ yo gat. It was about other things that fell into the realm of “corniness”. If just given a chance, it wasn’t all that bad. Some of the music was actually pretty good. I’m not saying all corny music can be good. There is alot of corny music out there that is horrible no matter how you look at it. But there is some that people look down on for one reason or another. It’s this music that I’m going to kind of spotlight from time to time. There were alot of artists from the late 80′s to the mid 90′s that fell into that “corny” category. You have been “trained” that you probably shouldn’t like it, but dammit, some of it isn’t all that bad. True, some people will see some of the music I’m going to highlight and laugh their asses off. I don’t care, I’m comfortable enough to say “hey, I like this!” Some of it, yes, I did hide from my friends back in the day. Some of it has been forgotten, some of it still wears the “corny badge” to this day. Well, I’m bringing the fiber with some healthy corny choices.”

Today’s artist is somewhat different in that it’s not the actual artist, but more like his first two projects. I’m sure a lot of you are going to say “WHAT THE FUCK IS HE THINKING?!?!”, when I declare MC Hammer as being anywhere close to good. Before you get out the tar and feathers and forever banish me from the hip hop kingdom, just hear me out. And before we go any further, I’m COMPLETELY SOBER, no wacky weed, no alcoholic beverages have been consumed when writing this……

MC Hammer wasn’t a great MC, far from it actually. I wouldn’t even call him an MC, but we’ll avoid that argument for the time being. His delivery was basically wack, his flow was non existent, his rhyme structure was basic and amateurish at best. So why in the hell do I enjoy his independently released debut Feel My Power (Oaktown Records)? Well…….The man was a showman, but unfortunately for him, that didn’t translate into talent as an MC. But the energy he possessed that we saw during his stage show in those days, did come out in his music.

Top 10 Reasons To Like MC Hammer

1. The fool could DANCE! He made his closest nemesis, Vanilla Ice, look like he was having an epileptic seizure. And as much as I liked Serch, dude couldn’t dance.

2. His stage show was a SHOW, there was shit going on all over that stage, more than a Macey’s on the day after Thanksgiving

3. His glasses were cooler than MC Serch’s

4. He introduced the world to the 2 Bigg MC AND Oaktown’s 357, what’s not to like about them?

5. Did you really want Gerardo to sell 10 million copies?

6. The Hammer Dolls were much better for kids than the perverted Pee Wee Herman dolls.

7. He inspired Dres and Mista Lawnge to make “H.A.A. (Here’s Another Asshole)“, which is possibly the most underrated dis track in the history of hip hop.

8. If he was “In the Same Gang” with NWA, Cube, DU, and the rest of the West Coast All-Stars, shouldn’t he be cool enough to bump at a party?

9. He took his name after the TRUE all-time home run leader, Hammerin’ Hank Aaron.

10. Who else would artists from the 90′s have to take cheap shots at back in the day?

< br />Hammer got his start in the Bay Area, recording Feel My Power in the 86-87 and dropping the album independently. It would move a reported 60K on the independent route. Radio stations would play “Let’s Get It Started”, in which he declared he was, “…..second to none” and named LL, Run DMC and Doug E Fresh, a clear swipe to the east coast giants of the time. The track became a local hit and caught the attention of several major labels. It would be Capitol that would win the services of Hammer. He would then turn around and repackage Feel My Power and add a few new songs to it and release as his major label debut as Let’s Get It Started. The album did pretty well, and honestly, at least out here in the west, wasn’t really seen as part of the mainstream music that was starting to become prevalent in those days (ie Tone Loc, Young MC). The video for “Turn This Mutha Out” got constant Yo! MTV Raps Play at the time.

In today’s atmosphere, everyone is to damn scared to dance, to have a good time. The days of the hip hop dancer are looooong gone, but this shit will get you up out of your chair and tear a rug up. The man’s energy was incredible on those first two projects. You need to look no further than the track “Feel My Power”, to feel the vibe I’m speaking on. Yes, he almost kills it when he says “You’re nothing but a fish, a smelt, and not a trout”, which is…wow…horrible, I won’t argue that, but I’ve heard better MC’s that lacked any kind of energy on the mic, and it just doesn’t grab. “Ring ‘Em” was another jam that got the party started. The beats of course are nothing mind blowing, with the hand claps, and the chicky background vocals, but the shit gets ya going. On “Let’s Get it Started”, hammer becomes even more brave with the video for “Pump It Up” as his disses Run DMC. While Run DMC had started their fall in 1988, they were still ballsy targets to tackle. “Turn This Mutha Out”, is truly an ill song, with its hard beat and Hammer acting like a badass, but once again, it’s a perfect example of why these first two albums are so ill.

Anyone has the video version of “Turn This Mutha Out” (the album version is missing the last verse or two), hit me up, I’ve been looking for that for awhile.

Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s my shitty taste in hip hop…. nah, couldn’t be that. I’m not saying that either album are unheralded classics, because there are way too many things wrong with them. They are definitely a “mood” albums, they are something you play when you are in a particular mood. You want to get your dance on, this here shit will get ya movin’. Feel My Power and Let’s Get it Started are both decent albums that only get shit on because of what Hammer would become. If there was no 10 Jillion Bazillion “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em”, I doubt a lot of you cats would be getting ready to email for the contact info of my drug dealer that I got these wonderful drugs to write such a piece. Without his later career, I think both pieces of work would be respected albums.

Feel My Power

  1. That’s What I Said
  2. Ring ‘Em
  3. Get It Started
  4. Feel My Power
  5. The Thrill Is Gone
  6. Mix It Toss It & Bust It
  7. Son Of The King
  8. Brother Versus Brother
  9. I Can Make It Better
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