Music News

MC Hammer Is Working All the Angles

All right. Who the fuck let MC Hammer back on the stage?

That's right, he's back. He's breakdancing. He's writing albums. He's starting up Internet ventures. Hell, he's even tweeting.

I suppose we're all to blame. The man has been trying to claw his way out of bankruptcy for almost 15 years; we should have seen this coming. Instead, we just laughed every time we heard his name, every time we saw him in a commercial for Monday Night Football or or Nationwide Insurance. He couldn't possible come back . . . Right?

But while you were laughing, Hammer was rebuilding. He sold all his worldly possessions. He got straight with the Lord. He released a handful of records you've never heard of. He set up his own record label. He set up his own MySpace account. He landed a reality show. He did a reunion gig with Vanilla Ice. And now he's coming to Phoenix.

So what the hell happened?

It looks like the answer may be a lot less surprising than an actual comeback, which would involve Hammer finding a way to make himself or his pants relevant again. Rather, it seems that he's just been taking any work he can find and shamelessly self-promoting until he was able to create a reasonable facsimile of success.

He got a VH1 reality show, which netted him another reality show appearance, which in turn yielded his very own shockingly boring show on A&E.

Meanwhile, he's been tweeting like it's a full-time job, and @mchammer has 1.6 million followers, a number I can watch grow each time I refresh the page. He's also launched a social-media site of his own,, a YouTube take-off that gives amateur dancers a platform to battle.

To be fair, he really has been successful, at least online. So successful that Harvard Business School had keynote a lecture on harnessing the power of social media to strengthen your business. And a simple Twitter shout-out from MC Hammer to another guest panelist increased his followers by 2,000 percent in a matter of minutes.

But you don't remember the last time you heard him on the radio, let alone the last time he charted, do you? (Hint: It wasn't in the past decade.) How about the last time he released an album? Well, that's a funny one, because after he started his own label, you'd think that process would be streamlined. But the record that he was promoting in that MNF commercial last year, dancejamthemusic, doesn't seem to have materialized.

But cut him some slack — he is working on a Christmas album with his family, so that may be what's been taking up all his time.

But wherever his album may or may not be, Hammer has found love, as far from America as possible. That's right: He's big in Australia. He just came back from a media blitz Down Under, where he helped launch a new Xbox game featuring "U Can't Touch This" and preached the gospel of Twitter.

But that's Australia, and this is America. He couldn't possibly come back here . . . Right?