When people look back at MC Hammer, sometimes they think he just popped up overnight, but the reality is that he’d been grinding in the music industry for years before he hit success.
After independently releasing his debut album, Feel My Power, in 1986 and selling over 60,000 units, MC Hammer caught the attention of several major record labels, including Capitol Records who signed the Oakland rapper shortly afterwards.
Hammer’s sophomore album, Let’s Get It Started, released a couple years later did much better commercially, hitting double platinum and topping the R&B charts. But it wasn’t until his third album that Hammer truly transformed into the legendary commercial force that he is known for now.
Promoted by the smash hit single “U Can’t Touch This” – which topped the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 – Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em was released to massive commercial success, selling over 14 million copies worldwide within a year. The album became the first rap album to go diamond, and helped transform hip hop music into a global phenomenon.
Since then, only a handful of rappers have managed to hit diamond status:
- 2Pac, All Eyez on Me (1996)
- The Notorious B.I.G., Life After Death (1997)
- 2Pac, Greatest Hits (1998)
- Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
- Eminem, The Eminem Show (2002)
- OutKast, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003)