There are many famous singers in every genre. However, there are few who are responsible for helping shape them and define the direction of their genre. MC Hammer helped bring hip-hop into the mainstream and became a household name at the same time. Born in 1962 as Stanley Burrell he gained world fame as MC Hammer (also known by the nicknames "Hammer" and "Hammertime").
Hip-hop is a fast and bouncy cousin to rap music, also known as MCing because rap music is a method of rap-talking like an MC to a beat. Hip-hop also added disco-like music and a more chanting undertone to the dark, heavy beats of rap. MC Hammer was a part of the rap scene on the streets but burst into international notoriety when he revolutionized the style of hip-hop.
Both Hip-hop and Rap were largely street-style music with a cult following and would have likely stayed that way without the personality of artists like MC Hammer. Some early rappers felt MC Hammer, and others who followed him in the hip-hop genre sold out their rap roots, but if it weren't for those pioneers of hip-hop, both it and rap might not ever have gained a foothold in mainstream music.
Hammer came upon his dark and gritty rap side legitimately. He grew up in the tough areas of Oakland, California. However, unlike many budding street thugs of the time he chose a stint with the Navy instead of fast money in the drug trafficking trades. After his honorable discharge, he started his own record label and called it "Bust It" records. Since then he recorded with many labels as well as his own independent again in later years.
His early hits from MC Hammer include "Feel My Power" in 1987, "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt'Em" in 1990 that included the song that would define his career "U Can't Touch This." That album was followed by "Too Legit To Quit" in 1991, "The Funky Headhunter" in 1994, "Inside Out" in 1995 followed by "Family Affair," "Active Duty," "Full Blast," and "Look Look Look."