Occupation: Sellout Rapper
Why we hated them: Because of his Hammer Pants, dance routines, and general poppiness. Oh, and because he danced in an ad for fried chicken.
Lyrical shoutout: "What you say Hammer? Proper/Rap is not pop, if you call it that then stop." - Q-Tip on A Tribe Called Quest's "Check the Rhime"
The saying goes: success breeds contempt. And as proven a million times over the last 25 years, rappers' success breeds contempt. So if you were looking for the biggest rap villain straight out of a Bond movie, considering the size of the rap mansion, the rap lieutenants, the rap flash, the rap style, the rap money and the rap attitude, you'd say...50 Cent, right? Wrong. The answer is obviously MC Hammer.
Through tons of hard work, recording, touring, and implementing a laser-focus on becoming a successful entertainer, Hammer went straight to the top in the early to mid-1990s with "Can't Touch This." With hip-hop just starting to bleed into popular culture, MC Hammer was the first one over the wall. Soon enough, Pepsi, MTV, and Middle America attached themselves to his star (and his parachute pants). The more famous he became, the more he was resented by those who loved him first.
And so began a shift against Hammer, with the culture reacting negatively to his poppy brand of rap. Endorsements lapsed, the money dried up, and the mood grew darker in both Middle America (which started listening to Wu-Tang and wearing Tommy Hilfiger jeans instead of "2 Legit 2 Quit" and wind pants) and inside Hammer as well. Not long after, Hammer dropped MC from his name and tried out songs like the not-family friendly, "Pumps and a Bump."
Thus began a decade and a half of soul-searching as a punchline, culminating in a funny line by America's sweetheart, Jay Z. On Kanye West's "So Appalled," Jay rhymed, "Hammer went broke so you know I'm more focused/I lost 30 mil' so I spent another 30/Cause unlike Hammer, 30 million can't hurt me." Instead of appreciating the shout out, Hammer lashed back, but it was futile, as it is for all villains, when facing the closest thing we have to 007.