MC Hammer (aka Stanley Kirk Burrell) isn't just the hip-hop superstar behind "U Can't Touch This" and "Pump it Up." He's an influential figure, touching big events in the last two decades, kind of like a modern-day Forrest Gump. Don't believe me? Check out these five times that Hammer changed the world.
1. Getting Michael Crabtree Signed
Michael Crabtree was a star at Texas Tech and many predicted him to be the top receiver taken in the 2009 NFL Draft. But, like so many times before, Raiders owner Al Davis threw things off by taking Darrius Heyward-Bey, leaving Crabtree to fall to the tenth spot with the San Francisco 49ers. Crabtree thought he deserved as much money as Heyward-Bey for being better in college and refused to sign with the Niners, sitting out several games before finally signing in early October (just after I dropped him from my fantasy team). What finally got the negotiations going? Hammer. While it wasn't the only factor, or even a big factor at all, Hammer's presence certainly makes it interesting. Hammer is a friend of Crabtree's mentor, Deion Sanders, and agent, Eugene Parker, and inexplicably sat in on some of the contract talks. Soon after, Crabtree was signed. 49ers blogger Matt Maiocco even reports that hotel staff overheard Crabtree telling Hammer to "get it done," so maybe he played a bigger role than we all thought.
2. Saving Dance
Hammer is most well-known for his dancing, so it's only fitting that his latest effort would be in that realm. After seeing that there wasn't a good online community for dancers, Hammer founded DanceJam.com, a social network where people can share videos and comment on different styles of dance. It also allows viewers to slow down videos to examine what the moves are. Hammer told Popular Mechanics that the site was intended to be a "repository of all things dance, and of course again all the way to instructional videos of hot dances of today."
3. Kicking Off Justin Lin's Movie Career
When Justin Lin was having financial trouble at his production company, he feared that his directorial debut, Better Luck Tomorrow, would never see the light of day. According on an interview on NPR, Lin desperately called Hammer, whom he had met once in Las Vegas. Hammer read the script, liked it and sent Lin the money he needed to keep his company and film going. Better Luck Tomorrow would go on to be a hit at Sundance and Lin would eventually helm hits like The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Fast & Furious.
4. Marrying Corey Feldman
How fitting that this wedding would be aired on the VH1 show The Surreal Life, because what could be more surreal than a wedding that includes Hammer, a rabbi, Gary Coleman and Mouth from The Goonies? "˜80s star Feldman was wed to his girlfriend Susie Sprague on the season finale of the reality show and had Hammer, along with a rabbi, officiate the ceremony, which was put together in one week (see a video here). Hammer is an ordained minister who also officiated the wedding of MÃ¶tley CrÃ¼e's Vince Neil. Hammer has starred in his own ministry show and has been open about his faith and role as a minister, though never with as much star power as at Feldman's wedding.
5. Starting The Trend Of Rapper Endorsements
Hammer's rise on the Billboard charts was accompanied by millions of dollars (which he would eventually lose in an all-too-public bankruptcy filing). But that bank account was padded by Hammer's willingness to shill for companies like Pepsi, Toshiba and KFC. The distinctly non-hip-hop move led to charges of Hammer being a sell-out, from a good deal of his contemporaries. Of course, now it's more commonplace for rappers to play commercials (right Kanye? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndDdNkonRc8)), but we've got fHammer to thank for that. Hammer has even continued doing his commercials with a Super Bowl spot for Cash4Gold last year that also poked fun at his bankruptcy problems.