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Tupac Shakur Dissing MC Hammer In 1991 Surfaces Online

LEGENDS & ICONS OF HIP HOP - Post By Kevin Douglas

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A rare Tupac Shakur interview has resurfaced online where viewers in a television audience hear the iconic hip hop star take a jab at MC Hammer for selling records.

Shakur would ironically ghost write for MC Hammer on the single “Unconditional Love” five years later. At the time, MC Hammer was the hottest hip hop act out, which ironically had him drawing the ire of hip hop fans and rappers for “selling out.” It should be noted that this interview took place on television in 1991, but Tupac Shakur would end up being one of the top selling rappers in history. Quite the irony isn’t it?

Shakur would state, “He’s playing that Sambo role, and the only reason people are buying his records is because he’s no threat, and everybody wanna see Sambo dance!”

Hammer’s 1990 single “U Can’t Touch This,” an infectious romp featuring a prominent Rick James sample, became a runaway hit. It would go on to earn two Grammys (Best R&B Song and the inaugural Best Rap Solo Performance), in addition to becoming the first rap song nominated for Record of the Year. The album it appeared on, Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em, sold 10 million copies and achieved diamond-level record sales status.

By 1994, Hammer was facing questions of insolvency. “A lot of people out there had seen negative stuff in the press,” he told Ebony that year, in an article primarily focused on detailing the contents of his $20 million mansion. “They felt Hammer wasn’t going to make any more records ― thought I was somewhere living in a shack dead broke. They basically thought I had quit the music business. They thought I was down, so they kicked dirt on me.”

In a surprising move, MC Hammer, who had been one of the most successful rap artists ever till that point, would sign a record deal with the infamous Death Row records. He was going to release, Too Tight, was shelved. It would have been largely a collaboration with Tupac Shakur, who wrote and produced several songs for the project.

MC Hammer would sign with Suge Knight in the same year that Tupac did in 1995. The signings could not have been more of a contrast. The two artists would become friends and would eventually work together.  Shakur would help craft songs that he believed fit Hammer and singles he probably felt didn’t match his energy of beefing with Bad Boy Records in 1996.

“Suge called me asked me would I like to join the family,” Hammer told an interviewer in 1997. “Of course, with the marketing machine that Death Row has, and the way that Suge knew how to get behind an artist and push his music and also the fact that Suge Knight was and still is CEO of what the so-called insiders would call a gangsta rap label wanted to put MC Hammer on his label. … Well, what do they say? It said what I had always said: that music is music.”

Unconditional Love”: “That’s what Tupac gave me,” Hammer told an interviewer. That’s what he gave to me that he wanted to give to the world, because his thing was, ‘These are things that need to be said, and I don’t get to say ’em ― I need somebody to say ’em ― so I want you to say ’em.’”

Check out 2Pac’s‘s version below.