In the tradition of many a great entrepreneur, MC Hammer looked outside of the box (though into the batter’s box) for his ticket to prosperity – even if he did later land in the poor house.
Interviewed on ScrappleSandwich.com, the multi-platinum-selling rapper, who rocketed to fame in 1990 with the album Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em, recounts how he came to develop his business model.
“Coming from Oakland, I’d watched Reggie Jackson hit all the home runs, and all of a sudden he had a Reggie bar,” Hammer tells host Travis McPherson.
“So I said, ‘Wow, they gave Reggie Jackson his own candy bar because he hits a lot of home runs. That’s fantastic.’
“Then, next thing you know, Reggie would be endorsing a shoe. And then Reggie would be endorsing other products.
“Well, when I became MC Hammer, I said to myself, ‘I’m a take the sports model and apply that to my career. So if, in the event that I raise my profile high enough and have a big enough impact on the business, I may exploit these other opportunities.’
“And that’s exactly what I did. And that, in large respect, is what I brought into hip-hop,” Hammer, whose real name is Stanley Kirk Burrell, adds.
“At the time, most of my peers and/or competitors, they couldn’t get any of the deals. The reason being that they weren’t making a big enough impact on the entire community… They just weren’t big enough.
“So Coca-Cola or Pepsi or McDonald’s or Taco Bell didn’t want to do a deal with them. It wasn’t like they were like, ‘Hammer, you sellin’ out.’
“What they really were sayin’ was, ‘How come we can’t get a deal?’”
In 1996, the entertainer known for his signature “Hammer pants” and nimble dance style, filed for bankruptcy, telling a California judge he was $13.7 million in debt, though only had $9.6 million in assets.
Among the debts he listed were $110,000 owed an interior decorator, $100,000 he owed the IRS, and a $500,000 loan he’d taken from Dallas Cowboys star Deion Sanders.
Hammer is currently starring in the A&E reality series Hammertime.
To hear his full interview, click here.
To sample Hammertime, click here.