MC Hammer: Reggie Jackson Was the Key to My Success

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, 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.

CAPTION: Hammer: Back on track with new cable show - and family in tow.

Hammer: Back on track with a new cable show - and family in tow.

“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.

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