MC Hammer

Let's Get It Started

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MC Hammer's double-platinum debut album, Let's Get It Started, made him a star in the R&B world even before he crossed over to the pop charts. It isn't as immediately hooky a record as Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em, in part because Hammer hasn't developed his signature sampling chutzpah. Sure, the hit single "Turn This Mutha Out" samples its title from Parliament's biggest hit, and "That's What I Said" borrows the bassline of "Freddie's Dead," but these aren't the wholesale appropriations that would take Hammer to the top. The main appeal of Let's Get It Started is simply that it's well-produced, funky, and danceable, regardless of the quality of the raps. Consider this: By 1988, advancements in lyrical technique were beginning to render even superstars Run-D.M.C. a little outmoded. Just starting out, Hammer sounds slower and less forceful than those old-school legends, and his rhymes are even more squared-off and less fluid in their relationship to the beat. Still, he hollers his simple lyrics with energy and enthusiasm throughout the album, and he does have more power in his delivery here than on Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em. Plus, this style wasn't totally outdated in hip-hop's mainstream quite yet. Still, it isn't what makes the best cuts work. "Turn This Mutha Out" gets by more on its distinctive keyboard riff, and tracks like "They Put Me in the Mix" and "Pump It Up (Here's the News)" are designed more for the dancefloor than the street.

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