MC Hammer


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Pray Review

by JT Griffith

What happens when a novelty act loses his novelty? He disappears until Behind the Music comes calling. In between, pop fans can try to discover hit singles that never were. MC Hammer had skills but would have been an obscure pop-rapper had it not been for a certain Rick James sample. "Pray" is not why Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em sold millions. But after a decade of "Can't Touch This," people in need of a kitschy MC Hammer track will love this well-meaning testament to devotion. It's hard to beat "Children dying oh so fast from this and that/Smokin' that dope, smokin' that crack" for dated, sweet sentiment. This CD single contains five versions of the title track (co-written with Prince and containing the obligatory James sample), including the "Slam the Hammer Mix," "Slam the Hammer Piano Dub," "Jam the Hammer Mix," "Hit 'Em Hard Mix," "Nail 'Em Down Chant" (an inappropriate title, if ever there were one, for a semi-religious song!), and, of course, the LP version of "U Can't Touch This," in case you doubted what drove sales for this MC. Even the considerable skills of Junior Vasquez and Shep Pettibone cannot turn "Pray" into a "U Can't Touch This." But this single is a fair second single, even if it is a slight pop footnote.

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