Tape Deck part 1: A Tale of Two Hammers

As parents often do when you get older and no longer live under their roof, my mom recently forced upon me something that was once mine so it would no longer take up room in their basement. In this bag was all of my old cassette tapes from 1987 until about ’97, when CD’s fully took over. In a series of posts I will go through these tapes and all the info and memories related to them. 

Back in 1990 when the clean cut, dancing MC Hammer was at the top of the music scene, I received this tape free when my parents bought me a pair of British Knights sneakers. I was 10 at the time and had just moved from the rural country to the suburbs. In my world view U Can’t Touch This and the Saturday morning anti-drug commercial Straight Up (I once impressed my entire 6th grade homeroom when I was able to ‘spit’ the whole commercial when it came on Channel One) was all there was to know about Hip-Hop.

On the B side are two tracks by other artists but based on track listing format I assumed they were also my MC Hammer. The notable of the two was a track called Up With Hope & Down With Dope. The next door neighbor boy liked this song so much he planned to paint the title on the back of his jean jacket. Between this and the previously mentioned commercial I had a clear impression that the state of Hip-Hop was squarely against drugs.

Four years later Dr. Dre, Snoop, & Death Row Records controlled the face of Hip-Hop. In a last ditch effort to stay relevant, Hammer dropped the ‘MC’, got rid of this parachute pants, toughened up his image, and released The Funky Headhunter. The gangsta rap inspired album contained tracks dissing several East Coast rappers and it’s first single, Pumps & a Bump, was far from his past clean, Saturday morning cartoon image, especially as he danced around in a Zebra-print Speedo.

It’s All Good was the second single. I can’t quite remember why I bought the tape other than it was a catchy song and one of the few Hip-Hop songs I could buy free of the Parental Advisory Sticker my parents were always scanning my music for.

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