I was thinking about MC Hammer the other day. Not voluntarily, of course. One does not call Hammer time; one simply answers the call.
In MC Hammer, we have a man grappling with the conundrum of his own existence. He fashions himself with a name that implies hard-hitting physical contact, then announces to the world that you cannot touch this. He poses the rhetorical question, “Why would I ever stop doing this?” And then he answers it, structuring an entire song around the insistence that he is “too legit to quit.”
The existential anguish is unmistakable. He cries out for his own legitimacy, employing repetitious lyrics to hammer (if you will) the intangible point.
Around the same time, in his animated series Hammerman, he even goes so far as to transform his likeness into a cartoon, stripping himself of an entire dimension of being to see what remains. It’s as if he implicitly understands he should not exist as he is, and yet exist he does.
Through everything, he overcomes the self-imposed adversity of his own baggy pants and he keeps dancing, becoming the ultimate paradox: a one-hit wonder with multiple hits.
MC Hammer at once makes no sense and perfect sense.
But does the rapper protest too much? How could he do otherwise?
I think there’s a little MC Hammer inside each and every one of us.