From his supercharged performances to his outlandish outfits, M. C. Hammer was entertainment personified at the height of his powers. He burst onto the music scene in 1990 with the groundbreaking album Please Hammer Don't Hurt Em, featuring the smash hit single "U Can't Touch This." Considered one of the first "mainstream" rappers, Hammer delivered rap music to a new segment of the population, paving the way for elaborate choreography and showmanship never before seen from any artist of that genre. He even started a new dance craze called the "Hammer Dance" which made it appropriate for grown men to wear harem pants. Hammer's sophomore release, Too Legit to Quit(1991), also sold millions, but it signaled the collapse of his still nascent empire. His subsequent releases declined in sales and failed to crack the charts, causing him to hit rock bottom and declare bankruptcy in 1996. Yet, in spite of his financial woes, Hammer bounced back with both a newfound spirituality, but also with new ventures like his own reality show "Hammertime" (A&E, 2009) and successful start-ups in the tech arena. His influence in rap music was undeniable, as attested by the popularity of later rappers like Kanye West whose extravagant live shows, flashy footwork, and sampled melodies would not have existed without Hammer's original vision.