The rise and fall of hip hop stars MC Hammer and DMX

The growing desire for fame and fortune is driving many of today’s young aspiring hip hop artists. Naive and pure at first, many hip hop artists say they do it for the love of the music, not the fame and money. However, only a handful of them accomplish this simple task. As fame and fortune rise, these superstars become distracted from their “roots,” the real reason they’re in business. Maybe it was a front all along, but we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

This article will provide a quick overview of the rise and fall of two of the most well known hip hop rap artists of their time; MC Hammer from the late 80’s to early 90’s and DMX from the late 90’s to early 2000’s. As the saying goes, “what goes up must come down”. How fast one goes down and how one comes down from their stardom depends solely on the day-to-day decisions of the artist.

Let’s take a moment to consider… “Stop! Hammer time!” MC Hammer shows that the difference between success and stupidity is very fine. Hip hop artists are ruling out certain consequences that arise from overspending their quick fortunes. They continue to flaunt their fortune by buying glitzy urban hip hop jewelry and consequently fade from fame, just like many lottery winners do today.

In the ’80s, MC Hammer was a musical sensation in his prime, possibly rivaling the popularity of the late Michael Jackson. With the release of Please hammer, don’t hurt them, MC Hammer made approximately $33 million in profit. Along with more album sales, tours, endorsements, and merchandise, it grossed millions upon millions. Hammer spent $12 million on his house alone. Along with his house, he also bought 2 helicopters, 17 expensive cars, bad investments and very expensive antiques.

MC Hammer’s biggest regret was who was around him during his rise to fame. He employed 300 people for a total payroll of half a million dollars per month. Many of his “friends”, or the 300 people he tried to help, were only there for his money and fame. In 1996, Hammer filed for bankruptcy. In the late ’90s he became a preacher while continuing to release albums that couldn’t replicate his previous success.

…and then there was X.

DMX went from Ruff Ryder to a proverbial flat tire. Raised in a town north of New York City, he spent much of his time on the streets committing crimes. DMX found sanctuary in hip hop music to escape his hard life. He enjoyed many of the background tools used for rapping, such as beatboxing and spinning on turntables. He eventually started rapping himself.

Although he began rapping in the early 1990s, Earl Simmons, also known as DMX, didn’t break out until signing with Ruff Ryders Entertainment and Def Jams Recording in 1998 with the release of his double album, It’s dark and hell is hot and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood. DMX became the first artist to have 5 albums debut at #1. His popularity began to decline after his 2003 album, Big field, where he announced his retirement. From this point on, DMX spent most of his money on drugs and fell back into his troublesome ways.

In 2004, DMX was arrested at JFK Airport on charges of cocaine possession, criminal impersonation, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal mischief, making threats, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol while claiming to be a federal agent and attempting to steal a vehicle. From 2005 to 2008, DMX spent a total of half a year in prison.

Where are you now?

MC Hammer is a superstar on the social networking site, Twitter, ranking in the low 30 with just 1.3 million followers. He continues to churn out songs and is living a relatively decent life, less expensive hip hop jewelry, exotic cars, and large entourage. In 2009, DMX stated that he would continue preaching as MC Hammer. However, after speaking with hip hop artist Mase, he decided to return to rap. He will be planning to release his next two albums, walk with me now and you will fly with me later in the latter part of 2009 or 2010. This may bring about the return of Ruff Ryers and DMX to great popularity.

Although both artists seem to have turned around after hitting rock bottom, it’s unfortunate that this cycle of hip hop’s rise, fame, and collapse seems unlikely to be broken anytime soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *