Trending Topics

‘2 Legit 2 Quit’: MC hammer Went From Being One of Hip-Hop’s Richest Artists to Being Deeply in Debt. Here’s What He’s Doing Today to Get it All Back.


“Celebrity Networth” estimated MC Hammer had a net worth of $70 million in the 1990s. The California native, born Stanley Burrell, became a household name in the music industry for his unique dance techniques and infectious stage presence. He went on to to earn three Grammy awards, including Best Rap Solo Performance for “U Can’t Touch This.” 

LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 08: MC Hammer speaks onstage during Capitol Music Group’s 5th annual Capitol Congress Premieres new music and projects for industry and media at Arclight Cinemas Hollywood on August 8, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Capitol Music Group)

The triple threat also found success as an actor in series such as “Martin,” and “Hammerman,” and as producer of his film: 1990’s “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em: The Movie.” The dancing rapper also executive produced his short-lived reality series, “Hammertime,” worked as an ordained preacher and served as a guest judge on the ABC dance competition series “Dance Fever.”

Despite a mass amount of success and opportunity, Hammer’s net worth today is $2 million, after his filing for bankruptcy and accumulating $10 million in debt, the outlet reports.

Bankruptcy Time

Hammer filed for bankruptcy in 1996 — just five years after his music career grew hot, according to Celebrity Net Worth. He had earned a whopping $33 million from tour sales, endorsements, merchandise and record sales that same year. However, he was notoriously known for his lavish spending habits, including purchasing dozens of luxury cars, airplanes, a record company and a $5 million estate in Fremont, California. 

The mega superstar destroyed and replaced an 11,000-square-foot mansion on the 12-acre estate with a 40,000-square-foot mansion. He spent nearly $30 million adding custom touches such as Italian marble floors, a 17-car garage, a baseball diamond and multiple tennis courts, to name a few. One of the two pools is built in the shape of someone dancing in Hammer pants, marble statues of Hammer and gold-plated driveway gates emblazoned with the phrase “Hammer Time.” The home was later sold for $6.8 million. 

The “2 Legit 2 Quit” rapper also spent $500,000 a month on his large entourage of friends and family — he had a staff of 200 people on the payroll and a entourage of 40 — paying out a staggering $500,000 per month to support everybody. He borrowed money from at least 200 creditors, including retired NFL star Deion Sanders, who also loaned Hammer $500,000. 

Between 1991 and 1996, Hammer reportedly blew through roughly $73 million. By December 2013, he owed the IRS $800,000 in unpaid taxes from 1996 to 1997, according to court docs. They also reveal that his income is directly distributed to the IRS before he receives a dime. 

Over time, Hammer’s property and possessions were seized to accommodate the $500,197 he owed in delinquent tax returns for 1991-1994 and over $230,000 for Alameda County.

Silicon Valley

But Hammer, who now has a net worth of about $3 million, climbed his way back–and he did it outside of music.

Over the last two decades, Hammer has invested in or given marketing advice to startups and company founders such as Pandora’s Tim Westergreen. He’s an investor in Square, a San Francisco mobile payment service provider founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. The 60-year-old also gets a check from Flipboard, which premiered his single, “See Her Face,” as the first featured music on their social magazine app.

Back in April 2011, Billboard reported on the rapper’s transition to a “respected entrepreneur, investor, and adviser with a reputation as a savvy early adopter of new technology” in Silicon Valley. 

During the interview, he expressed interest in companies that “can have a global impact on enterprise in general; things that can make your connected life more interesting and easier.” While hinting at a comeback, he said he hopes to help fellow artists monetize their music on various formats like social games, mobile apps and interactive technologies.

“A lot of musicians and artists are shortchanging themselves because they have so much to offer other than just the song. Music is not just a song,” he said.

Fast forward to February 2020, rapper and entrepreneur Chammillonaire told Damon “Dame” Dash that Hammer “owns a piece of Twitter.” During a discussion on his “Boss Talk” series, the serial entrepreneur recalled running into Hammer at a tech event at Facebook’s headquarters. In regards to naysayers and those who believe he hit rock bottom, Hammer said, “Most of the people that complain about people or y’all bad about successful people, they won’t even accomplish like one percent of that in their lives.”

He added, “People that will never ever [have] a smash hit single and if somebody gets one they’ll be like. ‘Uh oh you only have one.’ ”

He has also been tapped for TV commercials, such as Cheetos popcorn.

Back to top