LL Cool J Remembers Knocking Out MC Hammer With A Diss & Explains Why (Video)

On his “I Shot Ya (Remix)” LL Cool J reminded music fans that his victories included wins against Kool Moe Dee, Ice-T, and M.C. Hammer. Five years prior, on LL Cool J’s fourth album, Mama Said Knock You Out, he seemingly left the ring victorious with a TKO title track aimed at longtime foe Moe Dee. On that same 1990 Def Jam Records release, James Todd Smith threw shots at M.C. Hammer.

J’s song “To Da Break Of Dawn” took aim at the Oakland, California Rap star with an all-night Rap fight. It was in response to 1988’s “Let’s Get It Started” video single from the Capitol Records LP of the same name. “Now get up out your seat because my beat is so complete / I’m movin everybody from A to Z / And when it comes to straight up rockin, I’m second to none / From Doug E. Fresh to (LL) or DJ (Run)” was all the rapper had to say.

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After chiding Stanley Burrell about his “Star Trek glasses,” L’s second verse on “To Da Break Of Dawn” did damage: “Immaculate styles, I used to abuse / MCs, so light the fuse / And spread the news, you lose / To the damager, microphone manager / Cold crush, and bruise, and bandage a amateur / That amateur, swingin’ a hammer / From a body bag, so run and get your camera / Get a flick of the stiff dead-shot to get swift / But I’m the wrong brother to dance with / ‘Cause I don’t need a partner to swing / Keep your eyes on the Cool J ring shootin’ the gift, but you just don’t shoot it right / You couldn’t bust a grape in a fruit fight / Wouldn’t throw a rock in a ghost town / So don’t try to play post, clown / You know the L.L.’s back in town / And all the want-to-be sheriffs is gettin’ shot down / Gimme that microphone / I’ma show you the real meaning of the danger zone / Stop dancin’, get to walkin’ / Shut your old mouth when young folks is talkin’ / Huh, you little snake in the grass / You swing a hammer, but you couldn’t break a glass / Gimme a lighter, poof! / Now you’re cut loose / From that Jheri curl juice / Cool J is back on the map / And when I see ya, I’m a give you a slap / That’s right, a little kick for that crap / ‘Cause my old gym teacher ain’t supposed to rap.

Compared to conflicts with Moe Dee, M.C. Shan, Ice-T, and later, Tupac, the brief sparring with Hammer has largely been forgotten by time. On Instagram, promoting Rock The Bells radio, Uncle L responded to an IG user’s question.

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“I didn’t have a beef with M.C. Hammer; M.C. Hammer had a beef with me. And he knows I love him,” details LL, adding that Hammer was a dancing supporter of his Troop clothing line. Notably, in his ’88 diss to his New York City peers, Hammer donned a Troop suit. “That’s my man, and I love him. I think he just said my name [plus Run-D.M.C.’s and Doug E. Fresh’s] in a record for attention. He did what he had to do. He came out and sold a lot of records and did his thing. But I never had any problems, personally, with Hammer. [Laughs] I lit him up ‘cause that’s what I was supposed to do,” LL says with more laughter.


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He continues, “But I never had any problems with him at all. In terms of battles, I’ve had so many battles. So many artists have come at me from different directions and it just comes with the territory. That’s the fun part.”

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One of LL Cool J’s earliest interviews is part of the Ralph McDaniels’ Video Music Box library available on AFHTV. Last month, LL was nominated for induction to the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.