March 28, 1994 12:00 PM

Hammer

After a three-year break, Hammer is back with a hard, mean-street edge and the calculated scowl to go with it. His “people” may label his new roughneck persona as artistic growth, but it smells like desperation. Hammer never had ‘hood credibility, so why beg for approval from an audience that will never believe him? Then there’s the problem of explaining hard-core Hammer to the kids who bought the MC Hammer action doll.

The real drag is that The Funky Headhunter is dull. “It’s All Good” pulsates with intensity, but most of the album is lifeless. In hindsight, all the abuse Hammer got in the past seems unfair. “U Can’t Touch This” wasn’t a sellout. This is. (Giant)

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