independent and unofficial
Prince fan community site
Wed 11th Dec 2019 9:45pm
Welcome! Sign up or enter username and password to remember me
Forum jump
Forums > Music: Non-Prince > MC Hammer on Bay Area Reunion Concert, Prince, Vanity, Tony Toni Tone and more.
« Previous topic  Next topic »
Reply   New topic   Printable     (Log in to 'subscribe' to this topic)
Author

Tweet     Share

Message
Thread started 11/26/19 11:51am

StrangeButTrue

avatar

MC Hammer on Bay Area Reunion Concert, Prince, Vanity, Tony Toni Tone and more.

MC Hammer reflects on his days as an A's ball boy, Prince and Oakland's musical legacy

Tamara Palmer

.

https://www.sfgate.com/mu...862365.php

.

Updated 10:00 am PST, Tuesday, November 26, 2019

.

Oakland-born Stanley Kirk Burrell, who has danced and rapped his way around the world as MC Hammer for more than 30 years, first put his moves to the test in the parking lot of what’s now known as RingCentral Coliseum and Oakland Arena when he was just 9 years old. He earned his first job at age 11 after being noticed right there in that parking lot: a position as a ball boy and later clubhouse assistant for the Oakland Athletics. He’s remained a close friend to the team, which honored him with his own bobblehead — a first for a rapper and a Major League Baseball team — in 2011.

.

“It’s not only the site of my first job, but it’s the site of my entire youth all the way up until college,” Hammer recalled in a telephone interview. “I started going and working out at the coliseum in ‘71 and so that would take me from the time I was 9 years old all the way until I was 18.

.

All my years were spent right there at that site going into that arena watching the Warriors.

“You’d go watch the Warriors games and of course all the other great concerts: Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown — people who I would later on become peers and friends with, but it all started right there on that site. On that old Coliseum site between the A’s side and the Warriors side.”

.

The last time Hammer headlined a full concert at the Oakland Arena was back in 1992, when he performed at the nearly-20,000-person capacity venue for four nights in a row. He’ll return Wednesday night to perform in the top slot at Bay Area Reunion, a concert celebrating the musical legacy of Oakland that also features the reunited original members of Nineties hit groups Tony! Toni! Toné!, En Vogue, Digital Underground and Luniz.

.

Hammer, 57, reports that he’s in tip-top shape to deliver a high-energy show, especially after completing his first major North American tour in 28 years this past summer.

.

“I’m excited about it,” he said. “There are a lot of memories and there’s definitely a lot of dots that are being connected and coming full circle.”

.

When reps from KBLX approached Hammer to appear at a concert to celebrate the radio station’s 40th anniversary, he started to form a plan for an all-star revue that celebrates Oakland’s innumerable contributions to music. In his mind, the first step was to bring the original members of Tony! Toni! Toné! (brothers D’wayne Wiggins and Raphael Saadiq, plus their cousin Tim Riley) back together. D’wayne Wiggins has continued to do shows under the group name over the years, while Saadiq (then known as Charlie Ray Wiggins) left in 1993 after the third album was released and subsequently became an acclaimed solo artist and producer whose credits include the Roots, Solange and Mary J. Blige, to name a few.

.

“I wanted to see if I could put the brothers back together, because me and Ray [Saadiq] are real tight and me and D’wayne are real tight, so I just wanted to be a part of seeing the brothers come back together and why not do it at home?” Hammer said.

.

Hammer enlisted some extra support from both friends and the Man upstairs to make it happen.

“I put my two cents in and my thoughts and prayers and love in,” he recalled, “and then some other mutual friends also got involved and it all worked out.”

.

Saadiq explained why he agreed to the reunion during an interview on the SiriusXM Radio show Sway in the Morning in July.

.

“I miss my brother, really,” he said. “I left the group because I felt like the industry was destroying us. And I just said, ‘You know what? I know the Tonys is really big, but I’d rather have my brother than have us be having some feud over money or anything like that.’ Now I have my brother back... His kids are like my kids and it’s like nothing ever happened.”

.

This week, the band will finally reunite for the landmark event.

.

“I wanted to celebrate Oakland and I wanted to celebrate the East Bay, and then celebrate the Bay Area in general, but in that order: Celebrate Oakland, celebrate the East Bay, celebrate the Bay Area,” Hammer explained of the Bay Area Reunion concert. “And one of the reasons is because of the unique contribution that Oakland has [made] to the music business and the unique sound. If you look at our imprint from our artists, our culture, the culture of Oakland, the lingo of Oakland, we’ve had a tremendous impact on the music industry and it’s still happening right now today.”

.

One artist that Oakland indelibly influenced was Prince, who performed one of the last concerts of his life inside the Oakland Arena on March 4, 2016.

.

“Half of Prince’s band, if not more, were all Oakland musicians,” Hammer shared, audibly lighting up at the mention of his friend and mentor. “Prince loved Oakland musicians and quietly he also did a lot of charity work in Oakland. That’s a different story, but Prince loved Oakland so much and his connection with the Oakland musicians and the culture of Oakland — he gave back to Oakland. He would do it very quietly, but he would put money into Oakland and into various areas to help the youth and the music scene and education.”

.

Hammer’s multi-platinum smash album “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em” (1990) both sampled and covered Prince songs (“When Doves Cry” and “Soft and Wet,” respectively). He then went to Prince’s Paisley Park Studios in Minnesota to record his 1991 album, “Too Legit to Quit.”

.

The two remained friends, with Hammer attempting another important reunion before his passing.

.

“One of the things I did was, I’m the one who called Prince and let him know that Denise [Matthews] wasn’t doing well — Vanity — and he was down in [Australia],” Hammer recalled candidly. “All of a sudden he announced a show in Oakland, then he came up here. I know he came up here to be close to her, but by the time he got up here she had passed.”

.

Matthews passed away on February 15, 2016 following a battle with sclerosis encapsulating peritonitis and years of kidney dialysis. Before the Oakland Arena concert, Prince performed a show at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre on February 28, one day after Matthews’ memorial at Union City Apostolic Church.

.

“Vanity had spent the last — and I call her Denise because it’s a very personal connection, she was a sister of mine — she spent the last 25-30 years here in the Bay Area and she was very close with my family. We attended the same church. I saw her two days before she got sick. She’s another one who has a deep connection to the Bay Area. Oakland changed her life, or the second half of her life.”

.

Bay Area Reunion will be an assertion of Oakland’s place in music history — and probably the local people-watching event of the year.

.

“Our influence is monstrous and we can talk about it on and on, but the reunion is real and it’s about the celebration of the history of our city, the spirit of the East Bay [and] the spirit of the Bay Area,” Hammer said of Wednesday’s concert. “Because even though it’s all of us collectively, the different cities that make up the Bay Area, all of that flows into the big pot and what you’re going to be able to hear is the celebration of the culture, the soul of Oakland and the Bay Area.”

.

Bay Area Reunion Concert takes place Wednesday, Nov. 27 at 8 p.m. at the Oakland Arena.

.

Tamara Palmer is a Bay Area-based writer.

[Edited 11/26/19 11:51am]

if it was just a dream, call me a dreamer 2
 Reply w/quote - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply   New topic   Printable     (Log in to 'subscribe' to this topic)
« Previous topic  Next topic »
Forums > Music: Non-Prince > MC Hammer on Bay Area Reunion Concert, Prince, Vanity, Tony Toni Tone and more.