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TheStreet Open House

10 Terrible Financial Choices in Music History

Stocks in this article: SNE TWX VIA.B ERTS

10. MC Hammer can't touch his old mansion
Before he was a hip-hop punchline and a celebreality show regular, MC Hammer was valued at $33 million by Forbes in 1990. His 1990 album Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em sold 18 million copies and produced the ubiquitous U Can't Touch This; his image was licensed out to Mattel dolls, British Knights shoes and a Saturday morning cartoon called Hammerman; and his follow-up album Too Legit To Quit went triple platinum, had James Brown's support and called out Michael Jackson.

By 1996, however, Hammer piled up $13.7 million in debt against $9.6 million in assets basically because the outspoken pop-rapper's vocabulary lacked one very important word: No.

Hammer spent $30 million on a sprawling estate, paid a 60-person troupe of onstage backup performers and yet another 100 people behind the scenes. When tastes changed and Hammer's gangster-rap switch to Death Row records was met with more chuckles than CD purchases, Hammer as an industry couldn't keep up and saw it all slip away.

He's been on better financial footing since, but has never quite recovered. He's known more in recent years for appearing on VH1 reality shows such as Surreal Life and I Married ... MC Hammer and A&E's Hammertime than for dancing in genie-sized parachute pants to positive rhymes. The closest he's come to musical relevance of late is when Nelly braggadociously declared he was going to "blow 30 mil like I'm Hammer" in his hit Country Grammar more than a decade ago.

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