For the last 25 years or so, MC Hammer has been an easy target for cheap punchlines, but make no mistake, he has had a far more impactful career than most of your favorite rappers.

Hammer (born Stanley Burrell) turns 61 years old today, so it’s only right that we revisit one of his many classics. In August of 1990, he released “Pray” as the third single from his blockbuster album, Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em, which remains one of the best-selling rap albums of all time.

Based on a sample of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” and an interpolation of Faith No More’s “We Care a Lot,” the song is one of the earliest instances of gospel rap in popular music. While “Can’t Touch This” is undoubtedly MC Hammer’s signature hit, “Pray” holds the title as his highest-peaking single, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Join me in celebrating this Aries king and one of the important figures in the history of hip-hop.

Jonathan Majors was arrested on Saturday in New York City for allegedly assaulting a woman.

In a statement issued to the press, the New York Police Department said:

“A preliminary investigation determined that a 33-year-old male was involved in a domestic dispute with a 30-year-old female. The victim informed police she was assaulted. Officers placed the 33-year-old male into custody without incident. The victim sustained minor injuries to her head and neck and was removed to an area hospital in stable condition.”

The Creed III star has been charged with strangulation, assault and harassment. A spokesperson for the actor claims he has done nothing wrong and that they looking forward to “clearing his name and clearing this up.”

On Sunday, the actor’s attorney, issued a statement where she says her client is “provably the victim” and that the accuser has since recanted her allegations. She also says witness statements and video evidence clears the actor, and expects the charges to be dropped soon.

She’s been talking much shit lately, but let’s be clear: Yvette Marie Stevens, better known as Chaka Khan, is a motherfucking legend.

The Chicago native turns 70 years old today, so it is only right that we celebrate her iconic life and career. She was recruited to join Rufus as its lead singer in 1972 after performing with various local bands in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Soon after joining the group, Ike Turner caught wind of them and flew them out to record in his Los Angeles studio. While there, he tried to poach Chaka so she could become an Ikette — thankfully, she declined. Imagine what her life would be if she took that offer?

Chaka would record six studio albums and earn three top 10 hits with Rufus before deciding to go solo. In this instance, this is very much solo with a small “s” because she sang it all while she was with the group.

Chaka’s debut single as a solo artist, “I’m Every Woman,” was released in September of ’78. Written by Ashford & Simpson and produced by Arif Mardin, the song was not a major chart hit, but has gone on to become a classic and one of Chaka’s signature hits.

Join me in celebrating the Queen of Funk.

Have you ever gone to church on a Thursday? Well, there’s a first time for everything.

In September of 1998, Kirk Franklin released “Lean on Me” as the lead single of his fifth studio album, The Nu Nation Project. Lyrically and thematically, the song feels very much like a church-ified reworking of Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me”, but sonically, it is very much your standard gospel song.

Kirk Franklin wrote the song and co-produced it with Dan Shea. Though he’s officially the only credited artist, he enlisted R. Kelly, Crystal Lewis, Mary J. Blige and Bono to take on lead vocal duties. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, and it is certainly unfortunate that we can’t fully enjoy a lot of amazing music because R. Kelly turned out to be a complete monster.

For what it’s worth, the video below is from the live performance of the song at the 1999 Grammy Awards, where Gerald LeVert took R. Kelly’s verse and background singer Dalon Collins took his line on the bridge. And while we’re on the topic of the Grammys, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the song was a Song of the Year nominee that year.

Fun fact: Before they were starring on Tyler Perry movies, David and Tamela Mann were members of Kirk Franklins choir, The Family. And on “Lean on Me,” Tamela gives us the best ad libs on the track.

Kirk Franklin makes the kind of gospel music that can turn a heathen into a believer, and for that, he will remain the goat in that genre (his lack of singing talent notwithstanding). Click play and give praise.

Bobby Caldwell passed away last night in his New Jersey home. The R&B legend had been battling illness for years and hadn’t been able to walk for the last five years.

For many millennials, their introduction to Bobby Caldwell’s music was through samples in hip-hop songs. His signature hit, 1978, “What You Won’t Do for Love,” has been sampled in many rap songs, most notably in 2Pac’s posthumous hit, “Do for Love.”

Another one of his songs, “Open Your Eyes,” has enjoyed a long legacy through samples and covers, most notably in Common’s “The Light.” That song was also one of the earliest TBT selections on this website.

Bobby Caldwell was 71 years old.

Today marks 26 years since we lost Christopher Wallace, better known as The Notorious B.I.G.

We never got to see just how far he could go, but in a few short years, Biggie established himself as one of the best to ever touch a mic. HisThough the debate about rap’s GOAT has evolved in the last quarter-century — and rightly so — there is no serious all-time ranking that doesn’t The

Tyler Perry is reportedly in talks to acquire Paramount’s majority stake in BET. According to the Wall Street Journal, Paramount is exploring the sale to raise funds for Paramount+, the company’s streaming platform.

Tyler Perry currently owns a minority stake in BET and has a long relationship with the network, which helped fund his first big screen movie, Diary of a Mad Black Woman.

We went without a TBT post two Thursdays ago, so I’m making you whole today.

As we’ve discussed many times in the past, commercial success in the music industry is not an exact science. Therefore, it is difficult to predict the kind of career an artist is going to have.

Every now and then, however, an artist comes along and you just kinda know: This one’s a star.

Adele is one of them ones.

To be fair, a white artist with a Black sound is a proven cheat code, but her debut single, “Chasing Pavements,” is worthy of the accolades. Written by the singer and Eg White, the ballad is based on an incident where Adele was walking down a pavement alone after being kicked out of a bar for punching her then-boyfriend in the face — she had gone to the bar to confront him after finding out he was cheating. The drama.

In 2023, it’s not unreasonable to be skeptical about some of the “true stories” that “inspire” Adele’s music, but back then, it all seemed legit. “Chasing Pavements” would go on to win a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Adele would also win the award for Best New Artist.

In the 15 years since the song’s release, Adele has established herself as one of the greatest artists of all time, with her albums, 21 and 25, holding the distinction as the last two albums to be certified diamond in the US — the latter also holds the record for the most sales in a debut week, with 3.38 million copies sold. She has also won 16 Grammys, including two wins each in the Album, Record and Song of the Year categories.

It turns out that those pavements were indeed leading Adele to world domination. Click play.

Nothing says “I want a No. 1 hit” like releasing a remix with a feature as your song sits in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. This is especially the case when the song in question is an album cut from a project released in 2016 that has since been followed by two other albums.

This is the story of “Die for You,” the 17th track from The Weeknd’s third LP, Starboy, which has become a hit song after steadily gaining popularity over the last 18 months or so. The song became a viral hit on TikTok in the fall of 2021 and got added radio playlists. However, unlike your typical viral hit, this not only stuck but rose all the way to the top 10.

With the top spot within striking distance, The Weeknd has done what anyone playing to win will do: He released a remix with a feature. And not just any feature, an Ariana Grande feature. The two have collaborated multiple times in the past and topped the Billboard Hot 100 together with the “Save Your Tears” remix (i.e., the last time Abel pulled out all stops for a No. 1 hit).

One of the beauties of the new chart rules at Billboard is that it now reflects what people are listening to regardless of when the music was released. One could argue that Mariah Carey has been the biggest beneficiary of this change, but there have been others, including Kate Bush, who topped the global chart last year with a song released in 1985.

“Die for You” joins the list of songs that show that there is no expiration date for good music, and with Ariana Grande on the remix, The Weeknd has a strong shot at the throne on next week’s chart.