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Hammer Heads for the Top

<i> Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press</i>

Though long one of the most popular rappers, M. C. Hammer was primarily known only in rap circles until this breakthrough album, “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em"--No. 4 on the Billboard chart--finally introduced him to the pop mainstream. Controversy is certainly helping Public Enemy’s “Fear of a Black Planet,” which vaulted to No. 19 in just two weeks. On the heavy-metal circuit, Slaughter’s “Stick it to Ya” (No. 21) and Damn Yankees’ “Damn Yankees” (No. 41) are the fast-rising newcomers. The “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” sound track (No. 31) is zooming up the chart. So is Fleetwood Mac’s “Behind the Mask” (No. 30).

* Heart probably takes more heat from critics than any major pop-rock group. “Brigade” isn’t a critical favorite, but it’s No. 8 after just three weeks on the chart.

POP ALBUM CHART

Rank Rank 2 Weeks Title (Label) Last Week Weeks Ago on Chart 1. “I Do Not Want ... 1 2 5 Haven’t Got” Sinead O’Connor (Chrysalis) 2. “Rhythm Nation 1814" 2 2 31 Janet Jackson (A&M;) 3. “Soul Provider” 3 5 42 Michael Bolton (Columbia) 4. “Please Hammer Don’t 6 7 9 Hurt ‘Em” M.C. Hammer (Capitol) 5. “Forever Your Girl” 5 4 94 Paula Adbul (Virgin) * “Brigade” 14 42 3 Heart (Capitol)

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