LOS ANGELES -- Rapper Hammer, formerly of the M.C. variety, was slated to take the stage Monday night with his former name back intact as Master of Ceremonies (MC) Hammer at the 19th annual American Music Awards.
Thirty awards in seven music categories were slated to be presented during the three-hour telecast from the Shrine Auditorium. Categories include: pop/rock, country, rhythm and blues, rap, heavy metal, adult contemporary and dance music.
Hammer, a big winner at last year's American Music Awards, was slated to perform 'Do Not Pass Me By,' and a medley of his current hits 'Too Legit To Quit,' and 'Burn It Up.'
The popular rapper sold 15 million copies of his 1990 release, 'Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em,' which topped the charts for 21 weeks. He currently has two Top 40 hits, including the 'Addams Groove,' one of four songs he co-wrote for the movie, 'The Addams Family.'
The list of American Music Awards nominees was headed up by Boyz II Men, Color Me Badd, Mariah Carey, C+C Music Factory, Witney Houston and Mariah Carey.
The American Music Awards is somewhat of a popularity contest since winners are chosen by the public and not by their peers as with the Grammys. Ballots are sent to a sampling of 20,000 people throughout the country, taking into account geographic location, age sex and ethnic origin.
A list of presenters is a who's who of music, including heavy metaler Lita Ford, country singer Clint Black, rappers D.J. Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince and Natalie Cole, who is working on a comeback this year with her album 'Unforgettable,' a collection of remakes recorded decades ago by her father, Nat 'King' Cole.
Scheduled performers include Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men, and Wynonna Judd, in her first solo appearance without her mother, Naomi, who was forced to retire last year due to illness.
'Godfather of Soul' James Brown was slated to receive a special Award of Merit in recognition of his musical longevity. Previous winners include Bing Crosby, Motown's Berry Gordy, Irving Berlin and Loretta Lynn.