Happy Birthday, Hammer! Tech From the Entrepreneur Who Is 2 Legit 2 Quit

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So it's Friday, and you're going about your day, and you're looking forward to the weekend, and you -- 

Stop. 

HAMMER TIME

Hooray! Today is MC Hammer's 50th birthday. Which means that today is an even better day than usual to indulge in some Hammer Time, and to celebrate the guy who, in addition to being a wordsmith and dancer and fashion icon and preacher and advertiser and university lecturer and cross-species musical collaborator and lyrical proponent of social Darwinism and political inspiration and overall national treasure ... is also a tech entrepreneur.

Yes. I think Oprah spoke for us all when she told Hammer, "I'm really kind of stunned. Who knew you were a geek?" It's not just Hammer's 2 (legit 2 quit) million followers on Twitter, or the lectures on social media strategy he's delivered at Stanford and Wharton and Harvard, or the fact that Hammer's a fan of Mashable and a regular guest on the tech conference circuit. It's also that he seems to get -- really get -- the web. Palpably. Legitimately

Below, some of the platforms and products that have known, in their own special way, some Hammer Time. 

The web:

In 2007, Hammer teamed up with Geoffrey Arone, co-founder of alternative web browser maker Flock, to launch Dancejam.com, a YouTube-like social-network-y dance instruction site. ("Like MySpace with guardrails," Arone described it.)

The smartphone:

In January 2009, Hammer teamed up with InfoMedia to launch the HammerTime iPhone app, which allowed users to "keep up with Hammer's blog, find out where he will be in concert, enjoy his classic music videos and follow his Twitter posts." As the app's press release put it, "HammerTime(TM) provides fans of MC Hammer an opportunity to check out what this Grammy award-winning music star is doing with one click."

The tablet (part 1):

In February of last year, Hammer chatted with Oprah about ZAGGmate, an iPad case-and-keyboard "that if you drop it," Hammer said, "the screen doesn't break and then if you stand it up, it becomes a keyboard -- a Blue Tooth wireless keyboard." Made of "aircraft-grade aluminum" that matches the iPad and "military grade high-density padding for superior drop protection," the case is still available on Amazon.

The tablet (part 2):

Last January, Hammer teamed up with the social magazine app Flipboard to release the track "See Her Face."

Mobile finance:

The rumors are true: Hammer is an investor in Square, the Jack Dorsey-founded the mobile card reading service. The two guys, apparently, are pals. 

Social: 

Hammer is an investor in Bump, the instant contact-sharing app for iOS and Android. 

Search:

Hammer's latest investment is the to-be-released Wiredoo, the "deep search" tool that uses semantic processing to improve on Google and Bing's keyword-based returns. "It's about relationships beyond just the keywords," Hammer told last year's Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

As The New York Times summed up that presentation, delightfully: "Mr. Hammer [ed: Mr. Hammer!] noted that he has started building and investing in technology start-ups as he sees the business potential of data-driven companies on the Web. 'No one is playing for singles anymore,' he said at the event, noting the huge returns investors can reap from technology start-ups."

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Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.

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