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



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



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. 


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


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."

Jump to comments
Presented by

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.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Time JFK Called the Air Force to Complain About a 'Silly Bastard'

51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy made a very angry phone call.

Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus


Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.


Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.


Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.


Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.


The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air



More in Technology

Just In