Who remembers July 2, 1990? I certainly don’t, seeing as that I wasn’t born until ’96, but I’m sure Vanilla Ice remembers. July 2, 1990 was the day his hit single “Ice, Ice, Baby” officially dropped. This would mark the beginning of an amazing one-hit-wonder journey for Robert Van Winkle. Wait, lets stop right there. Which name is better, Robert Van Winkle or Vanilla Ice? Both are pretty trashy but Van Winkle? Van fucking Winkle. I’m willing to bet that he got made fun of more than me through middle school, and my last name is Strokis. Okay, let’s continue, Ice’s most popular song, “Ice, Ice, Baby,” according to Wikipedia, topped the charts in a couple of countries in 1990-91, but then again I’ve never known Australia, Belgium, New Zealand, or the Netherlands to have particularly good tastes in music. In more relevant countries (no offense to those previously mentioned), Ice managed to impress listeners in Ireland, the UK, and managed to top the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. I’m not quite sure what that is since it was before the times when the great Strokis roamed the Earth, but I guess it’s impressive.
But is it really?
On this Wikipedia page, it seems the song gained so much popularity because Van Winkle was a great novelty act that was a worldwide joke for a couple months. I’m sure his other songs like “Ninja Rap” did not help. If you don’t understand the reference, just look up the lyrics. It seems that Vanilla Ice was already washed up before people found out who he was. His rising status as a comedy performer (whether or not that was his intention) took the world with such force that it was embarrassing other aspiring white rappers. Actually, it was just Eminem who was quoted saying: “I felt like I didn’t want to rap anymore. I was so mad, because he was making it real hard for me.”. If you’ve ever seen 8 Mile, then you know Marshall Mathers is no quitter, but Vanilla Ice’s pseudo-rap, pop-comedy bullshit was almost enough to put away Eminem’s career.
Vanilla’s 15 minutes were up and he had nothing else to do but play cheap gigs here and there so people could get the occasional laugh and he could pretend to still be culturally relevant. One of these gigs happened to be the annual Shamrock Fest in D.C., where I had the privilege of watching Vanilla Ice with Aiden, our resident blog lord, and my friend Sam (who actually inspired the writing of this post). Oh boy, what an interesting performance. If you thought Ice was washed up before, try seeing him 26 years past his prime while being berated by a large group of drunken Irish people asking what other songs he was going to perform besides “Ice, Ice, Baby”. That one song turned out to be “Ninja Rap,” but everyone got bored and left after that, but not before Van Winkle got the chance to throw some shade at MC Hammer, and give us a quick update on how his life was going.
Well after his wild one hit wonder ride, Ice decided it way best to get a slot on the DIY Network to air his very own home flipping show titled The Vanilla Ice Project. I’ve never seen or heard of it, so I’m guessing it’s not a very popular TV show. I suppose it is enough to cover his legal fees. Oh yeah, that’s right, Vanilla Ice had to lawyer up after being hit with grand theft and burglary charges after stealing furniture, an air conditioning unit, and multiple bicycles among other things from a foreclosed home in South Florida. What a stand up guy. No need to fret tho, your early 90’s role model avoided jail time by paying over $1,000 in restitution and completing 100 hours of community service.
So continue to throw shade at MC Hammer, Mr. Robert Van Winkle, I’m sure he’ll have a nice as you’re picking up trash on the side of the highway. He may have gone broke but at least (to my knowledge) he’s not robbing bankrupt Floridians when the cameras are rolling on his shitty TV show.