Vanilla Ice (1968—)

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Vanilla Ice (1968—)

White rapper Vanilla Ice burst on the music scene in 1990 with his hit single "Ice Ice Baby," a danceable tune with a bass line lifted from the David Bowie/Queen collaboration "Under Pressure." The single, from the album To the Extreme, became the first rap song to reach number one on the pop singles chart, where it stayed for sixteen weeks. Critics slammed Vanilla Ice (whose real name is Robert Van Winkle) for his rip-off of black culture, but apologists credited him with bringing rap to a larger audience. Vanilla Ice's popularity lasted just a few months—long enough to earn him a starring role in the movie Cool As Ice but not long enough to propel sales of his subsequent albums beyond a small core of dedicated fans.

—Tom Pendergast

Further Reading:

Bego, Mark. Ice, Ice, Ice: The Extraordinary Vanilla Ice Story. New York, Dell, 1991.

Vanilla Ice. Ice, by Ice. New York, Avon, 1991.