Vanilla Ice is an institution unto his own. On the back of one hit rap song from the '90s he caused a massive amount of controversy revolving around his rebellion to conform to a certain image. Vanilla Ice has remained the poster child for a certain time and generation who will, in the New Year get to relive those memories when the Ice Man cometh to Australia to slam us with his new brand of hip hop. Sneaker Freaker snatched the opportunity to have an intimate one on one chat to get the low-down on everything from the Nike SB Blazer from the “Fallen Heroes” pack to debating his dislike of the image he had to portray back in the day.
Can I speak to Vanilla Ice please?
My real name is Rob
Hi Rob, can I call you Rob then, that’s fine?
Yeah Rob’s good!
Hey, how excited are you about coming to Oz man? Have you ever been before?
Oh I’m loving it man, I’m excited. Yeah, I’ve come before but it’s so long ago I don’t remember.
Did you see the Nike SB shoe that Nike did for you as part of the “Fallen Heroes” Pack?
Yes yes, I love it! Oh it’s awesome, are you kidding me? That’s the bomb
Would you or do you wear it?
Oh hell yes! I love it. I get pimped in that shoe man; I can’t believe how good of a job they did on it.
They did an awesome job, you know the other two in the pack the Milli Vanilli and the Pee Wee Herman weren’t as successful so that’s pretty good for you I suppose!
Hahahah!!! I’m just excited that they even made a shoe on me.
I know, its pretty cool, because I mean so long ago you weren’t probably so cool about being Vanilla Ice and now these days it’s OK, if not cool to be you!
Therapy is a great thing, hahahahhahaha!!!
Everyone is wandering what to expect as part of your live show when you come out to Australia? There are a few songs obviously from “To The Extreme” that were massive, but that would take up like 10 minutes, so there has to be more right?
Well my stage show is quite a bit different than most people would ever be able to predict. It’s hard to explain but I’ve been playing stages this part of 5 years and sometimes I don’t even play “Ice Ice Baby”, because my demographics are like 18-25 and even younger than that. They are aware of “Ice Ice Baby” but my live show is like, I don’t know how to explain it. I’ve got a full band, pyrotechnics flying everywhere, sparks flying everywhere, water spraying everywhere. My crowd is made up of a lot of body- pierced tattooed kids that like the mosh pit.
So you’ve gone more metal orientated hip hop, kind of Korn, Limp Bizkit style right?
Yeah, well theirs is more rock rap or should I say rock hip hop and mine is more hip hop rock, it’s more hip hoppy, more lyrically orientated. But I still consider myself a hip hop artist but I get the same crowd as Korn or Limp Bizkit, yeah the same crowd exactly, they love coming out and going buck wild.
I gotta tell you something, I’m actually supporting you on your Melbourne show, I’m doing a dj set before you go on stage. So I’m pretty stoked about that and it will be really good to meet you.
Oh HELL YEAH! I’m gonna bring my drinking hat!
Oh don’t worry we drink you under the table in Australia!
I heard all about it, so I plan on getting loose under the table!
Speaking of Australia, and this may be a rumour, but I heard you have a pet kangaroo?
Oh, it’s true; I’ve got a kangaroo. I’ve had him seven years. His name is Bucky and I’ve had him since he was a baby. My kids used to sleep with him, he had a diaper, and he’s really cool.
Only a rock star could do that!
Hahaha, believe me, I’ve done a lot of rock star things in my life
Oh I know! I’m pretty sure about that! And is it true that you’re going to be on Family Guy as Vanilla Christ?
Yeah I'll be singing “Christ Christ Baby!”
What about this street wear store you used to have called “To The Extreme”? Is that still going in Florida?
No I sold that a couple of years ago to Edge Wise. I sold the business but I own the whole strip mall, I own all the real estate.
You own the whole strip mall? That’s crazy man, that’s dope!
Hey I made great investments… I ain’t an idiot you know, I ain’t a rocket scientist either but I made some really good investments.
Well yeah you made a lot off “Ice Ice Baby”. I mean how weird is it to you that it became the first number one rap song in history?
Yeah man, I’m still shocked. It was the first cross over hip hop song. I mean I have no ego, so I don’t really give a shit but it is pretty phenomenal isn’t it?
Yeah it is, to think about it! Obviously with the ‘90s revival coming back, and the impact it is having on the street wear scene right now with everyone rocking these fluoro coloured sneakers and clothing, you were such a big part of that. Thanks to you there are kids now that are shaving their eyebrows, shaving lines into their hair probably not knowing that you were the originator of it all on a commercial realm. Did you ever think that an image that was so manufactured for you could create such a massive revival in 2007?
Oh yeah, it’s great, it’s a compliment, it’s pretty cool. People are looking for a good time and they miss some of the old times. You know what’s great is that “Ice Ice Baby” is basically tattooed to a certain generation, an entire generation and there is nothing for the new generation to tie onto. You know here today gone tomorrow. You’ve got American Idol which is artificial as shit. You’ve got karaoke singers up there, basically singing someone else’s song, somebody dressing them up, somebody choreographing them. You’ve got a puppet that you’re watching, which is very entertaining; I even watch it myself but on the serious side that ain’t what music is about. Music’s not about gimmicks and image it’s about the fuckin music, and people are tapping on to the old school again, which is damn cool, because I’m part of it!
But isn’t that ironic that you think that of American Idol, because back in the day that’s how you started. It’s common folklore that your record company packaged you for “Ice Ice Baby” but then that was something you were fighting against.
Exactly right, my image and everything was made up and I had to learn the hard way. I was like the guinea pig out there. I had to take the heat for sampling music; I was the one that had the whole artificialness of the record industry and publishers and all that shit thrown at me. But the great thing about it is, I always wrote my own music, I always produced it, so I had control of the music but I had no control over the image.
Well YOU were the first one to do the entire full on sampling in hip hop, up until then you would hear maybe loops and minute samples in the music then Puff Daddy took that over in a big way with Bad Boy and it went crazy.
Exactly. I took the heat for it and now he’s accepted to do it.
Yeah but you know what, you got the last laugh because at the end of the day you were meant to be a one hit wonder and you’re still around today!
Yeah totally, I mean it’s phenomenal and I’m still blown away. I still love “Ice Ice Baby”; the music is great I just never liked the image thing about it. The greatest thing now is that I can jump out of my own skin and look at it and go “I like that guy too”, you know, which I couldn’t do for a while. I hated the whole thing so bad I went on “The Surreal Life” with Ron Jeremy and tore up the whole set because I was so pissed at the whole thing. I wanted to get away from it so bad. I ain’t gonna lie though, I had a major weekend that lasted a few years. So when I say I did the rock star shit, I DID the rock star shit.
Well you can do it all over again now. Cash in on it!
Hey, I’m loving life man. I don’t do the hardcore stuff no more but I’ll drink with ya anytime!
Make sure to check out http://www.vanillaicedownunder.com/ for all Aussie tour dates.