Robert Van Winkle wanted to be a rapper for as long as he could remember. He saw the success of Public Enemy and Run-D.M.C., and felt that he had something unique to add to the mix. More specifically, the fact that he was whiter than white bread with white food coloring and a huge heaping of mayonnaise on top. The young lad practiced his dance moves and made sure to place his baseball cap on backwards, but soon realized that he was going to need a cool name in order to properly break into the industry. There was Ice-T, Ice Cube, so what about… Vanilla Ice?
The name caught on. He quickly gained famed from his song “Ice Ice Baby”, which basically took the riff from “Under Pressure” by David Bowie and Freddie Mercury and re-packaged it in an incredibly bland and talentless version. Mainstream music listeners naturally ate it up, and his debut album shot to #1. This would soon be followed by a Grammy nomination and an American Music Association award. His greatest accomplishment, however, would be when he rapped the theme song to the hit movie, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze”.
All would not remain well for Vanilla Ice, however. His sampling of “Under Pressure” had been done without legal permission, prompting a lawsuit to be filed. Reporters discovered that he had lied about his upbringing, and that he had been raised in white suburbia as opposed to ‘the hood’. Perhaps worst of all, people began to actually listen to his music, and realized that he sounded like a tone-deaf version of Paul from The Wonder Years. His fortunes rapidly plummeted, though he would experience some later success in Japan, as well as go on to star in The Surreal World with Ron Jeremy and Tammy Fae Baker.