By psychologist, Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, Ph.D.,
Aka Dr BLT
Artist: Vanilla Ice, aka Robert Matthew Van Winkle
Song: Ice, Ice Baby
Sample this Dr BLT cover of the song before proceeding:
Ice, Ice Baby
The musical hook is memorable (though he was accused with stealing it from David Bowe). The lyrical hook is cool (both literally and figuratively speaking). The opening line is memorable. In fact, if the whole world took heed, (as the listener is later instructed to do) to the opening line and adapted it as common practice, I have no doubt that the world would be a much better place to live.
I’ve often taken heed to Ice’s advice when I found myself failing at a particular goal or task. One often cited definition of neurosis is to do the same thing over and over again, and expect different results. I’ve gotten caught up in this spiral myself, and the first step in getting off of it is to “STOP!”
Collaborating is not always easy because it often involves a power struggle, and it often involves the potential for personality clashes. There is such a thing as too many cooks in the kitchen, and one shouldn’t bring on more ‘chefs” just for the sake of bringing on more “chefs,” however, when we put our minds together, an often powerful synergy occurs and we are able to solve problems much quicker, and much more efficiently.
As I always say, “Why can’t we all just get a song?” Speaking of songs, though there is a plethora of pithy wisdom crammed into the opening line, the remainder of the song is bereft of such succinctly-stated sagacious lines, but though they appear rather vain and shallow, the lines have great entertainment value. If you were a white guy and you wanted to sound cool back in the day, you spouted off a little of this song to impress the ladies…
…Ice is back with my brand new inventionFew were impressed in the then rap community. Though Vanilla Ice was laughing all the way to the bank, members of the rap community moved quickly to single him out and shun him. I can’t say definitely it was a matter of his skin color not matching his chosen genre. After all, Eminem has had no problem fitting in with the other gangstas, at least with the ones that matter. The shun came from how his rap was spun. He was dubbed “Illegitimate” because he seemed to be conspicuously lacking in street creds. On top of the street cred issue, many regarded him as egotistical, though that claim often appeared hypocritical. Isn’t much of what passes as rap one rap dude bragging about how great he is and about how “the other guy” ain’t worth a dime?
MC Hammer said in a song that he was “too legit to quit.” But it didn’t take long before Vanilla essentially quit because others deemed him “too illegit not to quit.” After a movie that he starred in apparently bombed, he pretty much went into hiding, for fear of his life, so the rumors go.
I’m not here to defend Vanilla Ice (or am I?), but this groove is really smooth. Some of his others were as well. You might say Vanilla Ice, who has since dramatically changed his image and his sound, is the Pat Boone of rap music, but hey, what’s not to like about Pat Boone?
…Dance bum rush to the speaker that boomsWho am I to talk back to the rap community? On the other hand, some of what has been said about Vanilla Ice simply fits under the rubric of what I called in this song…
White Lies about White GuysI’ve seen Vanilla Ice’s dark side, during the course of a reality show in which his ego and his temper showed, in a not-so-subtle way. And, just a couple of years back, in yet another reality show (I’m sorry, I forget the name of both), I saw him get back on the stage and dance and rap up a storm on the song that brought him fame (the same one that made him infamous in the eyes of some). He was in exceptional form. The boy may not have street creds, but the boy sure has rhythm.
His song inspired my parody, Nice, Nice Baby, a song that featured my daughter at, yes, 5 days of age. It was our very first recording session together, and within weeks, she got her first airplay when another song of mine was aired on a college radio station in Christchild, New Zealand.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Great art inspires other art. The wisdom contained in the song may only stretch out over one line, and clearly, he’s no Eminem, but the groove in this gem persists for about 4 minutes. He was a lyrical poet, even if it was just for a moment in pop music history. Too illegit not to quit? I don’t think so.
If you doubt me, then, STOP! COLLABORATE in your critique by exchanging notes with me. Then LISTEN, really LISTEN, and get beyond your STEREOtyping of rap music’s most understood, underrated, and most casually and cruelly dismissed rap artists of all time.