Vanilla Ice - “To the Extreme”

A few weeks back my buddy Brent dropped off his tape collection at my house, which was exciting because Brent rocks a lot of hip hop so I knew there’d be some gems in those shoe boxes of cassettes.  Little did I knew this nugget that ushered in the 1990s was going to be in there. Waiting to be played.  Oh yeah.

Quick to the point, to the point no fakin’,
I’m cookin’ MCs like a pound of bacon.
- “Ice Ice Baby”

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Nestled right in between the weeks when Alice In Chain’s Facelift and Queensrÿche’s Empire were released, Vanilla Ice’s To the Extreme dropped in late August and this son of a bitch spent 16 WEEKS at #1 in the U.S.  Sixteen.  One-six.  “Ice Ice Baby,” was originally released as a goddamn B-side (to a remake of “Play That Funky Music,” which absolutely sucks, BTW) and became the first hip hop song to make it to #1 on the Billboard singles chart.  The album has sold seven million copies.

And most people consider it a joke.

 

So how the fuck does that happen?

I don’t know.  But I can tell you that “Ice Is Workin’ It” goes perfectly when played with the 1963 movie classic Cleopatra that is currently muted on my TV, the part where Cleopatra makes her first entrance into Rome.  Which is bizarre.  But kind of cool.

And you know what?  It’s not terrible.

Look, we all only know one Vanilla Ice song.  But it’s been drilled into brains after countless hearings.  So what about the rest of To the Extreme?  Well… “Ice Is Workin’ It” is a pretty catchy tune, but after that…

I texted some friends of mine and told them we were listening to this.  Here are some of the responses I got:

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Holy crap, Seattle gets a shout out on this tape!!!

So what’s the verdict?  I mean, c’mon.  Say what you will, but an insanely iconic single came off of To the Extreme.  Yeah, it’s dated as hell.  But seriously, that’s the way it goes sometimes.  Not everything is Born to Run or Master of Puppets… both of which have sold less copies than To the Extreme.  I wasn’t one of the seven million… but I benefitted from someone who was.  Thanks Brent.  Thanks a lot.

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