When a girl has a heart of stone, there's only one way to melt it. Just add Ice.
Van Winkle stars in the 1991 motion picture Cool as Ice, which was a very loose update of Rebel Without a Cause, starring Van Winkle as Johnny, a biker gang member modeled on the Vanilla Ice character. Johnny falls in love with a preppy girl he meets while riding through a small town. He tells her to "Drop that zero and get with the hero. " The movie contains some of the worst dialogue of all time. The soundtrack featured several new Ice tracks, including a duet with Naomi Campbell. The film and was both a commercial and critical flop, and Van Winkle won the "Worst New Star" award at the 1991 Golden Raspberry Awards. Cool as Ice lasted less than a month in U.S. theaters and slipped into obscurity with only a limited VHS release.
That same year, Van Winkle played himself in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, where he performed a self-penned song named "Ninja Rap" during one of the film's climatic battle scenes. While heavily ridiculed and not a hit single itself, "Ninja Rap" helped turn the film's soundtrack into a best-seller.
Revisiting his songs for a third time, Van Winkle's next album was a live version of To The Extreme titled Extremely Live. Though he received a Grammy Award nomination for Best New Artist and Extremely Live was certified gold, his fame had faded significantly by the time the record was released in 1991.
Fall from grace
Van Winkle's success also brought legal and personal problems. "Ice Ice Baby" sampled the 1981 Queen and David Bowie collaboration "Under Pressure" without permission, acknowledging credit or paying royalties; Ice even denied in an interview on MTV that the song was sampled, despite the tracks' undeniable melodic similarities. There was no public court case over the issue, but the copyright holders of "Under Pressure" threatened suit and settled out of court with Ice for an undisclosed sum.
Members of the national black fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha accused Van Winkle of using the fraternity's chant "Ice ice baby, too cold, too cold," without credit or permission. Although he initially wrote in his original biography, " 'Ice Baby' is a chant that's done by the Alpha fraternity. I flipped the Vanilla in front of it and thought, 'That's cool,' " Van Winkle later denied any knowledge of Alpha Phi Alpha.
Meanwhile, Van Winkle's debut single, "Play That Funky Music," sampled the 1976 Wild Cherry hit of the same name; however, Wild Cherry singer-guitarist Rob Parissi was not credited as the writer of Van Winkle's version of the song, which was instead credited to Ice and DJ Earthquake. According to VH1 in 2002, Parissi was awarded $500,000 in damages.
However, the decisions of what to do next were badly bungled by his management team, and in a desire to get as rich as he could as quick as he could, Van Winkle went along with it. One week after To the Extreme topped the Billboard album chart, SBK released a biography that chronicled a false background story in an attempt to give Van Winkle street credibility. The rapper claimed therein that he was a gang member who had been raised in the ghetto of Miami Lakes, Florida, and had attended the same predominantly black high school as 2 Live Crew's Luther Campbell. The biography also erroneously claimed that Van Winkle, an actual Motocross enthusiast, had been a national champion. These facts first earned notoriety when student-reporters at Miami Palmetto Senior High School, a suburban and mainly white high school in Miami, attempted to locate Van Winkle in the local district records, in the process determining Vanilla Ice's real name and background. His deception was widely condemned, particularly in the hip hop community, and he could not shake the perception that he embodied the white mainstream's commercial appropriation and dilution of traditionally black music.
The resulting backlash all but reduced Vanilla Ice to a pariah, and his popularity took a severe hit. Fans were fed up, not so much with the music, but with his image. He received flack for his overly flashy stage attire, he often used corny dialogue in interviews, and constantly pandered to a very fickle preteen crowd which was mostly just interested in his first hit single.
Vanilla Ice had now become a regular subject of parody and was regularly mocked by his peers, most notably in 3rd Bass' 1991 hit single "Pop Goes the Weasel". The music video featured Henry Rollins dressed like Vanilla Ice and being assaulted by the members of the group. In Living Color also mocked Ice with a sketch where the rapper (Jim Carrey) was depicted as a bumbling phony while the backup vocalists sang, "He's so white-white baby!"
On February 8, 1991, Saturday Night Live aired a skit with Chris Rock as Nat X and guest host Kevin Bacon as Ice, in which he regularly replied to Nat's questions with Van Winkle's popular catchphrase, "Word to your mother." Both Rock's character and rapper Ice-T, the latter in an interview with Rolling Stone, wondered if the rough-and-tumble "street" that Ice claimed to hail from was in fact Sesame Street.
Horrible Acting, Story, Plot, and Music (one of the worst movies of all time).
This movie is so bad it is very funny.
Vanilla Ice ... John 'Johnny' Van Owen
Kristin Minter ... Kathy Winslow
Deezer D ... Jazz
John Newton ... Nick (as John Haymes Newton)
Naomi Campbell ... Singer
Kevin Hicks ... Sir D
Allison Dean ... Princess
Sydney Lassick ... Roscoe McCallister
Dody Goodman ... Mae McCallister
Candy Clark ... Grace Winslow
Michael Gross ... Gordon Winslow
Director: David Kellogg
Writer: David Stenn
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