Throwback Thursday: Ice Ice Baby (1990)

Above: Robert Matthew Van Winkle, better known by his stage name Vanilla Ice

What: Ice Ice Baby

When: 1990

By: Vanilla Ice

From the album: To The Extreme (1990)

The reason for the throwback: Go ahead — try to get the song out of your head now that you’ve started reading this. Good luck not having that baseline, lifted without permission from “Under Pressure” by David Bowie and Queen, playing as the soundtrack to the rest of your day.

Say what you want about Vanilla Ice and his signature song, but know this: “Ice Ice Baby” was catchy as hell, still is today, and played a pivotal role in hip hop making the transition into the mainstream.

“Ice Ice Baby” was the first hip hop song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Let me say that again: this is the first hip hop single to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, landing in the top spot on November 3, 1990.

Hip Hop tracks top the charts all the time now — good ones, bad ones, repetitive ones, ones that don’t make any sense whatsoever — but prior to Robert Van Winkle, it had never happened. Laugh all you want, but Vanilla Ice did it first and that commands a little respect, even begrudgingly.

Is it a great song from a lyrical standpoint? Of course not, but it’s insanely infectious. You knew all the lyrics and nearly 25 years later, you can still go word-for-word with it any time it comes on the radio.

You can’t help but like it either.

Maybe not in a serious, “This is my jam!” kind of way like whatever it is you’ve got on heavy rotation today, but in a “damn that Vanilla Ice and his clever use of a really catchy tune!” kind of way. “Ice Ice Baby” has been mocked, ridiculed and ranked near the top of so many “Worst. Songs. Ever.” lists that it has become a guilty pleasure of the highest order.

Tell yourself I’m crazy, it’s fine. Just know that I know you’re going to spend the rest of the day reminding yourself that “to the extreme, I rock a mic like a vandal / light up a stage and wax a chump like a candle.”

And I also know you just shouted “Dance!” too.

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