For the most part, the lyrics are a boastful rant about rocking a party, but there is a semblance of story starting with the line, "Rollin' in my 5.0." We hear about Vanilla rolling through Miami, checking out the lovely ladies when a shooting breaks out. Vanilla is armed (with his 9mm), but doesn't use it, instead hitting the gas and getting out of there. When the police show up, they ignore him ("They passed me up, confronted all the dope fiends").
Ice says that he wrote the lyrics in 30 minutes, and they the are based in fact. He told Entertainment Weekly in 2016: "The song tells you the story. It's me, with my top down, in my 5.0 Mustang, cruising down A1A Beachfront Avenue. It's a weekend experience that turned into an amazing song. It's timeless. I still love singing it, and it never gets old."
This samples the 1980 song "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie, but Vanilla Ice never got permission to use it. No lawsuit was filed, but it is likely that Vanilla Ice agreed to pay Queen and Bowie a settlement. According to industry insider Hans Ebert, Brian May of Queen first heard this song in a disco in Germany. He asked the DJ what it was, and learned that it was #1 in the US.
A rapper for Death Row Records, Mario "Chocolate" Johnson, claimed that he wrote part of this song and was not given credit, leading to a story that has become hip-hop lore. Label boss Suge Knight, along with Johnson and a football player for the Los Angeles Raiders, visited Vanilla Ice and convinced him to sign over the publishing rights to Death Row. It is rumored that part of the convincing involved hanging Vanilla Ice over a balcony by his ankles, but Ice denied it, saying the story got exaggerated and that Knight was polite in his request. Knight made a lot of money from those publishing rights, which went into Death Row Records and the development of artists like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac.
On the liner notes of the album, the composer credit is given to Vanilla Ice, Earthquake (his producer, Floyd Brown), and M. Smooth (collaborator Mario Johnson). They also thank MC Hammer, Ice T, Public Enemy, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Cash Money, EPMD, and 2 Live Crew, but there is not mention of Queen or David Bowie. However, Bowie and the members of Queen were later added as composers on the official credits.
When Ice raps about proceeding to "A1A, Beachfront Avenue," he's referring to the section of State Road A1A in South Beach, Miami where fast cars and beautiful people are found. "Beachfront Avenue" is the nickname for this section, which is officially Collins Avenue. It runs along the famous beaches in Miami and is very much a hot spot.
"Ice ice baby too cold, too cold" is a chant used by the black fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha as seen in the 1988 Spike Lee movie School Daze.
Vanilla Ice's original bio, sent to music critics and other industry folks, was fake, claiming he was from Miami and went to high school with Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew. This bio stated that the chorus of this track was "a chant that's done by the Alpha fraternity." This acknowledgment was removed from all further press materials, which didn't help his standing in the black community.
Vanilla Ice was discovered by Tommy Quon, who owned the City Lights nightclub in Dallas. Quon surrounded him with a black backup crew (the VIP Posse) and hooked him up the the club DJ, Earthquake, who produced two sides of a single for Ice. Distributed by Quon's label Ultrax, the A-side was a cover of "Play That Funky Music" by the disco band Wild Cherry, and the B-side was "Ice Ice Baby." A DJ named Darrell J on the Columbus, Georgia radio station WAGH flipped the single and played "Ice Ice Baby," which led to a record deal with SBK records. "Play that Funky Music" was released as the follow up, reaching #4 in the US. (Ice didn't credit that song's writer, Wild Cherry frontman Rob Parissi, who sued, collecting over $500,000 in royalties.)
This was the first single by a rapper to hit #1 in the US. It is not, however, the first #1 hit with a rap - Blondie earned that distinction with "Rapture," which hit the top spot in 1981.
This was nominated for a Grammy in the category Best Rap Performance. The award went to MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This." It was only the second year a Grammy was given in the category, and the first was won by DJ Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince (Will Smith) for "Parents Just Don't Understand." These choices didn't go over well among many in the rap community who felt they were awarding irrelevant songs that could hardly be considered rap; Public Enemy was nominated along with MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, and protested the show. Ten years later, attitudes changed and Eminem was a big winner at The Grammys.
At one point, SBK Records pulled the single to boost sales of the album, which went on to sell over 7 million copies.
Vanilla Ice (real name, Robert Van Winkle), claims he was not happy with the image the record company created for him, but he went along with it because they paid him so much money. After the song dropped off the charts, he became a bit of a joke, going through severe drug problems and depression as a result. In the late '90s he emerged as a hard-core artist, remaking "Ice Ice Baby" into a song called "Too Cold" on his 1998 album Hard To Swallow. In 2004, he appeared on the TV show The Surreal Life, where he shared a house with porn star Ron Jeremy, model Traci Bingham, and other sort-of-famous people.
Vanilla Ice was a top Jet Ski racer around the time this song came out.
When this went straight to #3 in the UK, it became the highest entry for a new act on that chart. In 1994 the Danish singer Whigfield went straight in at #1, making her the first artist to go directly to #1 in the UK with a debut single.
When this became a hit, it made "Under Pressure" more popular, as a lot of kids now recognized the tune. When Queen released their compilation album Classic Queen in 1992, they wrote in the liner notes: "In 1990 the bass and piano featured again on Vanilla Ice's number one single Ice Ice Baby."
Vanilla Ice has become a running joke, but at the time most people took him (sort of) seriously. The folks at the sketch comedy show In Living Color, however, jumped on the opportunity to ridicule him, putting Jim Carrey (the only white male member of the cast) in the role of Ice performing "White, White Baby." Sample lyric: "I take real rap and dupe it!"
M.C. Hammer and Milli Vanilli were also basted on the show long before most people saw the inherent comedy in their acts.
The duo Jedward had a huge UK with with their reworking of this song, which was titled "Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby)." Vanilla Ice featured on their version.
This song returned to the charts in 2010 when it hit #74 in a version by the Glee Cast, who sang it on the "Bad Reputation" episode of the show. Lead vocals on this one are by Matthew Morrison in the role of the teacher, Will Schuester.
John from Binghamton, NyIT is kind of funny to see how many people either weren't even alive back then, or don't remember the deal about the song. First off, Vanilla Ice was joking when he said it was different. He said that in an interview after the settlement. Second... HE didn't do anything. IT was his record label that should have mentioned Queen and David Bowie. A singer doesn't write his own album notes... And why do people get so annoyed at THIS, when it always was (and especially still is, done all the time? Despite the sampling Under Pressure, it was an entirely different song. And Nathan... a song is considered to have debuted when it is released as a single, not when its album was released. The album may be an 80s album, but the song is a 90s song.
Erika from West Band, WiI like Glee's versoin better. You all should check it out on YouTube if you haven't seen it. It's worth it. Trust me. :)
Neal from Hooterville, MiThis song is a shameless ripoff of Bowie and Queen. Vanilla Ice ruined his reputation with this song! At least, when Grandmaster Flash sampled Queen, he gave credit where credit was due!
Kenny from Remsenburg, NyHe also released it on a hardcore album with a re-make of Ice Ice Baby in the 1998.
Garrett from Pittsburgh, PaUmmm... Avery from Bucksport... You say you like the "rappers" MC Hammer, whos barely a rapper he is a pop artist and how can you call your self a Pac fan if you can't even spell his name... It's O.K. you probably live in a fenced plan on the eastside.
Mike from Santa Barbara, CaVanilla Ice's publicists should have kept him away from the camera without a script. He talked himself into being a monumental joke and his career never recovered.
Marc from Bakerton, PaSee there's goes ding ding da da ding ding, ours goes ding ding da da ding ding ding, it's not the same
Robert from Zanesville, OhAs if that weren't enough, check out Former Fat Boys- Ice Ice Baby (Ben Folds Remix) 2005, I think Genius!
Michaela from Usa, NyIf only there were more rap songs like this!
Avery from Bucksport, MeI not into Rap but i Like this song I have no clu what its about but their are only 4 rappers i like, Markymark,MC hammer,Vanilla Ice and tupac Shukor!! Old Skool...Word to yo muthas!!
Joe from Chicago, IlThis is the first C.D. single not to have a 45 counterpart.
Mikala from Sacramento, CaWHHOOOO this song is kool!
Nora from Small Town , Flhmmm, funny how he had just the one hit...now days he can be found with a guitar...playing metal !!!!! what a weirdo. some people will do anything to grasp onto hollywood, sad really they never can really let it go....he and a buch of others form the "one hit wonders" or "15 minutes of fame" kinda thing wind up on reality tv....sad for as popular as they once were.
Mark from Byrdstown, Tnthe thing I always hated about Robb Van Winkle is that he made millions of dollars as Vanilla Ice but then when he wasnt selling any more CDs he acted like the whole thing was stupid and that that wasnt what he was about and he hated all of that stuff.Then he tried to go all gangsta and ended up the big joke that he is today.He sure wasnt hating being Ice when the money and pu**y was rolling in ,Im sure.
Margaret from Buellton, CaThe sampling of the Queen/Bowie bass line annoyed and upset many people when this was released. On the tv show "Saturday Night Live", on the episode in which Vanilla Ice was the featured musical perfomer, Dennis Miller made the gutsy move of playing the first verse of the original Queen/Bowie song at the opening of his "Weekend Update" segment and saying, "God, I love Bowie." The audience cheered like crazy.
Sally from South Orange, NjFunny, I always thought David Bowie was the one who held Vanilla Ice out of the window by his ankles...
Brian from Mountlake Terrace, Waactualy becouse he sampled "under pressure"and all the publicity it made there's popular again and there not complaining they settled out of court with him.what are you guys making a big deal about.if I had written a song and it was already a hit and years later i'm missing a few zeros at the end royalty check.go ahead and steal my base line and pay me $500,000 dollars I'll gladly accept
Joe from Bellingham, WaF*ck vanilla ice and his damn note changing! I mean, damn dude! couldn't he have just given a little props to Queen!? Ice is a terrible rapper. ice ice baby isn't even a good song. #1? how the hell did that happen! if this guy isn't hosing down public bathrooms and begging for cigarets in a bus station within the next ten years, then there is seriously something wrong...
Luke from Manchester, EnglandCheck out the mash up of this and bon Jovi's Livin' On A Prayer
Erik from Bloomfield Hills, MiI don't have a problem with him using the riff from David Bowie and Queen, I just think its messed up that he didn't even have the decency to so much as acknowledge them on the album, after all the riff he used was half the song. If he didn't have such a snotty and an I'm-too-hip-to-give-credit-to-anyone attitude, he would have lasted longer. He dug his own grave.
Obzcure from Auckland, New ZealandI'll be the first to say its messed up that he stole the bass riff from under pressure. but why.. no really WHY does it effect you? are you david bowie? are you the remaining members of queen? are you even their close friends and family? no. so take this sogn for what its worth. it opened doors for a genre you may not appreciate but millions do. and i give him all the respect in the world for that. I'm not a huge fan of rap. especially stuff today. but like i said, its making millions of people happy. Whats wrong with that? Vanilla ice is still rocking shows. people still go them then and its worth every cent to them, they have a good time. who are you to disagree with what this man does. It was settled a long time ago. let it go. v-ice, bowie and queen all have. i fail to understand how people who have never met them in their life still have the right to bitch and moan about this.
Joshua from Twin Cities, MnOne day in 1992 when I was still in college, the campus radio station played "Under Pressure" and afterward the DJ said "That was Queen and David Bowie with 'Under Pressure' - whatever happened to Vanilla Ice, anyway?" I laughed my @$$ off at that comment (this was just two years after "Ice Ice Baby" and already VI was a has-been) and still get a chuckle out of it each time I hear "Under Pressure" and am reminded of that moment.
Brandon from Peoria, IlI hate this song. The only noteworthy Vanilla Ice performance was in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze" where he sang "Go ninja Go ninja go..." That was actually pretty cool.
Caitlin from Upper Township, Njat a school dance, we had a dance off contest to this song. it was boys vs. girls. Girls won, but it would have been more enjoyable had it been to another song.
Nathan from Defiance, OhIf he was lying about being a gangsta, does that mean he can't wax a chump like a candle? Say it ain't so Ice!
Brian from London, CanadaVanilla Ice is a criminal. Making him more "gangsta" then half the wannabes out there. Still Queen and David Bowie are some of the greatest song writers of the 20th century. Ch-ch-ch-changes!
Nathan from L-burg, KyBesides this song being released as a single in 1990 it is technically an '80s song (the album the song was originally released on came out in 1989)
Kori from Presque Isle, MeOnce again rap has to step in and ruin a good song. I like rap.... it's great. So I should rephrase that... once again, Vanilla Ice steps in and ruins a good song. The sad thing is, most kids recognize that little tune from Ice Ice Baby, not Under Pressure, when Queen is clearly the more talented performer here.
Sarah Floyd from Bloomingdale, Ili like this song because there is a cute guy singing in the song. and i know who sings it. i dont know his original name but i know his nick name which is vanilla ice! cool huh!
Jackh from Spokane, WaThey didnt have icecubes so i brought vanilla ice.
Eric from Cincinnati, OhIn fact, a lawsuit was filed. Vanilla Ice claimed the opening riff was written by himself, Earthquake, and Mr. Smooth. Bowie and Queen disagreed and filed suit. It was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
Matt from Millbrae, CaI love that interview circling around with Vanilla Ice saying "there's a little bitty change...it's not the same". And now he's hanging out with porn stars and pissing off Gary Coleman.
Jared from North Bend, Waok. if hes going to write a song, write a good one and write your own music! he shames queen by using this with his crappy lyrics
James from Bridgeport, CtUnder Pressure is most excellent and Queen is one of the greatest bands ever. Vanilla Ice can never even begin to compare with their true talent and creativity.
Michael from Reseda, CaIm cooking mcs like a pound of bacon. Wow inventive.
Eroc from Anniston, AlOh my gosh!!! The Flames of this are amazing!!! This song was written was when Rob was a teenager. Better lyrics than probably any of you could come up with. I do not know a single person that does not know the words to this song. More people know the words to this than they do JOHN 3:16. This album sold around 18 million songs. To this day Vanilla Ice still puts out music and has a huge following. www.vanillaiceundergound.com in addition to www.VanillaIce.com . Rob became a product of the mainstream media and MTV at his debut and was something and a way musically he did not wanna go. Just because his music is not mainstream, does that make him a one hit wonder? Mainstream and top 40 only. Otherwise no. Check out his newer music. His style has changed. You may like it. ON A MAIN NOTE: Hip Hop started in the 70s and early 80s. The music was started and solely based on sampling of other music. Every rapper to this day samples music. This does not make it wrong. Look at it like this: you see an ad of a guy wearing a pair of awesome DIESEL JEANS. He is wearing a ZOOYORK shirt and some KENNETH COLE SHOES. You go buy the same jeans...instead you have your own way of wearing the clothes and add a VonDutch t-shirt and some Doc Martens. That is your approach. But you cut the knees out of those same jeans to make your jeans a little different from the original....ya get it??? Stupid analogy i know, but how much more stupid is it for you to come post and flame a song you dont like...why waste your time!!
Tom from Melbourne, AustraliaI'm 15 and I've been looking for somewhere to write up my thoughts on MODERN DAY MUSIC and I thought this site would be the perfect place. If you can't be arsed listening to some guy winging about the good old days (when he wasn't even living in them)then stop reading NOW! I'd just like to say that I HATE this song, the only reason for this being that they stole the tune from Queen's "Under Pressure". I know you're thinking "get over it" but I tell you what, I can't even listen to this song any more. I went to a disco the other night where they played this song and I just sat in another room complaining to the guy running the canteen. Needless to say he got sick of it after a while. I'll shut up soon, but to add one more thing, I hear year 9s walking around the place humming the bass tune to "Ice Ice Baby", and they don't even know where it came from. God it infuriates me.
The Jorge from Hell, OtherWhen his credibility was questioned V-Ice had this serious message to say "I'm real to the tee, to the extreme, and this is the V, the Vanilla Ice posse" It was incredi-corny.
Luke from Manchester, EnglandVanilla Ice also featured on the Bloodhound Gang song 'Boom!', taken from the album 'One Fierce Beer Coaster'
Phil from Rochester, NyActually, Ice was a two-hit wonder. "Play that Funky Music" was also a hit, though not as big. Of course, he borrowed liberally from "Play That Funky Music, White Boy" by Wild Cherry (1975, I think).
Virna from Santo Domingo, OtherThat is totally true! no wonder he became a 1 hit wonder cuz he couldn't find another song to rip off!!!
Krie from Ft. Drum, NyThis song is infamous for Vanilla Ice not giving songwriting props to David Bowie and Queen. He claims it's totally different because of one rhythm change and an added note. Wow, what a HUGE difference that is...[sarcasm]