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Born: October 31, 1967
Biography (via Wikipedia): Robert Matthew Van Winkle (born October 31, 1967), known professionally as Vanilla Ice, is an American rapper, actor, and television host. Born in South Dallas, and raised in Texas and South Florida, Ice released his debut album, Hooked, in 1989 on Ichiban Records, before signing a contract with SBK Records, a record label of the EMI Group which released a reformatted version of the album under the title To the Extreme. Ice's 1990 single "Ice Ice Baby" was the first hip hop single to top the Billboard charts.
Along with Beastie Boys, 3rd Bass, and House of Pain, Ice was one of the earliest white rappers to attain major success. Chuck D has credited Ice as a regional breakthrough, stating "He broke through in the mid-South, in a Southern area in Texas, in something that was kind of indigenous to that hip-hop culture down there. He just doesn’t get credit for it." In 1991, 3rd Bass released a single called "Pop Goes the Weasel", and in the lyrics compared Ice unfavorably to Elvis Presley. The song's music video featured Henry Rollins as Ice, who is depicted as being assaulted by 3rd Bass. Ice responded to "Pop Goes the Weasel" with his 1992 song "The Wrath". Del tha Funkee Homosapien referred to Ice in the lyrics of "Pissin' on Your Steps,” which appeared on his 1991 debut album I Wish My Brother George Was Here. Similar to “Pop Goes the Weasel.” the song negatively makes a connection between Ice and Elvis, while saying Ice alongside MC Hammer are mocking hip hop by being commercial. Vanilla Ice answered back to most of his critics in the song "Hit 'em Hard.”
Although he was successful, Ice later regretted his business arrangements with SBK, which had paid him to adopt a more commercial appearance to appeal to a mass audience and published fabricated biographical information without his knowledge. After surviving a suicide attempt, Ice was inspired to change his musical style and lifestyle. While his later, less mainstream albums failed to chart or receive much radio airplay, Ice has had a loyal underground following. In 2009, Ice began hosting The Vanilla Ice Project on DIY Network. His latest album WTF – Wisdom, Tenacity & Focus was released in August 2011. Ice is currently signed to Psychopathic Records.