MUSIC

TO THE EXTREME by Vanilla Ice

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Say what you will about the man, but Vanilla Ice remains one of the biggest selling rap artists ever. This, his major label debut album, on SBK Records, was one the best-selling rap albums of the 90’s. I know the hits, but I never listened to it all the way through. I decided to do so for this blog because, I guess, I’m sort of a masochist? So, unlike my previous album reviews, I’m literally writing this blog as I listen to the album for the first time, going through each song one by one and then giving my thoughts.

Up first is, of course…

The beat is catchy, thanks to the sampled music, and although few would admit it now, I remember this was a big hit among Black music fans when it first came out. I remember seeing this on BET and hearing it on KDAY back in my youth. I’ll say that the one thing that never sounded right to me where the background vocals used to emphasize certain words. As in “Stop! Collaborate and LISTEN, Ice is back with a brand new INVENTION…”. I would have cut that out of the song.

STOP THAT TRAIN
Heavily sampling a Bob Marley song of the same name, Ice raps about a girl who was so wild for sex that she wore him out. “Yeah, I must admit to myself it was fun/But now I’m lookin’ for my shoes, I’m ready to run/So now I’m hopin’ and prayin’ for the moment to come/’Cause I couldn’t move and my body was numb” Kinda funny.

HOOKED
In this song he’s trying to give advice to a friend of his who is being taken advantage of by a girl, but the friend can’t see that. “Yeah, here’s a story bout my homeboy Randy, He was hooked on a girl named candy/Started off as sex for fun, Now the girl’s got him on the run/Made love to her just one time, Now she runs his body and mind” Pretty clever.

ICE IS WORKING IT
A standard party track. Not exactly memorable, with lyrics like “Throw your hands in the air and let’s get hyper, Flip this thing and sting like a viper”

LIFE IS A FANTASY
A mellow beat, where Ice tries to seduce a woman by telling her his fantasies of what they’ll do together. “Now, let me take you out so we can wine and dine, As I pull you close you pull your lips next to mine/Oh yeah, you like it like that/You like it like I do and that’s where it’s at.” It sounds rather unconvincing to me. But I guess I wasn’t the target audience for this particular song…

And, then there was his second single…

This song just never grabbed me.

DANCIN’
A song made strictly for the dancefloor, the lyrics are forgettable.

GO ILL
Sample lyrics: “You come here to rock and let the white boy rap/If you a ho, get off my lap”
’nuff said.

IT’S A PARTY
Another fast dance song with forgettable lyrics.

ICE COLD
Continuing the trend of forgettable dance tracks.

ROSTA MAN
No, that’s not misspelled, that’s the title. This is a reggae song, with Ice rapping in a faux-Jamaican accent. I’m not a fan of reggae in general, and nothing about this song changes my mind.

I LOVE YOU
Thanks to LL COOL J’s I Need Love it seemed like every other rapper around that time had to do one love song, and this was Ice’s attempt, with the vocal group RIFF singing background.

It’s actually not bad.

Overall, this is far from a classic. Ice is an average rapper, not terrible but not great (he’s better than M.C. Hammer, I’ll admit). And most of the subject matter on this album is pretty bland, it’s as if most of songs on this album were created specifically for live performances and music videos, but it’s not an album you want to put in the car while you’re driving.

Chacebook rating: THREE STARS

AVAILABLE ON ITUNES

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