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Vanilla Ice

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Dallas, Texas, United States (1988 – present)

Robert Matthew Van Winkle (born October 31, 1967), best known by his stage name Vanilla Ice, is an American rapper. Born in Dallas, Texas, United States, and raised in Texas and South Florida, Van Winkle started his musical career in 1988 and released his debut album, ‘Hooked’, in 1989 through Ichiban Records. He soon signed a contract with SBK Records, which released a reformatted version of that album under the title ‘To The Extreme’. Van Winkle’s single “Ice Ice Baby” was the first single to top the Billboard charts, and it has been credited with helping to diversify by introducing it to a mainstream white audience.

Although Van Winkle was successful, he later regretted his business arrangements with SBK, which had paid him to adopt a more commercial appearance and had published fabricated biographical information without his knowledge. He strongly resented having to ‘play along’ with claims that he had survived violent underground gang fights while also wearing glamorized outfits. After surviving a suicide attempt by drug overdose when his mainstream fame evaporated, Van Winkle was inspired to change his musical style and lifestyle. Further albums by Van Winkle, including ‘Hard To Swallow’, ‘Bi-Polar’ and ‘Platinum Underground’, featured a less mainstream-oriented sound inspired by . His latest album is ‘Wisdom, Tenacity & Focus’ (better known as just ‘WTF’), which he released in 2011, which feature Ice’s return to the more and classic sound that was present in some of his past classics.

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