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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, before signing a contract with SBK Records, which released a reformatted version of the album under the title ‘To The Extreme’. Van Winkle’s single “Ice Ice Baby” was the first hip hop single to top the Billboard charts, and has been credited with helping to diversify hip hop 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. After surviving a suicide attempt by drug overdose, 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 rock-oriented sound. His latest release is “Wisdom, Tenacity & Focus” or WTF, released in 2011, which feature Ice’s return to the Electronica sound that was present in some of his past classics.

In 1990, Van Winkle signed a contract with SBK Records, who reissued Hooked under the title To the Extreme. The reissue contained new artwork and music. According to Van Winkle, SBK paid him to adopt a more commercial, conventional appearance.

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