"Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby)"

by Jedward feat. Vanilla Ice

(Sony)

Vanilla Ice has an uneasy relationship with his contribution to history. He rode "Ice Ice Baby" to the top in 1990 as a dumbass kid striking lucky just as hiphop was going mega. The highlight of the period is unquestionably when Vanilla informed MTV News that he'd changed the bass line from Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure" slightly: The original, he said, went, "Dun, dun-dun-dun, duh-duh, dun-dun," while his version went, "Dun, dun-dun-dun, duh-duh, DAH-dun." Then he smiled like the cat that ate the canary.

The May 1994 issue of Spin—up now, along with every other issue between 1985 and 2009, on Google Books—ran a feature on his dreadlocked bitches-and-blunts makeover for the album Mind Blowin. Vanilla summarily dismissed "Ice Ice Baby" and its ilk: "They made me look like Evel Knievel and shit, you know? Some fuckin' teen idol or somethin'. And that just ain't me." Mind Blowin bombed. Four years later, with Hard to Swallow, he jumped on the nü-metal bandwagon so hard he nearly broke his leg. A year later, on an MTV special, he smashed the master copy of the "Ice Ice Baby" video with a baseball bat, followed by a takeout of the rest of the set ("No, Vanilla!"). "The security guards were asking me for autographs as they kicked me out on my ass," he told Entertainment Weekly in 2004.

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Then 2005 brought the NBC summer replacement series Hit Me Baby One More Time, in which flashes in the pan performed their old hits alongside more contemporary cover versions. Vanilla performed "Ice Ice Baby" and a take on Destiny's Child's "Survivor" in the style of Hard to Swallow. Tommy Tutone ("867-5309" and Blink-182's "All the Small Things") and Haddaway ("What Is Love" and Britney's "Toxic") kicked his ass eight ways to Jupiter, but Vanilla won anyway.

On February 7, 2010, Jedward, a pair of startlingly untalented 18-year-old blond Irish twin brothers who'd finished sixth on BBC's X-Factor, entered the UK chart at number two with "Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby)." Vanilla Ice jumps in on the song halfway through—literally, in the video. Interviewed with the twins backstage at England's National Television Awards, a beaming Vanilla was magnanimous: "I think they're great. I didn't know anything about 'em until a couple weeks ago, and YouTube is a great thing, you know?... They wanted me to come out with the old jacket on and all that, and I said, 'Let them do it. This is their thing.'" recommended