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The album he's working on is called Yesterday Is History, Tomorrow Is a Mystery. You may never again see him playing a concert in sparkling pants and pompadour, but he's game for doing a few shows with Hammer. This year, they played a date in, of all places, Orem, Utah. In March, they're slotted to play Wembley Stadium in London.
Being prone to adrenaline-inducing behavior — he's reached 150 miles per hour in "many, many different cars" — it's only natural for Rob to ponder what he might want done with his remains when he dies. Though it makes for rather macabre conversation at a recent dinner. There are arguments in favor of cremation. Then for burial. "Blasted into space" comes up. Then, of course, there's cryogenics.
"He's always talking about what he wants done with his body when he dies," Laura says. "Now it's getting frozen."
"The Iceman sealed in a block of ice forever," Rob says, tilting his head in thought. "I don't know, there's just something that sounds right about that."
A few weeks before the big block party, Rob is headlining a throwback show at the James L. Knight Center in Miami. Other names on the ticket include Big Daddy Kane and the Sugarhill Gang. Rob is slotted to play for about 20 minutes to close the show. This is the first time he's played this stage in 16 years.
Near showtime, in his dressing room backstage, Dusti and Keelee discuss the potential set list with their father.
"We're going on soon," he says to the girls. "So what should we play?"
Their favorite is "Ninja Rap," the song he did for Secret of the Ooze.
Someone taps at the curtain covering the doorway to the dressing room. The guys from the Sugarhill Gang just closed their set with an inspired version of "Rapper's Delight," the song that music critics cite as having launched the hip-hop movement. For 30 years, the trio has been swaying in front of microphones, reciting "a hip hop the hippie the hippie to the hip hip hop, a you don't stop the rock it to the bang bang boogie." They want a photo with Rob.
"Oh yeah, definitely," Rob says, smoothing out his T-shirt in the mirror.
A little after 12:30 a.m., fans have been chanting his name between sets all night. Laura and the girls sit in the fifth row. Rob busts onto the stage through an inflatable grim reaper. A friend is jumping around in a Santa Claus outfit and a clown mask. Confetti rains down on the crowd. The girls stand on chairs for a good view of their dad.
After two songs that aren't "Ice Ice Baby," the audience begins to wonder: Will he play it? After a third song they don't recognize: Maybe he won't, they think. Maybe he doesn't do it anymore. Then Rob strolls to the front of the stage.
"Does anyone want to take it back to the old school?" he says into the microphone.
The crowd returns a frenzied roar. The anticipation is palpable. What's happening here is not irony or mockery. These people are here for their moment in another time. For a few seconds, when he turns just so and the spotlight hits him in just the right way, it looks like Rob actually glows.
He sneaks a quick wave and a wink to his girls.
As the volume of the crowd crests, Rob holds up the mic and lets fly the words he's said thousands of times now: "All right, stop!" he begins. "Collaborate and listen! Ice is back with my brand-new invention!"
he was awesome when he came out at 16 with ice ice baby and still is. he does not need to apologize to anyone. he belongs to "one of a kind" and I'd luv to have him to myself for one night. you're unique Rob, just be yourself.
Great story! We all laughed at him then, but we all realize we'd have done the exact same thing in his spot. Maybe we were all spared and he has to live with these experiences in his head and memory.
PS: LOL @ "iron claw"
Nice article. I posted a link to this as one of my three Other Thoughts for the Day: http://www.otherthoughtforthed...
Great piece. I just purchased the iconic song....Ice, Ice, Baby on iTunes last month. Felt it was time to add it to my party mix....a true classic. I guess it is coming back around....
This guy has taken a lot of shit. It's turned him into a very weird human being. But he is still a human being. Great f@#king story!!
Been following Rob / Vanilla Ice for years. I've bought every album he ever put out, the rap music and the scream-metal music. Some of its good, some of its not. Loved Ice Ice Baby then, and love it now. Whenever I have a party or am at somebody elses', I make sure it gets played, both versions. Always makes people smile. I feel for the guy; he's sure been through a lot. And I'm happy he's got his life back together. Its good to hear that he's doing shows again. I would pay to see one.
Thanks for the great article. I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks, Rob for being human. You, Rob, are one of the best at what you do, so please keep it up!
Eddie Murphy's car in 48 Hrs was a bathtub Porsche. Nick Nolte drove the Cadilac and described himself as a ragtop man. Good for Rob.
Great article. Very interesting story! Once I started reading I couldn't stop. Thanks for putting it together.
I thought eddie murphy drove a vw (karman ghia) in 48 hours ? perhaps the author is referring to nick nolte's convertible cadillac, but I thought that model was (slightly) more recent than '67 ?
What a great story! He has to live the rest of his life with this legacy fair or not. I feel for him. His music makes a lot of people really happy.