Happy Birthday, Vanilla Ice! A Deeper Look at "Ice Ice Baby" | County Grind | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Music News

Happy Birthday, Vanilla Ice! A Deeper Look at "Ice Ice Baby"

Bet you can't even count how many times you've screamed out at the TV, the DJ, the person in the passenger seat next to you, in response to the words A1A, "Beachfront Avenue!"

In 1989, Vanilla Ice, AKA Robert Matthew Van Winkle, made it big time with his debut album, Hooked (re-titled To the Extreme when it was re-released by EMI) and his super-charged single, "Ice Ice Baby." This tune proudly promoted some of South Florida's greatest attributes, like convertibles, girls in bikinis, and, of course, Fort Lauderdale's main beach strip.   

Born on October 31, 1967, the future Mr. Vanilla Ice, began break dancing at the age of 13, wrote his greatest hit at 16, and got his big break at 18. It started at an open mic competition at a local club and resulted in him regularly opening for huge names like Public Enemy, 2 Live Crew, Paula Abdul, and MC Hammer. Van Winkle grew up between here and Texas, but, of course, we claim him as our own.

Despite his quick success, good looks, smooth dance moves, and the extraordinary sales of To the Extreme,Ice's subsequent efforts didn't far quite as well. Some think of him as a Juggalo, a hardcore guy, a dude on The Surreal Life, or the star of DIY network's The Vanilla Ice Project where he redid a Palm Beach home.

In honor of our and Van Winkle's home, let's take apart the lyrics to the rapper's most famous tune and interpret them tropically.

"So I continued to A1A, Beachfront Avenue!/Girls were hot wearing less than bikinis/Rockman lovers driving Lamborghinis"

You know what Ice was referring to when he said this: The strip of Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard on the edge of both Fort Laudy Daudy We Likes to Party Beach Place and the great big Atlantic Ocean. If you grew up in Miami, you'd be singing to Ocean Drive instead.

"Jumped in my car, slammed on the gas/bumper to bumper, the avenue's packed/I'm trying to get away before the jackers jack"

Hell, yeah. The avenue's packed with hot bods, blasting beats, and Fat Tuesday cups. Remember when everyone got car jacked in the '80s? Wack, no? 

"Police on the scene/You know what I mean"

If he's referring to the intensive police presence during the past few years of Winter Music Conference, then we certainly knows what he means. 

"Take heed, 'cause I'm a lyrical poet/Miami's on the scene just in case you didn't know it"

Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Delray -- hell, you can namedrop any of our South Florida spots, and we'll not only know it, but express our appreciation for the shout-out.

"My town, that created all the bass sound/Enough to shake and kick holes in the ground" 

Yup, our DJs lay down all the heavy beats. You think bass, you think Miami.

"Yo man, let's get out of here/Word to your mother."

Is this reference not pretty obvious? At some point, doesn't everyone's mother move to South Florida? You bubbie just might be Van Winkle's next door neighbor in Palm Beach. Word to... well, your mother.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lee Zimmerman

Latest Stories