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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Monday's Connector: Vanilla Ice

February 19th, 2010
02:06 PM ET

If you called him by his real name, most people would never know who Robert Van Winkle is– but, if you mention the name Vanilla Ice, that's a different story.

Vanilla Ice is promoting a new single.

Vanilla Ice is promoting a new single.

The 90s pop star became the first hip hop artist to ever reach the Billboard number one with his infamous single, "Ice Ice Baby".

Today, he's credited with helping bring hip hop and rap music to a mainstream audience.

Some of his other chart topping singles include "Play that Funky Music" and "Hooked".

Vanilla Ice has also had a string of notable appearances on film. He starred in the 1991 cult classic, "Cool as Ice" and received the Golden Raspberry award for worst new star.

However, after his initial success, Vanilla Ice struggled to keep his life in order because of mounting financial problems and a history of drug abuse.

Vanilla Ice attempted suicide in 1994, but after being revived from a heroin overdose, he pledged to change his lifestyle and get his music career back on track.

Today, the pop star is featured on the debut single of the Irish duo John & Edward.

Here's your chance to ask Vanilla Ice a question.

Does he ever get sick of hearing "Ice Ice Baby"? Maybe you want to know why he has teamed up with a pair of realtiy television stars. Where does he seem music today?

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. karlo

    ice ice baby was a great song.

    February 19, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Reply
  2. Laker LA

    What was it like having a cameo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze?

    February 19, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Reply
  3. rob, minneapolis

    Hey Robert,
    "Success" by itself, as many have found, isn't all where its at. Yet many among us, having never achieved what people like you have, can't see past the illusion.

    Any particular insights stand out for you as you've found meaning beyond "success"? If you had to do it all over, what might be different that us commoners should understand?

    Hey, I still turn up "Ice, Ice" whenever I hear it.

    Many thanks.

    February 19, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Reply
  4. Jonathan Olabre

    What was the initial signs of your downfall? And what kept you going after you hit rock bottom?

    More power to you. Hope you get to do another snazzy song like ICE ICE BABY.

    February 19, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  5. Boston Celtic

    Yo Ice,

    We took a few shots at McFadden's a while back.

    Have you ever thought about creating your own brand of alcohol? Possibly something similar to Jagermeister... maybe FunkMeister or Go-NinjaMeister?

    All the best

    -C from Boston

    February 19, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Reply
  6. david Benson

    You were one of the pioneers bringing hip hop into the light.
    Do you have the respect from the current hip hop community?

    February 19, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  7. Marin

    I saw your tattooed fingers in the photo on this page, and was wondering if you had considered what to do if you should accidently lose a finger- I knew a bloke who had "Love" and "Hate" on his fingers, he lost his little finger and it said "Love" and "Hat" after that- it seems the options are limited, but here's my thoughts should anything bad happen [hope it doesn't by the way]- oh, and Ice, Ice Baby is brilliant.- options:
    IDEO PEN
    WIDEOPE
    WIEOPEN
    WEOPEN [definitely hope this isn't the case, although you could open a 7-11 or other retail store]
    Well, you get the idea.

    Thanks for many years of entertainment mate.

    February 19, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Reply
  8. G$

    Ice,

    Do you still have that white 5 liter GT, that thing was hot. I would like to buy that from you.

    G

    February 19, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  9. King

    Thanks for leading me to rediscover Queen, via those accusations that your samples from "Under Pressure" were illegal.

    February 19, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Reply
  10. Jon K

    The row over whether or not you sampled "Under Pressure" would play out very differently under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. What thoughts do you have about the balance between protection and restriction the act offers.

    How aware/what are your thoughts about your role as a successful white artist in a historically black medium, how different or similar are you to an Elvis or Eminem?

    Thanks!

    February 19, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Reply
  11. Laughs at wind

    If the Universe is expanding like what's outside it man?

    February 19, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Reply
  12. chuck Salzer

    You got a lotta fans out here. Thank you for the music. Best to you!

    February 19, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Reply
  13. le schmuck

    professor...what iz whack?

    February 19, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Reply
  14. Gary Coleman

    I remember watching you on the surreal life or something and you were saying you hated the 'Ice Ice Baby' song, time period, or whatever. Christ man, you were successful as hell, and will have much more success in the future. Be proud of that song. Be proud of that album and time. You entertained. That's what it's all about.

    I know you've gotten a hard time because of that song... but there's no shame. For it's place and time, it was awesome and nobody could have done it like you. This is not coming out the way I want it to, but what I'm saying is be proud of your accomplishments and never be ashamed of something that was so great for so many people. You don't have to live up to all the other rules and bullshit that other people impose. If you're forever remembered for "Ice Ice Baby", then you'll be remembered for success.

    February 19, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Reply
  15. Fiddy

    What's Ron Jeremy really like?

    February 19, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Reply
  16. Jo

    WE MISSED YOU AND WE LOVE ICE ICE BABY!!!! HAPPY TO SE YOU ARE AROUND! PEACE

    February 19, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Reply
  17. Kevin Quail

    Vanilla Ice- wow, slow news day or what? I'd say I couldn't care less about this guy but I never did.

    February 19, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Reply
  18. Charlie

    What type of music do you enjoy listening to when no-one else is around that is outside of your genre?

    February 19, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Reply
  19. Negro

    You should rap again, your beats and lyrics were crazy, you have a great talent. Im from Guatemala I remember everyone loved your music down here

    February 19, 2010 at 10:19 pm | Reply
  20. David Stalker

    what was it like being the White MC Hammer?

    cant touch dis!

    ahhahahhahahha

    February 19, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Reply
  21. badbuff

    If you could change anything from those years what would it be....??

    And I've heard you tell conflicting stories of the "Suge Incident".....can you tell me what really happened on the balcony ??

    February 19, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Reply
  22. Fish

    Hey Ice, I heard you teamed up with MC hammer for a concert in Utah, is that true? And if so, will you do it again? I think that would be awesome. Anyways, thanks for your music, I still love to hear ice ice baby on the juke box or radio from time to time.

    February 20, 2010 at 12:30 am | Reply
  23. Westcyder

    How does it feel to be the butt of every REAL rapper's jokes?

    February 20, 2010 at 1:03 am | Reply
  24. Guest

    Robert,

    As someone who has struggled with addiction nearly my entire life, I commend you for your courage and your humility. Addiction is a very misunderstood disease. People are very quick to condemn and very slow to sympathize.

    I've also found that people in the States are also very quick to criticize once famous people after their fame wears off... making fun of one's previous accomplishments and laughing at them once their "shine" wears off.

    Don't let the unenlightened people of the world bring you down to their meager level of judgement and their self-serving, self-righteous and attitudes of superiority. At the same time, don't judge them for they way they are... they just have not learned the gift of compassion and what it means to be a human being. (Think Dallas... I once lived in the "Big D").

    I wish you the best of luck my brother... keep on doing whatever it is that makes you happy. We all deserve happiness.

    Take care!

    February 20, 2010 at 1:24 am | Reply
  25. Josh

    Yo Ice,

    What is the future of rap.... I mean c'mon nobody selling much these days ?? Is Rap ever going to take on the issues that everybody faces and or is it just going to be personality and money circus ?

    February 20, 2010 at 1:31 am | Reply
  26. A-Dub

    Hello Mr. Van Winkle ,
    Can you please help clear up this urban legend?
    Is it true that you were hung over a balcony and threatened with death unless you signed over a portion of your royalties?
    Thank you. Wishing you the best with your new endeavors.
    A-Dub
    Osaka, Japan

    February 20, 2010 at 2:18 am | Reply
  27. Lolaface

    When are you going to answer these questions? I'm most interested in your responses to Boston Celtic and G$

    February 20, 2010 at 2:47 am | Reply
  28. Damian Campbell

    Hi Ice,

    I wish you the best! It is sad the way rap/hip hop has turned out. It must have been hard to deal with the likes of Suge Knight and the rap mafia. Your originality is important.

    Best regards,

    Damian

    February 20, 2010 at 3:40 am | Reply
  29. hideaki nagano

    I think false.I think Falwell.

    February 20, 2010 at 5:25 am | Reply
  30. T1Brit

    I thought I knew about Vanilla Ice – but I didn't – I saw the true story recently – you were a rapper with some real props – then you signed that deal – and made that track – and we all know the rest ... my question is this: Why don't you get some decent management – somebody who can take the whole thing and flip it – you cannot overstate the value of being Known by everybody in the world – and there is only one thing worse than being talked about ... another insanely catchy tune would be an amazing twist. Personally I would love to see certain people eat that.

    February 20, 2010 at 8:52 am | Reply
  31. Naeem

    Hello,

    What are your thoughts on religion? Have you ever had a chance to speak with anyone regarding ISLAM? I accepted Islam 12 years ago and its the best thing that could have happened to me. Dont believe the hype and media when it comes to Islam, they dont know!
    Look into it, keep your heart open!

    Salaam (Peace)
    Naeem

    February 20, 2010 at 10:27 am | Reply
  32. Troy Barrett

    I've read that you have monkees, a kangaroo, a goat and a lynx... What's one animal you'd like to have, but don't (or can't)?

    February 22, 2010 at 10:33 am | Reply
  33. Joseph minja

    Keep on givin us hits

    February 22, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  34. alfred robingson

    i am musical artist from Nigeria, how can i become great like you? thanks

    February 22, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  35. alfred robingson

    ì am 22yrs, i love you and i would love to be with you forever. pls come and adopt me in Nigeria. my email is lilcent_aoc@yahoo.com phone +2348038650761

    February 22, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  36. Ibrahim basheer

    What is the secret of your success,vanila ice

    February 22, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  37. Ogoh chidozie

    I hola u Mr.Ice.i wana knw the people u where raping with at dat early dayz'90z.did u have rivals.was it all about gun blasing or marijuana smoking.if allowd to compare and contrast b/w now and then whats da differenc in da flavour of rap music.are d new generation rappers dropping like its hot or not?

    February 22, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  38. Lugard Lugi

    I wish you the very best and i pray that my God Continues to bless you in all you do mostly hiphop and take back to bilboard

    February 22, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  39. Bigkayb

    Are u goin 2 team up wit gunit 4 ur next album.

    February 22, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Reply
  40. fortune

    if u were 2 make a last wish,wat ld dat be?

    February 22, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Reply
  41. Emmanuel

    Ur d most coolest raper i've ever seen.My question is,how can u compire today rap music n your own time?

    February 22, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  42. Emmanuel

    .My question is,how can u compire today rap music n your own time?

    February 22, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  43. Emmanuel

    How can u compire 2days rap music to ur own time?

    February 22, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  44. Zola de king

    Vanilla watz up with u, hope kool. my question is when are going to release your new album for us & tell us a real man dat u will like to feature in your album & also tell us how u sympatise with hiati people thanks

    February 22, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Reply
  45. David c. Eze

    I wish to be as successful like you, what advice will you give to me as an upcoming artist that i am?
    David,
    Nigeria.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Reply
  46. Ike Juwah

    Pls how can you compare the pop of old to this present pop? I wish u goodluck and success.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Reply
  47. Mohammed jimoh zibirin

    Your track 'ice ice baby' was a boom guys love it girls go crazy over it u are something else now dat u are making a comeback wat should we expect of ur music, what are the message you will sending with ur music? Jimoh from Abuja Nigeria

    February 22, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Reply
  48. gabaxz

    what're the greatest success principle that kept you up

    February 22, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Reply
  49. Gbenga

    Can u stil perform on stage? If so i wld like u 2 come 2 nigeria 2 perform.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:02 am | Reply
  50. chidiebere patrick

    we nigerians would like to see u here

    February 24, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Reply
  51. Adisa Oladiran

    Except a man is born again,he/she can never enter into God's kingdom.You are too FAMOUS and GREAT to be HELL.Accept the salvation through Jesus Christ and freely make it on EARTH and make HEAVEN which is EVERLASTING.

    February 24, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Reply
  52. Tom

    What's the best club in South Beach?

    February 25, 2010 at 2:48 am | Reply
  53. Roman Polanski

    Damn u havent really aged since I was a kid

    February 26, 2010 at 1:17 am | Reply

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