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Vanilla Ice is a rapper and TV reality show personality whose song "Ice Ice Baby" put him on the map in 1990.
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Vanilla Ice later tried to blame his manager for these errors, and also said that he changed some of the information about himself to protect his family. Whatever the case, Vanilla Ice's credibility and career took a serious hit over the controversy.
Vanilla Ice also received a lot of negative comments from critics. Many found Vanilla Ice's lyrics to be "inane,
" and lacking in creativity and originality. Some called him the "Elvis of rap" because he was capitalizing on a predominantly African-American music style. At the time, more socially and politically challenging rap acts such as Public Enemy were having a hard time getting played on the radio, while pop-oriented rap like Vanilla Ice and M. C. Hammer dominated the charts.
Taking on his first lead acting role, Vanilla Ice starred in Cool as Ice (1991). The film was a commercial and critical failure, taking in less than $1 million at the box office. In another sign of his fading appeal, Vanilla Ice scored only a minor hit with the film's soundtrack and its title song.
At the height of his fame, the rapper had a brief relationship with pop star Madonna, and even posed for her 1992 controversial book Sex. But as his career declined, Vanilla Ice began using hard drugs, and experienced bouts of depression.
He tried to revamp his image with 1994's Mind Blowin, taking on a funk-influenced rap style. Fans and critics were not impressed, and the album failed to make the music charts. In July 1994, after receiving a flurry of negative reviews, he tried to commit suicide by taking a drug overdose. He was shaken by this near-death experience, and stepped away from his Vanilla Ice persona for a time. Returning to extreme sports, the rapper started jet skiing competitively using his real name. In 1996, he even opened a sporting goods store called "2 The Xtreme" in Miami Beach.
In 1998, Vanilla Ice ended his self-imposed exile from the music scene with Hard to Swallow. He called the album "my much-needed therapy session" and even included a song about his troubled childhood called "Scars." Working with producer Ross Robinson of Limp Bizkit and Korn fame, Vanilla Ice moved toward a more hardcore rock style. "The new sound is . . . much harder and darker because of the issues I am writing about," Vanilla Ice wrote on his Web site.
Despite lukewarm reviews, Vanilla Ice persevered with his music career. His next two efforts, 2001's Bipolar and 2003's Hot Sex, came and went with little notice or fanfare. He did, however, find an audience on television, appearing in several reality shows. In March 2002, Vanilla Ice took on Todd Bridges from the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes on Celebrity Boxing. Bridges defeated Vanilla Ice in three rounds. Vanilla Ice moved in with a group of other B-List stars for the second season of The Surreal Life in 2004. For roughly two weeks, he had his every move filmed as he lived with the likes of adult-film star Ron Jeremy and former televangelist Tammy Faye Messner.
Around this time, Vanilla Ice also returned to the world of motocross.
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