'Ice Ice Baby', by Vanilla Ice became the first rap record to top the US singles chart
On This Day, in 1990, 'Ice Ice Baby', by Vanilla Ice became the first rap record to top the US singles chart, (and later also a UK No.1 single). The track was initially released as the B-side to the rapper's cover of 'Play That Funky Music', and became the A-side after US DJ's started playing the track.
Robert Matthew Van Winkle, better known by his stage name, Vanilla Ice, is an American rapper, actor and television host. Born in South Dallas, and raised in Texas and South Florida, Ice released his debut album, Hooked, in 1989 on Ichiban Records, before signing a contract with SBK Records, a record label of the EMI Group which released a reformatted version of the album under the title To the Extreme. Ice's single "Ice Ice Baby" was the first hip hop single to top the Billboard charts.
Although Vanilla Ice was successful, he later regretted his business arrangements with SBK, which had paid him to adopt a more commercial appearance to appeal to a mass audience and published fabricated biographical information without his knowledge. After surviving a suicide attempt, Ice was inspired to change his musical style and lifestyle. While his later, less mainstream albums failed to chart or receive much radio airplay, Ice has had a loyal underground following. In 2009, Ice began hosting The Vanilla Ice Project on DIY Network. His latest album WTF – Wisdom, Tenacity & Focus was released in August 2011. Ice is currently signed to Psychopathic Records.
Ice wrote "Ice Ice Baby" at the age of 16, basing its lyrics on a weekend he had with friend and disc jockey D-Shay in South Florida. The lyrics describe Ice and Shay on a drug run that ends in a drive-by shooting while praising Ice's rhyming skills. Play That Funky Music" was released as the album's first single, with "Ice Ice Baby" appearing as the B-side. Tommy Quon personally sent out the single to various radio stations around the US, but the single was seldom played and when it was, it did not get the reaction Quon was hoping for. When disc jockey Darrell Jaye in Georgia played "Ice Ice Baby" instead of the single's A-side, the song gained a quick fanbase and other radio stations followed suit. Quon financed $8,000 for the production of a music video for "Ice Ice Baby", which received heavy airplay by The Box, increasing public interest in the song.