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"Ice Ice Baby"
Single by Vanilla Ice
from the album To the Extreme
A-side "Play That Funky Music"
Released August 1990
Format 7", 12", CD, cassette single
Recorded 1989
Genre Hip hop
Length 4:32
Label SBK Records
Writer(s) Vanilla Ice
Producer Vanilla Ice
Vanilla Ice singles chronology
"Play That Funky Music"
"Ice Ice Baby"
"I Love You"

"Ice Ice Baby" is an American hip hop song written by rapper Robert "Vanilla Ice" Van Winkle and DJ Earthquake. The song samples the bassline of "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie, who did not initially receive songwriting credit or royalties until after it had become a hit. Originally released on Van Winkle's 1989 debut album Hooked and later on his 1990 national debut To the Extreme, it is his most famous and popular song. It has appeared in remixed form on Platinum Underground and Vanilla Ice Is Back! A live version appears on the album Extremely Live, while a rap rock version appears on the album Hard to Swallow, under the title "Too Cold".

"Ice Ice Baby" was initially released as the B-side to Van Winkle's cover of "Play That Funky Music", but the single was not initially successful. When a disc jockey played "Ice Ice Baby" instead, it began to gain success. "Ice Ice Baby" was the first hip hop single to top the Billboard charts. Topping the Australian, Dutch, Irish, Italian and UK charts, the song helped diversify hip hop by introducing it to a mainstream audience.


Lyrics and music

Vanilla Ice based the song's lyrics upon the South Florida area in which he lived.

Robert Van Winkle, better known by his stage name Vanilla Ice, wrote "Ice Ice Baby" at the age of 16, basing its lyrics upon his experiences in South Florida.[1] The lyrics describe a drive-by shooting and Van Winkle's rhyming skills.[2] The chorus of "Ice Ice Baby" originates from the signature chant of the national African American fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha.[3][4] Of the song's lyrics, Van Winkle states that "If you released 'Ice Ice Baby' today, it would fit in today's lyrical respect among peers, you know what I'm sayin'? [...] My lyrics aren't, 'Pump it up, go! Go!' At least I'm sayin' somethin'."[5]

The song's hook samples the bassline of the 1981 song "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie.[6] Freddie Mercury and David Bowie did not receive credit or royalties for the sample.[7] In a 1990 interview, Van Winkle said the two melodies were slightly different because he had added an additional note.[8] In later interviews, Van Winkle readily admitted he sampled the song and claimed his 1990 statement was a joke; others, however, suggested he had been serious.[8][9] Van Winkle later paid Mercury and Bowie, who have since been given songwriting credit for the sample.[8] In December 1990, Van Winkle told Smash Hits magazine where he came up with the idea of sampling "Under Pressure":

The way I do stuff is to go through old records that my brother has. He used to listen to rock 'n' roll and stuff like that. I listened to funk and hip hop because rock wasn't really my era. But having a brother like that, well, I just mixed the two, and he had a copy of 'Under Pressure'. And putting those sounds to hip hop was great.[10]

Van Winkle described himself as the first rapper to cross into the pop market, and said as a result he "had to take the heat for a lot of people" for his music's use of samples, but the criticism he received over sample use allowed sampling to become acceptable in mainstream hip hop.[11]


Problems listening to this file? See media help.

"Ice Ice Baby" was initially released by Ichiban Records as the B-side to Van Winkle's cover of "Play That Funky Music".[7][12] The 12-inch single featured the radio, instrumental and a cappella versions of "Play That Funky Music" and the radio version and "Miami Drop" remix of "Ice Ice Baby".[13] When a disc jockey played "Ice Ice Baby" instead of the single's A-side, the song gained more success than "Play That Funky Music".[7] A music video for "Ice Ice Baby" was produced for $8000.[14][15] The video was financed by Van Winkle's manager, Tommy Quon, and shot on the roof of a warehouse in Dallas, Texas.[16] In the video, Van Winkle is shown rapping the lyrics while he and others dance to the song. Heavy airplay of the video by The Box while Van Winkle was still unknown increased public interest in the song.[17] "Ice Ice Baby" was given its own single, released in 1990 by SBK Records in the United States, and EMI Records in the United Kingdom. The SBK single contained the "Miami Drop", instrumental and radio mixes of "Ice Ice Baby" and the album version of "It's A Party".[18] The EMI single contained the club and radio mixes of the song, and the shortened radio edit.[19] The single was quickly pulled from the American market soon after the song reached number one, in a successful attempt to drive consumers to buy the album instead.[20]


"Ice Ice Baby" was the first hip hop single to top the Billboard charts.[21] It has been credited for helping diversify hip hop by introducing it to a mainstream (not exclusively black) audience.[22]

Entertainment Weekly reviewer Mim Udovitch wrote that "[Vanilla Ice] probably would have scored with his hit rap single 'Ice Ice Baby' even if he hadn't been white. There's just something about the way its hook — a sample from Queen and David Bowie's 'Under Pressure' — grabs you and flings you out onto the dance floor."[23]

Following the song's success, California rapper Mario "Chocolate" Johnson, an associate of record producer Suge Knight, claimed that he had written and produced the song, and had not received credit or royalties for the song.[24] Knight and two bodyguards arrived at The Palm in West Hollywood, where Van Winkle was eating. After shoving Van Winkle's bodyguards aside, Knight and his own bodyguards sat down in front of Van Winkle, staring at him before finally asking "How you doin'?"[24] Similar incidents were repeated on several occasions before Knight showed up at Van Winkle's hotel suite on the fifteenth floor of the Bel Age Hotel, accompanied by Johnson and a member of the Los Angeles Raiders.[24] According to Van Winkle, Knight took him out on the balcony by himself, and implied that he would throw Van Winkle off unless he signed the rights to the song over to Knight.[25]


After audiences began to view Van Winkle as a novelty act and a pop star rather than a legitimate rapper, his popularity began to decline.[26] Eminem states that when he first heard "Ice Ice Baby", "I felt like I didn't want to rap anymore. I was so mad, because he was making it real hard for me."[27] Van Winkle lost some credibility among hip hop fans, but later began to regain some success, attracting a new audience outside of the mainstream audience that had formerly accepted him, and then rejected him.[26] "Ice Ice Baby" continues to be the song that Van Winkle is best known for internationally, although Van Winkle states that his American fans like his newer music better.[28]

A live version appeared on the album Extremely Live.[29] "Ice Ice Baby" was rerecorded in a nu metal version titled "Too Cold".[30] Originally intended to be released as a hidden track or B-side, "Too Cold" was featured on Van Winkle's 1998 album Hard to Swallow, and became a radio hit in some markets.[31] In 2000, a remix titled "Ice Ice Baby 2001" was released in Europe as a single, with a newly-produced music video. The remix generated new international interest in Van Winkle's music.[32] In 2006, singer Richard Cheese released a comedic cover of the song, performed in a lounge style, on his album Silent Nightclub.[33]

Blender ranked "Ice Ice Baby" fifth on its list of the "50 Worst Songs Ever".[34] In 1999, the song's music video was "retired" on the MTV special 25 Lame, in which Van Winkle himself appeared to destroy the video's master tape. Given a baseball bat, Van Winkle ended up destroying the show's set.[35][36]


1990 release

7" single
  1. "Ice Ice Baby" (radio mix) — 4:29
  2. "Ice Ice Baby" (radio mix edit) — 3:49
12" maxi - U.S.
  1. "Ice Ice Baby" (radio mix) — 4:28
  2. "Ice Ice Baby" (Miami drop mix) — 4:59
  3. "Play That Funky Music" (radio mix) — 4:39
  4. "Play That Funky Music" (instrumental mix) — 4:36
  5. "Play That Funky Music" (acapella mix) — 4:32
12" maxi / CD maxi - U.S.
  1. "Ice Ice Baby" (radio mix) — 4:28
  2. "Ice Ice Baby" (Miami drop mix) — 4:59
  3. "Ice Ice Baby" (Miami drop instrumental) — 4:59
  4. "Ice Ice Baby" (acapella mix) — 3:46
  5. "Play That Funky Music" (radio mix) — 4:39
  6. "Play That Funky Music" (instrumental mix) — 4:36
  7. "Play That Funky Music" (acapella mix) — 4:32
CD maxi - Europe
  1. "Ice Ice Baby" (radio edit) — 3:46
  2. "Ice Ice Baby" (Miami drop mix) — 5:00
  3. "Play That Funky Music" (radio mix) — 4:41
12" maxi - Europe
  1. "Ice Ice Baby" (club mix) — 5:02
  2. "Ice Ice Baby" (radio mix) — 4:30
  3. "Ice Ice Baby" (radio mix edit) — 3:49
12" maxi - UK
  1. "Ice Ice Baby" (Miami drop mix) — 4:58
  2. "Ice Ice Baby" (instrumental mix) — 4:59
  3. "It's a Party" — 4:39
  4. "Ice Ice Baby" (radio mix) — 4:28
  1. "Ice Ice Baby" (radio edit) — 3:46
  2. "It's a Party" — 4:39
  3. "Ice Ice Baby" (radio edit) — 3:46
  4. "It's a Party" — 4:39
German CD Maxi
  1. "Ice Ice Baby" (Miami Drop Mix)
  2. "Ice Ice Baby" (Acapella Mix)
  3. "Ice Ice Baby" (Miami Drop Mix Instrumental)
  4. "Play That Funky Music" (Acapella Mix)

2001 remixes

12" maxi
  1. "Ice Ice Baby 2001" (Gigi D'Agostino remix) — 7:17
  2. "Ice Ice Baby 2001" (Funky 9ers club dub) — 4:53
  3. "Ice Ice Baby 2001" (House of Wax club-mix) — 6:06
  4. "Ice Ice Baby 2001" (Debart Style re-e-mix) — 6:42
CD maxi
  1. "Ice Ice Baby 2001" (House of Wax radio-mix) — 3:36
  2. "Ice Ice Baby 2001" (Gigi D'Agostino remix-edit) — 3:45
  3. "Ice Ice Baby 2001" (Silverwater & Shaw remix) — 3:42
  4. "Ice Ice Baby 2001" (Prepay remix) — 3:54
  5. "Ice Ice Baby 2001" (Steve Baltes remix) — 3:53
  6. "Everytime (album version) — 3:58

2008 remixes

12" maxi
  1. "Ice Ice Baby 2008" (Mondo Electro remix)
  2. "Ice Ice Baby 2008" (7th Heaven House remix)
  3. "Ice Ice Baby 2008" (Rico NL Jumpstyle remix)
  4. "Ice Ice Baby 2008" (Mendezz & Andrew remix)


Country Certification Date Sales certified
Austria[37] Gold March 18, 1991 15,000
Canada[38] Gold November 23, 1990 50,000
Germany[39] Gold 1990 150,000
Sweden[40] Gold January 15, 1991 10,000
UK[41] Platinum January 1, 1991 600,000
U.S.[42] Platinum October 29, 1990 1,000,000


Chart (1990-1991) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart[43] 1
Austrian Singles Chart[43] 3
Dutch Top 40[43] 1
French SNEP Singles Chart[43] 10
German Singles Chart[44] 2
Irish Singles Chart[45] 1
Italian Singles Chart[46] 8
Norwegian Singles Chart[43] 2
Swedish Singles Chart[43] 4
Swiss Singles Chart[43] 2
UK Singles Chart[47] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[48] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[48] 28
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales[48] 6
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[48] 6
U.S. ARC Weekly Top 40 1
Chart (2004-2005) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Ringtones[48] 11
Chart (2006) Peak
French Singles Chart[43] 65
Chart (2008) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Ringtones[48] 32
End of year chart (1991) Position
Australian Singles Chart[49] 22
Swiss Singles Chart[50] 9


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  4. ^ Fine, Elizabeth Calvert (2003). "The Cultural Politics of Step Shows". Soulstepping: African American Step Shows. University of Illinois Press. p. 145. ISBN 0252024753.  
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  10. ^ "Feature: Has Vanilla Ice been stealing other people's songs?". Smash Hits (EMAP Metro) (12-25 December 1990): 59.  
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  12. ^ Wartofsky, Alona (November 22, 1998). "The Iceman Returneth; Vanilla Ice: Once Hated, He's Back With a Different Rap". The Washington Post. Retrieved 13 February 2009.  
  13. ^ "Information for "Ice Ice Baby" (12")". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-02-13.  
  14. ^ Corcoran, Michael (January 27, 1991). "Black and white & rap all over: Mass America moves to beat of hip-hop". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 26 February 2009.  
  15. ^ Hilburn, Robert (March 17, 1991). "Why Is Everyone Still Fussing About Ice?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 February 2009.  
  16. ^ Perkins, Ken Parish (March 31, 1991). "Building with Ice: Tommy Quon struggled for years running clubs -- then found a ticket out". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 26 February 2009.  
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  18. ^ "Information for "Ice Ice Baby" (SBK)". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-02-13.  
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  37. ^ "Austrian certifications for "Ice Ice Baby"". Retrieved 2009-02-17.  
  38. ^ "Canada certifications for "Ice Ice Baby"". Retrieved 2009-02-17.  
  39. ^ "German certifications for "Ice Ice Baby"". Retrieved 2009-02-17.  
  40. ^ "Swedish certifications for "Ice Ice Baby"". Retrieved 2009-02-17.  
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  49. ^ "1991 Australian Singles Chart". Retrieved 2009-02-17.  
  50. ^ "1991 Swiss Singles Chart". Retrieved 2009-02-17.  
Preceded by
"Black Cat" by Janet Jackson
ARC Weekly Top 40 number one single
November 3, 1990 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Love Takes Time" by Mariah Carey
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
November 3, 1990 (1 week)
Preceded by
"Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers
UK number-one single
December 1, 1990 - December 22, 1990 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Saviour's Day" by Cliff Richard
Preceded by
"To Sir, with Love" by Ngaire
New Zealand RIANZ number-one single
December 7, 1990 - January 18, 1991 (7 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Do the Bartman" by The Simpsons
Preceded by
"Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers
Australian ARIA number-one single
January 13, 1991 - January 27, 1991 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"I Touch Myself" by Divinyls

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