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To The Extreme
Studio album by Vanilla Ice
Released August 28, 1990
Recorded 1989—1990
Genre Hip hop
Length 57:22
Label SBK
Producer Vanilla Ice, Kim Sharp, Khayree, Darryl Williams
Professional reviews
Vanilla Ice chronology
To the Extreme
Extremely Live
Singles from To the Extreme
  1. "Ice Ice Baby"
    Released: 1990
  2. "Play That Funky Music"
    Released: 1990
  3. "I Love You"
    Released: 1991

To the Extreme is the major label debut studio album of American rapper Robert "Vanilla Ice" Van Winkle. Released in 1990, it is Van Winkle's best selling album. The album was initially released in 1989 by independent record label Ichiban Records under the title Hooked. Van Winkle signed to SBK Records, who reissued the album under its current title. The album contains Van Winkle's most successful singles, "Ice Ice Baby" and "Play That Funky Music". Although reviews of the album were mixed, To the Extreme spent 16 weeks on the Billboard 200, selling eleven million copies worldwide.



In 1989, Robert Van Winkle, better known as Vanilla Ice, released an early version of To the Extreme under the title Hooked on Ichiban Records.[5][6] The album sold 38,000 copies in three years.[7] "Play That Funky Music" was released as the album's first single, with "Ice Ice Baby" appearing as the B-side.[8][9] 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".[10] 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".[8] A music video for "Ice Ice Baby" was produced for $8000.[11][12] The video was financed by Van Winkle's manager, Tommy Quon, and shot on the roof of a warehouse in Dallas, Texas.[13] Heavy airplay of the video by The Box while Van Winkle was still unknown increased public interest in the song.[14]

In 1990, Van Winkle signed to SBK Records, who reissued Hooked under the title To the Extreme. The reissue contained new artwork and music.[1] "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".[15] The EMI single contained the club and radio mixes of the song, and the shortened radio edit.[16]


Van Winkle wrote "Ice Ice Baby" at the age of 16, basing its lyrics upon the South Florida area in which he was raised.[17] The lyrics describe a drive-by shooting and Van Winkle's rhyming skills.[18] The chorus of "Ice Ice Baby" originates from the signature chant of the national African American fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha.[19][20] The song's hook samples the bassline of the 1981 song "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie.[21] Freddie Mercury and David Bowie did not receive credit or royalties for the sample.[8] In a 1990 interview, Van Winkle said the two melodies were slightly different because he had added an additional note. 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.[22][23] Van Winkle later paid Mercury and Bowie, who have since been given songwriting credit for the sample.[22]

The stylistic origins of "Rosta Man" are based upon reggae toasting.[1][24]


To the Extreme became the fastest selling hip hop album of all time,[25] peaking at #1 on the Billboard 200.[26] The album spent 16 weeks on the charts, and sold eleven million copies.[27] To the Extreme was the best selling hip hop album up until that time.[28] "Ice Ice Baby" has been credited for helping diversify hip hop by introducing it to a mainstream, white audience.[29]

Reviews of To the Extreme were mixed. Entertainment Weekly reviewer Dom Lombardo gave the album a B, calling the album "so consistent in its borrowings that it could be a parody, if it weren't for its total absence of wit",[2] but concluding that "if there's about a two-to-one ratio of winners [...] to clunkers, that's not the worst track record for a debut album."[2] Udovitch cited "Ice Ice Baby", "Play That Funky Music", "Dancin'" and "It's a Party" as the album's highlights.[2] Robert Christgau gave the album a C- rating, writing that Van Winkle's "suave sexism, fashionably male supremacist rather than dangerously obscene, is no worse than his suave beats".[3] Allmusic reviewer Steve Huey wrote that "Ice's mic technique is actually stronger and more nimble than MC Hammer's, and he really tries earnestly to show off the skills he does have. Unfortunately, even if he can keep a mid-tempo pace, his flow is rhythmically stiff, and his voice has an odd timbre; plus, he never seems sure of the proper accent to adopt. He's able to overcome those flaws somewhat in isolated moments, but they become all too apparent over the course of an entire album."[1]

After audiences began to view Van Winkle as a novelty act, his popularity began to decline. Van Winkle would later regain some success, attracting a new audience outside of the mainstream audience that had formerly accepted him, and then rejected him.[30]

Track listing

To the Extreme
# Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Ice Ice Baby"   Vanilla Ice and Earthquake Vanilla Ice 4:31
2. "Yo Vanilla"   Vanilla Ice Vanilla Ice 0:04
3. "Stop That Train"   Vanilla Ice and Earthquake Vanilla Ice 4:29
4. "Hooked"   Vanilla Ice Khayree 4:52
5. "Ice Is Workin' It"   Vanilla Ice and Earthquake Vanilla Ice 4:36
6. "Life Is a Fantasy"   Vanilla Ice and Earthquake Earthquake 4:47
7. "Play That Funky Music"   Vanilla Ice and Earthquake Vanilla Ice 4:22
8. "Dancin'"   Vanilla Ice and Earthquake Earthquake and Khayree 5:00
9. "Go Ill"   Vanilla Ice David Deberry 5:00
10. "It's a Party"   Vanilla Ice Khayree 4:39
11. "Juice to Get Loose Boy"   Vanilla Ice Vanilla Ice 0:08
12. "Ice Cold"   Vanilla Ice Darryl Williams 4:05
13. "Rosta Man"   Vanilla Ice Darryl Williams 4:36
14. "I Love You"   Vanilla Ice Kim Sharp 5:06
15. "Havin' a Roni"   Vanilla Ice Vanilla Ice 1:09


The following people contributed to To the Extreme:[31]


Additional musicians

  • Paul Loomis – keyboards, producer, engineer, keyboard bass
  • Craig Pride – vocals

Technical personnel

  • Deshay – overdubs, beats
  • George Anderson – engineer
  • Tim Kimsey – engineer
  • Tommy Quon – executive producer
  • Kim Sharp – producer
  • Gary Wooten – engineer
  • Henry Falco – engineer
  • Khayree – producer
  • Janet Perr – art direction, design
  • Michael Lavine – photography
  • Darryl Williams – producer
  • Michael Sarsfield – engineer


Chart (1990) Peak Position
Billboard 200 1[26]
Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 6[26]


  1. ^ a b c d Huey, Steve. "Review of To the Extreme". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-03-07.  
  2. ^ a b c d Udovitch, Mim (November 2, 1990). "Review of To the Extreme". Entertainment Weekly.,,318500,00.html. Retrieved 2009-02-13.  
  3. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1990). "Review of To the Extreme". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2009-03-07.  
  4. ^ Andrews, Marc. "Review: Vanilla Ice: To The Extreme (SBK)". Smash Hits (EMAP Metro) (12-25 December 1990): 54.  
  5. ^ "Overview for Hooked". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-03-07.  
  6. ^ "Information for Hooked". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-03-07.  
  7. ^ Price, Jason. "The Next Ice Age". Live-Metal. Retrieved 2008-04-26.  
  8. ^ a b c Westfahl, Gary (2000). "Legends of the Fall: Behind the Music". Science Fiction, Children's Literature, and Popular Culture. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 100. ISBN 0313308470.  
  9. ^ 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.  
  10. ^ "Information for "Ice Ice Baby" (12")". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-02-13.  
  11. ^ 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.  
  12. ^ Hilburn, Robert (March 17, 1991). "Why Is Everyone Still Fussing About Ice?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 February 2009.  
  13. ^ 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.  
  14. ^ Banks, Jack (1996). "Other Video Music Program Services". Monopoly Television: MTV's Quest to Control the Music. Westview Press. p. 56. ISBN 0813318211.  
  15. ^ "Information for "Ice Ice Baby" (SBK)". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-02-13.  
  16. ^ "Information for "Ice Ice Baby" (EMI)". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-02-13.  
  17. ^ Rayner, Alex (November 3, 2007). "Is this it?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-02-13.  
  18. ^ Perullo, Alex; Fenn, John (2003). "Ideologies, Choices, and Practicies in Eastern African Hip Hop". in Harris M., Berger; Michael Thomas, Carroll. Global Pop, Local Language. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 25. ISBN 1578065364.  
  19. ^ Keyes, Cheryl L (2004). "Blending and Shaping Styles: Rap and Other Musical Voices". Rap Music and Street Consciousness. University of Illinois Press. p. 107. ISBN 0252072014.  
  20. ^ Fine, Elizabeth Calvert (2003). "The Cultural Politics of Step Shows". Soulstepping: African American Step Shows. University of Illinois Press. p. 145. ISBN 0252024753.  
  21. ^ Hess, Mickey (2007). "Vanilla Ice: The Elvis of Rap". Is Hip Hop Dead?. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 118. ISBN 0275994619.  
  22. ^ a b Stillman, Kevin (February 27, 2006). "Word to your mother". Iowa State Daily. Retrieved 2009-02-13.  
  23. ^ Nick, Adams (2006). "When White Rappers Attack". Making Friends with Black People. Kensington Books. p. 75. ISBN 075821295X.  
  24. ^ Perkins, William Eric (1996). "Whiteface mimicry: dissin' race and culture". Droppin' Science: Critical Essays on Rap Music and Hip Hop Culture. Temple University Press. p. 199. ISBN 1566393620.  
  25. ^ Forman, Murray (2002). "'Welcome to the City'". The 'hood Comes First: Race, Space, and Place in Rap and Hip-hop. Wesleyan University Press. p. 61. ISBN 0819563978.  
  26. ^ a b c "Charts and awards for To the Extreme". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-03-07.  
  27. ^ Kihn, Martin (May 18, 1992). "Charles in Charge". New York 25 (20): 40.  
  28. ^ Perkins, William Eric (1996). "The great white hoax". Droppin' Science: Critical Essays on Rap Music and Hip Hop Culture. Temple University Press. p. 37. ISBN 1566393620.  
  29. ^ Kyllonen, Tommy (2007). "An unorthodox culture: hip-hop's history". Un.orthodox: Church. Hip-Hop. Culture. Zondervan. p. 92. ISBN 0310274397.  
  30. ^ "Catching Up With... Vanilla Ice". The Washington Post. February 17, 2006. Retrieved 13 February 2009.  
  31. ^ "Credits for To the Extreme". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-03-07.  
Preceded by
Step by Step by New Kids on the Block
Billboard 200 number-one album
November 10, 1990 - March 1, 1991
Succeeded by
Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey


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