According to Bankrate.com, “Now clean and sober, rap star Vanilla Ice is making money with music and mortgages.”
ÿÿÿÿ Vanilla Ice, born Robert Van Winkle, had a meteoric rise to fame in 1991, with his hit, “Ice Ice Baby,” but suffered an even quicker crash and burn. During that year, Vanilla Ice was named as one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” and he was making $1 million per week for 15 weeks off his album “To the Extreme.” The album was nominated for a Grammy.

ÿÿÿÿ Under pressure as a white rapper to gain street credibility, his publicists put out the story that he attended an all-black high school in the ghetto, when his real upbringing was in the suburbs. Also, he was sued by David Bowie and the band Queen for using segments of their recordings in his own without permission.

ÿÿÿÿ Vanilla Ice’s career appeared to be over and his life, as well. Consumed by depression, he attempted suicide in 1994, using a combination of heroin (to which he was addicted), ecstasy and cocaine. His internal struggle forced him to change everything in his life. He turned away from music and got into motocross amateur races, where he had excelled as a teenager. He also became a formidable jet-skier. Vanilla Ice was not going to make big money in sports, but he was cleaning up his life. He now has been married for more than 10 years; the couple has two daughters.

ÿÿÿÿ Then, quietly, he started his music career again. This time, Vanilla Ice would be in control of his music and his image. His publicity schemes have been a little offbeat: he boxed Todd Bridges for $50,000 and appeared on “The Surreal Life.” But in these Paris-Hilton days, the publicity stunts seem relatively mild. Vanilla Ice has new CDs pouring out all the time, he’s popular again and he’s making lots of money in the business world.

ÿÿÿÿ Bankrate talked to Vanilla Ice about the upswing in his career and life.

ÿÿÿÿ Bankrate: You’ve been very public about your resentment of being a “packaged” artist in the past. How did you come to be packaged in the first place?

ÿÿÿÿ Vanilla Ice: That came from not having anyone in front of me. Eminem can use me as a guideline. I was only 16 when I started. My mom told me to get a real job, to work at a barbecue joint. I mean, I like barbecue, but still! Now, she’s a big fan. She was a typical mom: “White kids don’t rap! I’m not bailing you out of jail again!” Everything happened so fast; I was on tour with Ice-T and Sir Mix-A-Lot. My first record sold 48,000 copies. In 1991, I signed with Capitol Records, selling a million records a week. To this day, my album is the No. 1 debut record of all time.

ÿÿÿÿ Bankrate: You tried to kill yourself with $18 million in the bank. So, money isn’t everything.

ÿÿÿÿ Vanilla Ice: I made even more than that. No, the important things are family and friends. I learned there is no escape route. Drugs only worked for a minute.


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