1990: Vanilla Ice on "Ice Ice Baby" vs. Queen/Bowie's "Under Pressure"

"We sampled it from them but it's not the same bassline. It goes 'ding ding ding di di ding ding… ding ding ding di di ding ding.' That's the way theirs goes. Ours goes 'ding ding ding di di ding ding… DING… ding ding ding di di ding ding.' That little bitty change -- it's not the same."


  1. Yes! Hoooow did I forget about this gem from the childhood archive?

    What is up with the hand dancing? And the head dancing? And the poorly lit warehouse dance scene… it’s like nostalgia crack.

    Thanks for that David!

      1. How much of that desire is based on his awesome hair? It’s like.. military, but funner!

        On topic: he’s totally right btw. Almost identical is not identical and he’s not claiming Queen’s original wasn’t the inspiration for it.

        Since we’re comparing Vanilla Ice and Queen.. which would it be if it could only be Freddie Mercury or Mr. Ice?

        1. Since we’re comparing Vanilla Ice and Queen.. which would it be if it could only be Freddie Mercury or Mr. Ice?

          Well, I do generally prefer them still alive. And Mr. Ice is a lot taller.

          1. OK Mr. smartypants… how about Ice Ice Baby-era Vanilla Ice compared to this picture of Freddie Mercury which depicts him at a similar age?
            (Or was that your roundabout way of saying Vanilla Ice?)

  2. Vanilla’s denial didn’t last too long, eventually Mercury & Bowie sued, Vanilla settled out of court, and now Mercury and David Bowie get song writing credits on “Ice Ice Baby”. Suge Knight also strong armed Vanilla into some kinda pay-off when one of his employees claimed partial song writing credit. Details sketchy on that whole transaction.

    1. I think that was where Suge Knight was holding Ice off the penthouse balcony of a Vegas hotel by his ankle until he agreed to sign.

    2. Interesting. I always assumed it was a (cleared) sample – I didn’t realise there was plagiarism involved. At least I’ve learned something today.

  3. Ha! I remember this interview from high school!  And 3rd Bass’ song that railed on him:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzXI_ApY4dY

    [Serch]Ya stole somebody’s record then ya looped it, ya looped it[Pete]Ya boosted the record then ya looped it, ya looped it[Serch]Aiyyo, I came from Cali, and they hooped it, they hooped it[Pete]But now you’re getting sued kinda stoopid

  4. Brings back memories…but mostly the parodies:

    There’s also the Kevin Bacon one, but that seems hard to find…copyright infringement or what not.  Obviously, someone is losing money if youtube hosts that..or something.

  5. Reminds me of Cassetteboy’s “My Dad’s Brother Knows Russell Crowe”.

    It samples an interview with MC Hammer about his brilliance.

    “Well I remember being uh I was in that creative mode and uh the phrase ‘U Can’t Touch This’ just came to my mind.  Doon duh-duh-doon, duh-doon, duh-doon, U Can’t Touch This.  I say, ‘Ima gonna go ahead and loop that Rick James and just say ‘U Can’t Touch This.'”


  6. I was 12 in 1990, and I remember seeing this on the air then and thinking it was pure, unadulterated bullshit.

    But yeah, I still had the album.  Ice Ice baby, too coooold, too coooold…

  7. The most annoying thing…besides the blatant theft, besides the irritating persona…

    Besides the fact that my clever dope rhymes are only appreciated by scores of people while Vanilla Ice is known worldwide.

    Ice Ice Baby is (this very day!) #64 out of the iTunes top 100 hip hop tracks.

    That…saddens me.

    1. I think such stats say more about itunes customers than anything else. In 2010 The Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling was the most downloaded song ever on itunes. Shit music sells to idiots and people who are into hiphop generally buy records or CDs (or the artist themselves put it online for free) so it stands to reason that only commercial junk like this sells by the bucketload on itunes.

      Anyway, as a friendly pointer, I would suggest you not refer to your rhymes as clever and dope (even if they are, no one really says that about their own rhymes) but to also post a link to some of your stuff here. I’ll give it a listen at least :)

  8. I still fondly recall what happened when Vanilla Ice was the guest musician on Saturday Night Live.  The Dennis Miller Weekend Update segment intro began with the familiar boom boom boom of Vanilla Ice’s song, and you could almost hear the eyes rolling in the crowd.  But the song continued long enough for the lyrics to start and as it suddenly became clear it was the original Queen/Bowie song, the crowd roared in approval.

  9. This makes me realise I’ve been too hard on Puffy for making hip hop fluffy and commercial: looping 4 bars of songs that were already pop hits.

    You cannot derive anything about copyright or creativity or morality from exploitation art like Vanilla Ice or Hammer. It is not hip hop. It’s not really even sampling. It’s manufactured pop music – but with rapping. It’s the Mitt Romney of music. It’s pure exploitation for profit.

    If you want to talk about hip hop or sampling or creativity or morality or copyright, use The Grey Album as your test case.

  10. I believe that Benny Hill started this genre with “Ernie the fastest milkman in the west” written in 1955 it charted in the UK in 1971 – you cant beat the master you know. Cough.

  11. Also this is funny of course, the citation is slightly out of context. What he wants to say is, that in contrast to MC Hammer who uses almost all parts of Superfreak for Can’t touch this, Vanilla Ice only use the bassline (Yes, he does not deny sampling it) and the rest is a completly different song. At this part he should have stopped his argument: Also they modified the bassline. All this is why they do not give writing credit to Queen and David Bowie.  

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