To the Extreme
|To the Extreme|
|Studio album by Vanilla Ice|
|Released||August 28, 1990|
|Producer||Vanilla Ice, Kim Sharp, Khayree, Darryl Williams|
|Vanilla Ice chronology|
|Singles from To the Extreme|
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 at the top of the Billboard 200, and sold 15 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. "Play That Funky Music" was released as the album's first single, with "Ice Ice Baby" appearing as the B-side. 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". 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". A music video for "Ice Ice Baby" was produced for $8000. The video was financed by Van Winkle's manager, Tommy Quon, and shot on the roof of a warehouse in Dallas, Texas. Heavy airplay of the video by The Box while Van Winkle was still unknown increased public interest in the song.
In 1990, Van Winkle signed to SBK Records, who reissued Hooked under the title To the Extreme. The reissue contained new artwork and music. "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". The EMI single contained the club and radio mixes of the song, and the shortened radio edit.
Van Winkle wrote "Ice Ice Baby" at the age of 16, basing its lyrics upon the South Florida area in which he was raised. The lyrics describe a drive-by shooting and Van Winkle's rhyming skills. The chorus of "Ice Ice Baby" originates from the signature chant of the national African American fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha. The song's hook samples the bassline of the 1981 song "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie. Freddie Mercury and David Bowie did not receive credit or royalties for the sample. 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. Van Winkle later paid Mercury and Bowie, who have since been given songwriting credit for the sample.
To the Extreme became the fastest selling hip hop album of all time, peaking at #1 on the Billboard 200. The album spent 16 weeks at the top of the charts, and seven million copies were shipped across the United States. To the Extreme was the best selling hip hop album up until that time. "Ice Ice Baby" has been credited for helping diversify hip hop by introducing it to a mainstream, white audience.
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", 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." Udovitch cited "Ice Ice Baby", "Play That Funky Music", "Dancin'" and "It's a Party" as the album's highlights. 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". 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."
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.
|1.||"Ice Ice Baby"||Vanilla Ice and Earthquake||Vanilla Ice||4:31|
|2.||"Play That Funky Music"||Robert Parissi||Vanilla Ice||4:22|
|4.||"Satisfaction"||Vanilla Ice, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards||Khayree||3:46|
|5.||"I Love You"||Vanilla Ice||Kim Sharp||5:06|
|6.||"Dancin'"||Vanilla Ice and Earthquake||Earthquake and Khayree||5:00|
|7.||"Go Ill"||Vanilla Ice||David Deberry||5:00|
|8.||"It's a Party"||Vanilla Ice||Khayree||4:39|
|9.||"Ice Cold"||Vanilla Ice||Darryl Williams||4:05|
|10.||"Rosta Man"||Vanilla Ice||Darryl Williams||4:36|
|11.||"Bust It"||Vanilla Ice||Vanilla Ice||1:24|
|To the Extreme|
|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|
|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|
Ice Ice Baby
Stop That Train
- "I Know You Got Soul" by Bobby Byrd
Play That Funky Music
- "Play That Funky Music" by Wild Cherry
It's a Party
- "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine" by James Brown
The following people contributed on To the Extreme:
- Paul Loomis – keyboards, producer, engineer, keyboard bass
- Craig Pride – vocals
- 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|
|Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums||6|
End of decade charts
|U.S. Billboard 200||20|
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