So, I know what you’re thinking. When will Briggsy finally come out with a formal statement about Vanilla Ice? Or Robbie Van Winkle, if you will. I just like how the last name Van Winkle makes him that much more of a poser. Rip Van Winkle is all like, WTF?
Well, wait no longer, curious readers. And stay in school. Keep up that childlike curiosity!
Today’s forgotten song is “Play That Funky Music” by your favorite white rapper and mine from the turn of the 80s into the 90s, Vanilla Ice. He is a lyrical poet, in case you didn’t know it.
I basically wore Vanilla’s outfit from this video in my 9th grade school picture, which was snapped in (you guessed it) 1990! Or it might have been August 1989. Whatevs, ok? Everyone was buttoning their shirts up to the top and using tons of LA Looks, what can I say? And I had strikingly similar hair, which I had just cut off from an everpresent ponytail. You know what everyone called me in 8th grade?
Sigh. So by 9th grade, I had the high buttoned shirt and tapered pants, but instead of the jacket, I had a hideous paisley patterned vest. I don’t care how much you annoying hipsters rock vests, I can’t do it.
“Play That Funky Music” was the second single off Vanilla’s 1990 magnum opus, To The Extreme. Remember how everything in the early 90s had to be extreme? Extreme! Anyway, if, unlike yours truly, you did NOT own To The Extreme (Loser!), you might be more familiar with his hit, “Ice Ice Baby.” Sad fun fact: “Ice Ice Baby” was the first hip hop single to top the Billboard charts, on November 3, 1990. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Why do I still know virtually every word to this song? To the extreme I rock a mic like a vandal, light up the stage and wax a chump like a candle. That’s me! And you know I didn’t need to look up those lyrics, MFs! Anyway, I owned this CD! Is this shocking? I owned a lot of gems from this era: Bell Biv Devoe, Tone Loc, Young MC, and so on. If you were in St. Louis at the time, perhaps you like me, earned your hip hop chops on Hot 97. Not to be confused with the NYC hip hop radio institution. Hot 97 brought these gems to the junior high masses in StL for a hot minute in the early 90s. I cannot find anything about this radio station online. Can someone from StL verify that this station existed and wasn’t a figment of my imagination? Anyway, this era was right before I started liking hair rock which was right before I sold back a lot of both of these genres of CDs (Stupid! Don’t worry, I’ve slowly acquired them all back) and started moping around listening to REM. The REM phase lasted a long while. Now I’m like, REM…meh! Put on “Do Me!”
Let’s dance on a boat while wearing vests!
Anyway, back to Vanilla’s clothes. Check him out in Ice Ice Baby! Zubaz, patent leather shoes and a college sweatshirt? Well played, Vanilla. I want that outfit so bad! It’s like 1990 got up out of the history books and our memories, put on clothes and started dancing. This is what 1990 would look like! But not just his look. Remember those time capsules you made in 1990 for 9th grade, whilst earnestly discussing all the references in “We Didn’t Start the Fire” for history class? Well, throw all that crap away and just put a VHS tape of this video in the capsule. The flourescent colors, college sweatshirts, the hypercolor effect in the video. Future generations will get it.
I think the low-grade quality of this video and Ice’s constant reminders that he was from the STREETS of Miami (He wasn’t! Ooh, THE scandal of 1990! This just in: Neither Milli nor Vanilli actually sang!) communicated to young me that Miami was a seedy underworld. Well, that and Miami Vice. Why was 1985-1991 U.S. pop culture obsessed with Miami?
Speaking of the scandals of the early 1990s, what was with Ice’s constant dissing of Kid N’ Play? Come on! Kid N’ Play? They ain’t gonna hurt nobody!
Ice mentions them with snide disgust in “Play That Funky Music,” boasting that he can dance “better than any Kid or Play.” Woah! Now, wait a minute now. Ice also states “The Kid don’t play,” in Ice Ice Baby. Mmm yeah, no. Kid N’ Play were awesome!
Did y’all see House Party? For a brief glorious time in 1989-1990, the Briggsy household got free Pay Per View. Keep that between you and me! This was back in the day when it took a year for your favorite movies to be released onto VHS, so it was truly wonderful! Oh, the movies we saw: Uncle Buck, Look Who’s Talking, The Wizard, the list goes on. I used to tape them too, and my favorite was House Party. House Party was the shit, yos! I hightailed it to the store and got the soundtrack, which introduced me to Public Enemy, thus making me infinitely cooler and more political. Just don’t go back in a time machine and tell everyone that I discovered P.E. thanks to Kid N’ Play!
The best scene was the rap battle between Kid and Play.
Why yes, that is Tisha Campbell, Gina from teevee’s Martin, giving Kid googly eyes while he raps! Can you blame her? I think it’s about time for a taste of this, because it’s simply been too long:
Kid N’ Play…for the win!
After awhile though, you kinda had to feel bad for Vanilla Ice. A joke at Vanilla’s expense pretty much guaranteed instant laughs back in the day. Remember this from In Living Color?
Eminem was a kid at home with a single tear falling down his cheek to this one! He prolly blamed his mom.
Then there were Vanilla’s appearances on Arsenio Hall. I LOVED The Arsenio Hall show at this time. Arsenio gives a hard-hitting interview here (You can tell because he’s wearing spectacles!), and Vanilla comes off looking like a bit of a douche. Watch them discuss race and a beef with Hammer.
God, how I wanted to be in the Dawg Pound! Vanilla Ice needs to work on his anti racist analysis. Vanilla Ice on racism: It’s not my fault!
And here was Vanilla’s performance later on the show.
OMG! Remember when CDs came in those big ass boxes! I used to save them!
One more thing on this Forgotten Song Friday. These walks down memory lane have brought my obsession with the late 80s/early 90s into clearer perspective for me. As Vanilla says on Play That Funky Music: “’89 is my time…Yo! ’90 is my year!” Remember how in the very late 80s, everyone was singing about the 80s and the end thereof? There were some good lines referencing the 80s and 90s. And because I am permanently stuck in that era, I thought I’d change my tagline to one of these gems. What do y’all think?
To refresh your recollections:
The most popular song for the class of ’89!
Happy Friday everybody! Word to your blogga.