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"Hard to Swallow" (Republic/MCA Records)

Reviewed by Snidermann

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)Halfsaw.gif (173 bytes)

I can't believe I’m actually going to review Vanilla Ice for But when (Editor) Scott Bolton told me about it and that it was produced by Ross Robinson (Korn, Sepultura, Limp Bizkit, etc.), I was intrigued. So I thought what the hell and gave it a spin.

The CD is named, perhaps appropriately so, "Hard to Swallow." Rob Van Winkle (a.k.a. Vanilla Ice) takes you on detailed introspective of his life: its trials and tribulations, its ups and its downs. He describes how, sixteen years ago, he had nothing. Then, he recorded "Ice Ice Baby" which went on to sell over 13 million copies worldwide. However, "Ice Ice Baby" was not the kind of music Van Winkle wanted to do. He readily admits that he sold out to the record company and did that kind of music for the money. Do you blame him?

However, the music on the new CD is in your face right from the get go. The lyrics are blasted forth and before your brain registers what it's heard, Ice is on to something else entirely and you find yourself playing catch-up most of the time. The music beats you constantly and relentlessly - I've never heard anything like it before. Ice says his music is called "skate rock." And it rocks. Throughout the CD, you hear a reminder of whom you're listening to: "Ice, Ice, Baby." It’s as if to say that Ice is not running from his past, but dealing with it. The lyrics are still belted out in a rap mode but the music is as hard as it gets.

Producer Ross Robinson and Ice combine their talents to find a strangely raucous and raging form of music. The rap aspect is a bit overdone at times and more than a little annoying. All in all, I enjoyed this CD and I would recommend this to any hardcore metal rap fan.

Ice has settled his life: He is now married and has a young daughter, owns a recording company, heads a killer band and has hired a terrific producer. Life must be good for Rob Van Winkle right about now.

Rating Guide:

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) A classic. This record will kick your ass.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) So-so. You've heard better.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

restinks.jpg (954 bytes) Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 1998 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 14 Jun 2020 15:11:02 -0400.