Robert Matthew Van Winkle (born October 31, 1967), best known by his stage name Vanilla Ice, is an American rapper and home improvement television personality. Born in Dallas, Texas, and raised in Texas and South Florida, Van Winkle released his debut album, Hooked, in 1989 through Ichiban Records, before signing a contract with SBK Records, which released a reformatted version of the album under the title To the Extreme. Van Winkle's single "Ice Ice Baby" was the first hip hop single to top the Billboard charts.
Although Van Winkle was successful, he later regretted his business arrangements with SBK, which had paid him to adopt a more commercial appearance and had published fabricated biographical information without his knowledge. After surviving a suicide attempt, Van Winkle was inspired to change his musical style and lifestyle. While later albums by Van Winkle haven't charted or featured much radio airplay because of their less mainstream, rock-oriented sound, Vanilla Ice has a loyal underground following. His return to music in 1998, Hard to Swallow went Gold while his other releases Bi-Polar and Platinum Underground have done well. In 2009, Van Winkle began hosting The Vanilla Ice Project on DIY Network. His latest album WTF - Wisdom, Tenacity & Focus is set to be released sometime in 2011.
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