Vanilla Ice Denies Ripping Off Bowie and Queen
Shortly after “Ice Ice Baby” became a mega-huge (and mega-obnoxious) single in 1990, Vanilla Ice was accused of lifting the bass line from David Bowie and Queen’s “Under Pressure” without giving credit. His response was that there was enough difference in the sample he used that he shouldn’t be accused of stealing. In the MTV interview above, Ice says that the pickup notes leading into the hook are different, so there is not even an argument—even though everyone else in the world said otherwise. In a 2006 interview with the Iowa State Daily, Ice admitted to using the sample, stating that what he said in the interview was a just a joke, and Bowie and Queen were given payment and songwriting credits for the sample.
Why We’re Still Annoyed:
Even though we now live in a post-Girl Talk sample bonanza, where DJs readily sample others without much recompense, Vanilla Ice’s blatant rip-off and idiotic denial still rests as a great example of a greedy, fame-starved music industry using the genius of the past—albeit in a dumbed-down iteration—to push forward more flat music. Whether the record label assisted in the denial or if all that rests on Vanilla Ice’s shiny shoulder pads is irrelevant. Ice can say the denial was all a joke, but in the end, the joke lies on the man rather than the act.
A group of drunk, young, white girls scream-rapping “Ice Ice Baby” into a small, distorted microphone in an otherwise quiet bar because it’s “TOTALLY OUR JAM!” –Nick Freed