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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. Later albums by Van Winkle, including Hard to Swallow, Bi-Polar and Platinum Underground, attempted to catch onto gangsta rap, grunge, and other rock-oriented sounds, but did not chart.


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