To the Extreme

Last updated
To the Extreme
Vanilla Ice-To the Extreme (album cover).JPG
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 10, 1990
StudioLuminous Sound, Dallas, Texas
Genre Hip hop [1]
Vanilla Ice chronology
To the Extreme
Extremely Live
Singles from To the Extreme
  1. "Ice Ice Baby"
    Released: August 22, 1990 [2]
  2. "Play That Funky Music"
    Released: November 19, 1990 [3]
  3. "I Love You"
    Released: February 14, 1991 [4]

To the Extreme is the major label debut studio album of American rapper Vanilla Ice released on September 10, 1990 by SBK and EMI. [5] Recorded between 1989–90, it contains Vanilla Ice's most successful single, "Ice Ice Baby". It primarily contains hip hop and pop rap tracks produced by Kim Sharp, David DeBerry, Khayree, and Darryl Williams.


Following the release of an early version of the album titled Hooked by Ichiban Records, Ice was signed by SBK for $325,000 and the mixtape was re-recorded and repackaged. [6] It was supported by the release of three official singles: "Ice Ice Baby", the cover of "Play That Funky Music" and "I Love You".

The album was met with lukewarm reviews, with some critics praising Ice's abilities and showmanship, and others the simplistic lyrics and comparisons with fellow rapper MC Hammer. The album sparked controversy due to the unlicensed samples included on the album, including "Under Pressure" by David Bowie and Queen that was later settled out of court.

Despite this, To the Extreme appeared at the top of the US Billboard 200 albums chart for sixteen consecutive weeks and was certified seven times platinum by RIAA. The lead single "Ice Ice Baby" was the first rap single to top the Billboard Hot 100 . The album was certified platinum in Canada, Australia and United Kingdom selling over 15 million copies in total. [7] [8] Ice was selected as the opening act of MC Hammer's 1990 tour, and later embarked on his To the Extreme World Tour, performing in North America, Europe, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and Japan in 1991, and in Latin America in 1992.


In early 1990, Vanilla Ice released an early version of To the Extreme under the title Hooked on Ichiban Records. [9] [10] [11] "Play That Funky Music" was released as the album's first single, with "Ice Ice Baby" appearing as the B-side. [12] [13] The 12-inch single featured the radio, instrumental and a cappella versions of "Play That Funky Music" and the radio version and "Miami Drop" remix of "Ice Ice Baby". [14] When a disc jockey played "Ice Ice Baby" instead of the single's A-side, the song gained more success than "Play That Funky Music". [12] A music video for "Ice Ice Baby" was produced for $8,000. [15] [16] The video was financed by Vanilla Ice's manager, Tommy Quon, and shot on the roof of a warehouse in Dallas, Texas. [17]

In 1990, Vanilla Ice signed to SBK Records, who reissued Hooked under the title To the Extreme. The reissue contained new artwork and music. [18] "Ice Ice Baby" was given its own single, released in 1990 by SBK in the United States, and EMI Records in the United Kingdom. The SBK single contained the "Miami Drop", instrumental and radio mixes of "Ice Ice Baby" and the album version of "It's A Party". [19] The EMI single contained the club and radio mixes of the song, and the shortened radio edit. [20]


Vanilla Ice wrote "Ice Ice Baby" at the age of 16, basing its lyrics upon the South Florida area in which he was raised. [21] The lyrics describe a drive-by shooting and Vanilla Ice's rhyming skills. [22] The chorus of "Ice Ice Baby" originates from the signature chant of the national African American fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha. [23] [24] The song's hook samples the bassline of the 1981 song "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie. [25] Freddie Mercury and David Bowie did not receive credit or royalties for the sample. [12] In a 1990 interview, Vanilla Ice joked the two melodies were slightly different because he had added an additional note. [26] [27] Vanilla Ice later paid Mercury and Bowie, who have since been given songwriting credit for the sample. [26] However, he ended up purchasing the rights to the song, because it was cheaper than licensing the sample. [28]

The stylistic origins of "Rosta Man" are based upon reggae toasting. [18] [29]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [18]
Robert Christgau C− [30]
Entertainment Weekly B [31]
NME 7/10 [32]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [33]
Select (2/5) [34]
Smash Hits (8/10) [35]

Entertainment Weekly reviewer Dom Lombardo gave the album a B, calling the album "so consistent in its borrowings that it could be a parody, if it weren't for its total absence of wit", [31] but concluding that "if there's about a two-to-one ratio of winners [...] to clunkers, that's not the worst track record for a debut album." [31] Udovitch cited "Ice Ice Baby", "Play That Funky Music", "Dancin'" and "It's a Party" as the album's highlights. [31] Robert Christgau gave the album a C− rating, writing that Vanilla Ice's "suave sexism, fashionably male supremacist rather than dangerously obscene, is no worse than his suave beats". [30] Stephen Dalton from NME wrote, "To the Extreme is the highly competent debut from a major pop talent. Listen without prejudice." [32] Select stated that the album "packs in just about every musical and lyrical code of rap, yet still says nothing" and that "Kids and neophytes have a right to love it, but grown-ups will find Vanilla Ice spectacularly hollow." [34]

AllMusic reviewer Steve Huey wrote that "Ice's mic technique is actually stronger and more nimble than MC Hammer's, and he really tries earnestly to show off the skills he does have. Unfortunately, even if he can keep a mid-tempo pace, his flow is rhythmically stiff, and his voice has an odd timbre; plus, he never seems sure of the proper accent to adopt. He's able to overcome those flaws somewhat in isolated moments, but they become all too apparent over the course of an entire album." [18]

After audiences began to view Vanilla Ice as a novelty act, his popularity began to decline. He would later regain some success, attracting a new audience outside of the mainstream audience that had formerly accepted him, and then rejected him. [36]

Commercial performance

To the Extreme was released in the US on September 10, 1990. On the issue of October 31, 1990 the album jumped from 23 to 7 on the US Billboard 200 selling over two million copies in its first five weeks of being released. [37] The album reached the number one spot on the week of November 10, 1990 ending a 23-week run by M.C. Hammer's Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em and it stayed at the top for sixteen consecutive weeks. At the time, To the Extreme was named the fastest debut album at the time. [38] [39] In the same month, was certified gold, platinum, double-platinum, triple-platinum and quadruple-platinum in the next day, becoming one of the fastest-certified albums in history. [40] [41]

By January 1991, it was the fastest selling album since Purple Rain (1984) reaching six million copies sold in just three months and four days. [42] Eventually, seven million copies were shipped across the United States. [43]

By March 1991, the album was closing in on 10.5 million units worldwide, just six months of been released. [44] To the Extreme was the best selling hip hop album up until that time. "Ice Ice Baby" has been credited for helping diversify hip hop by introducing it to a mainstream, white audience. [45]

In Canada, the album peaked at the number one and was certified 6 times platinum and won the Best Selling Album by a Foreign Artist at To the Extreme at the 1992 June Awards.

Track listing

The first version was released in 1989 by the independent record label Ichiban Records under the title Hooked. Vanilla Ice eventually signed to SBK Records, who reissued the album under its current name, To the Extreme, with some differences in the track list. To the Extreme contains all tracks from Hooked except for "Satisfaction", and six extra tracks: "Yo Vanilla", "Stop That Train", "Ice Is Workin' It", "Life Is A Fantasy" and "Juice To Get Loose Boy". "Havin' A Roni" was a hidden track on Hooked. [18]

1."Ice Ice Baby"Vanilla Ice4:31
2."Play That Funky Music" Vanilla Ice4:22
3."Hooked"Vanilla Ice Khayree 4:52
4."Satisfaction" Khayree 3:46
5."I Love You"Vanilla IceKim Sharp5:06
  • Vanilla Ice
  • Earthquake
  • Earthquake
  • Khayree
7."Go Ill"Vanilla IceDavid Deberry5:00
8."It's a Party"Vanilla Ice Khayree 4:39
9."Ice Cold"Vanilla IceDarryl Williams4:05
10."Rosta Man"Vanilla IceDarryl Williams4:36
11."Havin' a Roni" (Hidden track)Vanilla IceVanilla Ice1:09
Total length:47:38
To the Extreme
1."Ice Ice Baby"Vanilla Ice4:33
2."Yo Vanilla"Vanilla IceVanilla Ice0:04
3."Stop That Train"
  • Vanilla Ice
  • Earthquake
Vanilla Ice4:31
4."Hooked"Vanilla Ice Khayree 4:52
5."Ice Is Workin' It"
  • Vanilla Ice
  • Earthquake
Vanilla Ice4:36
6."Life Is a Fantasy"
  • Vanilla Ice
  • Earthquake
7."Play That Funky Music" Rob Parissi Vanilla Ice4:45
  • Vanilla Ice
  • Earthquake
  • Earthquake
  • Khayree
9."Go Ill"Vanilla IceDavid Deberry4:58
10."It's a Party"Vanilla Ice Khayree 4:39
11."Juice to Get Loose Boy"Vanilla IceVanilla Ice0:08
12."Ice Cold"Vanilla IceDarryl Williams4:05
13."Rosta Man"Vanilla IceDarryl Williams4:36
14."I Love You"Vanilla IceKim Sharp5:06
15."Havin' a Roni"Vanilla IceVanilla Ice1:09
Total length:57:18


The following people contributed on To the Extreme: [46]

Additional musicians

Technical personnel



RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA) [72] Platinum70,000^
Canada (Music Canada) [73] 6× Platinum600,000^
France90,000 [74]
New Zealand (RMNZ) [75] Gold7,500^
Spain (PROMUSICAE) [76] Gold50,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland) [77] Gold25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI) [78] Platinum300,000^
United States (RIAA) [79] 7× Platinum7,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

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"I Love You" is a hip hop song written by American rapper Vanilla Ice. Released as a single, it peaked at number 52 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1990. It was also saw chart entries in the UK, Germany, and New Zealand, where it peaked at number 30.

To the Extreme World Tour was the first headlining tour tour by American recording artist Vanilla Ice to promote his album To the Extreme. The tour consisted of three legs, starting on January 16, 1991 at Louisville and ending in Mexico City on August 1, 1992. On this tour, Vanilla Ice performed in arenas and theaters across the world including Australia, Latin America, North America and Europe. Despite the mixed reviews by the critcs several shows were reported as sold out by the local media. The Party and Riff were selected as the opening act of some United States and Canada concerts until March 31, 1991. On March 6, 1991, he released Extremely Live with material recorded at Miami, Cleveland, Kissimee, Columbus and Tampa concerts.


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