Ice Ice Baby — Can’t Touch This

A few weeks’ ago, Newsweek featured an article about a concert that happened in Salt Lake.  Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer reunited and put on a show in Utah — pretty interesting since they apparently did not get along too well in their hey-day when they toured together, but two decades of being linked together in popular imagination as something of a pop cultural joke will absolve lingering differences.  Where MC Hammer a few years ago put in a couple of Superbowl ads where the joke was his presence, Vanilla Ice just did an advertisement where he “apologized” for his early 90s appearance on the pop cultural stage.  They have a similar sense of their whereabouts.  Just as similarly each of their “one hit”s (more or less) signature songs were riffed off from — a Rick James song and a Queen / David Bowie song.  Just as Vanilla Ice’s stage presence — glittery baggy pants and on — was modeled off of MC Hammer’s.  Ad Naseum.  They diverge only where Vanilla Ice successfully parlayed his fame and fortune through wise investments such that he’s set for life whereas Hammer went bankrupt.

The reaction in the blogosphere to the concert can be surmised with “WTF?”, and tittering at the state of Utah for allowing such a thing to be attended by a sell-out crowd.  “Utah — 2 decades behind the times!” was the common sentiment.  This is unfair to Utah, and I’d say to the two has-been rappers.  There is not a city in America where a concert with the two in a major venue would not sell out.  It’s a combination of kitsch value (in the middle of a modern day Vanilla Ice concert, he shouts out to the audience, “Everyone here Down With the Turtles?”, and goes into “The Turtle Rap” — a song played from the movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 at the end of the hey-day for both the Turtles and Vanilla Ice* — not something that would be taken seriously by hardcore hip-hoppers.), nostalgia (probably the first albums bought for a good deal of white suburbanites of, roughly my age.**)  Further, I suspect there wouldn’t be too many people would to away thinking they didn’t see a good show.

Though, I don’t think they could get away with more than one tour.  That would pushing it.

*TMNT co-creator Peter Laird would go on to cash in part of his proceeds from this time to finance the production of anti-capitalist manifestos.

** No, not me.  Definitely not me.  I remember in a CCD music session, one kid was rebellious enough to say to the chagrained Music Instructor (as we labored through learned to belt out bad church kids songs nobody would like) he’d rather sing [fill in blank of MC Hammer song nobody remembers.]  He thought he was so cool.

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