Vanilla Ice Prepares for the Big Screen: Oct. 8 in Hip-Hop History
On this day in hip-hop and R&B history, uber-producer Teddy Riley was born, Prince released the best album of his early career, Vanilla Ice geared up for his big screen debut and Destiny’s Child released an emotional classic.
1980: Prince reveals his Dirty Mind
One year after his self-titled sophomore album earned him a place on Dick Clark’s wholesome TV show American Bandstand, Prince dropped a filthy collection of bare-bones funk-pop that earned him the best reviews of his career to date. Dirty Mind marked the first time that Prince completely transformed his sound and style, something that he would do again and again throughout his career to great effect.
Dirty Mind's taboo-busting tracks like “Do It All Night”, "Head" and "Sister" put Prince on the path to the controversy that would surround the release of "Darling Nikki" four years later. (It’s no coincidence that Dirty Mind’s follow-up is titled Controversy.) Dirty Mind also included one of the purest pop tracks of Prince’s career, "When You Were Mine," which would go onto be a hit for Cyndi Lauper. (Prince himself never released it as a single.)
With a band featuring three future members of the Revolution, Prince hit the road to tour Dirty Mind, building his reputation as a phenomenal live performer and growing his fanbase in areas of the U.S. he had never before explored.
1991: Vanilla Ice’s Cool as Ice soundtrack drops
After the massive success Vanilla Ice had in 1990 -- his single “Ice Ice Baby” was the first rap No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and italbum, To the Extreme, topped the Billboard Top 200 for 16 weeks -- it made perfect sense, by Hollywood logic, that Vanilla Ice could carry a motion picture. The moviegoing public, however, disagreed.
Vanilla Ice's debut movie, titled Cool as Ice, tells the story of Johnny Van Owen, a freewheeling, yellow motorcycle-riding, sunglasses-wearing rapper. It was a total box office bomb, and it retains a lowly 8 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Cool as Ice was released on Oct. 18, but the soundtrack dropped 10 days earlier. A compilation of music from the film, the Cool as Ice soundtrack has four tracks credited to Vanilla himself, with the others coming from a host of artists including jazz bass legend Stanley Clarke. At the time of writing, the soundtrack is currently unavailable on most streaming services.
2001: Destiny’s Child release “Emotion”
Between 2000 and 2001 all of Destiny's Child's singles hit the Billboard top three. “Emotion” ended that streak, even if it did reach a very respectable No. 10. It was also their first single since 1999 not to achieve platinum certification. The track was a cover of a song released by Samantha Sang in 1978, when it did reach No. 3 on the Hot 100. Though it was recorded by Sang, “Emotion” was written by Barry and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, and Barry contributes his signature harmony vocals on her recording.
None of this makes “Emotion” any less significant. It’s a different kind of song than “Independent Women," “Bootylicious," et al. The somber ballad, laced with lush vocal harmonies and a gentle acoustic guitar was performed by the group at the 2001 Soul Train Awards as a tribute to Aaliyah, who passed away earlier that year.
1967: New jack swing pioneer Teddy Riley is born
Born on Oct. 8, 1967, Teddy Riley displayed musical gifts from a young age, producing rapper Kool Moe Dee’s “Go See the Doctor” and Doug E. Fresh’s “The Show” while still a minor. Over time he crafted his trademark blend of hip-hop beats, R&B melodies and gospel harmonies that would go on to rule the airwaves for more than a decade.
He then spent the previous few years as a member of the group Guy, defining what would come to be known as “new jack swing”—so much so that he is often credited with inventing the genre himself. That led to co-writing and co-producing half of Michael Jackson's Dangerous, including the major hit “Remember the Time."
Riley also scored a string of hits with his new group, Blackstreet, and discovered another pair of major producers, the Neptunes. In 2018, Teddy Riley was praised as a hero, and prominently thanked during an Album of the Year Grammy acceptance speech by Bruno Mars, who was also born Oct. 8.