Dallas, Texas native Robert Van Winkle, better known professionally as Vanilla Ice, began his hip hop career as a teenager. After he broke his ankle in a motocross race, he began dancing and learning how to beatbox and breakdance, using these skills to perform at open mic nights at local clubs. It was during one of these performances that he caught a club manager’s eye, who asked Vanilla Ice to become a regular performer. During his stints in the club, he had the opportunity to open for such notable acts as N.W.A., Public Enemy, and Tone Loc.
By 1989, he was recording for Ichiban Records and released his first debut album, entitled Hooked. The album sold well in the South with more than 48,000 copies making their way into the hands of his burgeoning fan base. His single “Ice Ice Baby” quickly became a worldwide hit. After signing with SBK Records in 1990, his first album was re-released under the new name To the Extreme. Vanilla Ice quickly found himself propelled to global fame and was soon hailed as a hip hop leader with his unique dance moves and style.
At the height of his fame in 1990, he began a relationship with fellow performer Madonna and starred in the movie Cool as Ice. His performance was largely panned by critics. Nonetheless, he managed to accrue a Vanilla Ice net worth of $18 million, a figure that still stands as his net worth today. His time in the hip hop limelight was arguably short-lived, as he quickly declined in fame as fast as he rose to it. However, he continues to be active in show business today, starring in TV shows and also recording his own music. He is married and has two daughters. He is also a practicing vegan.
How Much Is Vanilla Ice Worth Now?
Despite a Vanilla Ice net worth of $18 million, he acknowledges that he made a mistake by signing with SBK Records and giving in to the label’s insistence that he repackage himself into something he internally is not. He stated in interviews that the label pushed him to transform his image so that he would appeal to a broader audience. He also states that this demand played a part into his subsequent decline in popularity as a performer.
His decline also played a role in his turbulent lifestyle during the 1990s. He was unable to manage a successful comeback during this decade. The music he released did not sell well or receive a lot of airtime play. He also faced legal troubles for drugs and assault charges. Through it all, however, he still had a loyal underground fan base, encouragement that kept him recording new music and attempting to come back from his former glory.
Today, it would appear that Vanilla Ice has made that comeback more successfully than his critics and fans alike could have predicted. He is now widely regarded as an industry leader and someone to be respected, if not mimicked as new stars try to launch their own careers. Now signed to Psychopathic Records, he most recently released his sixth studio album, a creation entitled WTF. He acknowledges his new musical style as more club house and techno than traditional rap or hip hop. He credits his new musical influence to his extensive residency in Europe. His net worth is also comprised in part from his continued acting endeavors. He has starred in 2011’s That’s My Boy alongside actor Adam Sandler. He also had ventured into stage acting, playing Captain Hook in the play Peter Pan. The play was staged in the U.K. and received high marks from reviewers.