Vanilla Ice


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Bipolar is the new album from critical whipping boy Vanilla Ice. Split into two sides, one filled with his rap-metal noodling and the other with his hip-hop, the album is wildly uneven and at times hilariously bad. It is easy to be needlessly cruel to Vanilla Ice -- his rapid rise and fall is one of music's biggest jokes. But his reputation is not improved by the music he continues to release. Much like his Hard to Swallow album from 1998, the heavy metal half of the album is not only derivative of bigger acts like Korn and Deftones, but terribly generic. He tries to mix things up with a Godsmack-style delivery on songs like "Mudd Munster," but it comes off more as an imitation than a change of style. The rap side of his album is a complete switch after the numbing metal that litters the first half. The beats are surprisingly solid, inspired by both RZA and Dr. Dre. Unfortunately, the raps themselves are both boring and simplistic. And out of nowhere, Chuck D suddenly appears and makes a guest appearance on "Elvis Killed Kennedy," instantly making it not only the best song on the album, but a sadly rare example of the talent that the former Public Enemy frontman still has. And then there are a series of answering-machine messages from wrestlers, friends, and even Vanilla Ice himself quoting Cape Fear. The message from former producer Ross Robinson is a good example of the needless filler that clogs up this album. A lot of people familiar with rap-metal know who Robinson is, but honestly does anyone care what he has to say about dirt biking on Vanilla Ice's answering machine? Vanilla Ice tries really hard to make quality music, but he seems far more concerned with the genre he's assimilating than the actual music, leaving listeners with an empty album that only the most curious listener should dare to listen to.

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