Hi Rob [aka Vanilla]. So your Barasti gig nearly didn’t happen: how did you feel when it was postponed?
I felt disappointed. But it’s great that I got to stay and it all worked out. It’s good when you have a couple of hurdles to jump over – it makes you feel better about it in the end.
You’re very famous for your 1989 hit ‘Ice, Ice Baby’. Sum up the years in between.
Oh my God! You want a quick story? Well, I had a weekend that lasted a few years; what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. We are who we are because of who we were. It’s all in how you look at it and I look at it in a positive way. It’s been a hell of an experience and I’m still making more chapters.
Do you ever think Eminem stole your career?
He didn’t steal my career. He would have to sell about 50 billion more records to even catch me [laughs]. But this isn’t a competition. He’s a good rapper, but I’ve had a lot more success lately. I’ve currently got the number one album in the UK [erm, not when we checked]. My last three records all went multi-platinum. I have two successful TV shows in the States. There’s no competition to this, it’s music. I like him as a rapper but I don’t like anyone who disrespects their mother in public. No matter what your mother did. To me that just doesn’t get any respect.
So would you say this is your killer comeback?
I don’t look at it like that. I fish. I throw fishing hooks in the water and I put bait on them and you never know how big the fish that’s going to bite it will be. I’ve made great investments. I don’t have an ego; I enjoy life. I’m happy to be playing in Dubai. It’s another experience that I’m grateful for.
We hear you’re going to be in Men’s Fitness. How does it feel to be a fitness guru?
I guess it’s cool. I’ve stayed in shape throughout the years. I’m vegetarian. I believe in good health. I’m clean; I’m sober. I try to stay as healthy as I can possibly be. It’s cool. I never planned on being into fitness, but if you look into the way everything has panned out, it fits.
How many tattoos do you have now?
One really big one. All over, I’m covered. I don’t have any favourites – they’re all just decoration.
Who would win in a fight between you and MC Hammer?
A fight? I’m not going to answer a question like that: it’s retarded. I’d never fight him. He’s a friend of mine. I like corny questions and it would be funny to answer it, but I’m not going to go there.
Okay… so what can people expect from your Barasti gig?
I’m going to play a lot of my new music. I have a new record coming out, WTF. You can download some of it for free fromvanillaice.com. I’ve made good investments. I didn’t end up like MC Hammer so I’m giving it away for free. I’m going to take it back to the old school as well.
Anything else you really want to do while you’re in Dubai?
I rode quads in the desert. I went skydiving on that thing that shoots you up in the air in the mall, I did indoor skiing, strolled along the beach, swam and enjoyed myself. It really is fantasy island over here.
To see the complete video version of this interview, head to www.timeoutdubai.com.