The rapper gives Benita Adesuyan the lowdown on his extensive car collection, TV shows, hip-hop today and what to expect when he plays N’Dulge on NYE.
We understand you’re doing a lot more TV these days – how does that compare to music?
They’re both entertainment but I don’t look at them in the same way. Music is my passion. I have an interest in construction and design but they’re two different things, so they’re incomparable. Music’s what led to all of this [success].
Are you still writing songs?
I’ll always be writing songs and music until the game’s over because that’s what it’s all about for me. My [TV] show The Vanilla Ice Project has taken off, though – it’s the number one show on the network and it takes about eight months out of the year to film. Then I have another show [Vanilla Ice Goes Amish] which is breaking records. So with two shows and another one in the works I have ten months a year filming and it puts music on the back burner. But in my free time – at nights, on aeroplanes, anywhere – I’m always writing songs.
What is the coolest thing you’ve ever bought?
Right now? I’m more busy today than I’ve ever been. I buy all kinds of things. I like to save my money. My records still sell – last year we sold three million records and to this date I’ve sold 160 million records. I bought back my publishing rights and I put my money into real estate. I’m not a big spender but I do quite like cars. I’ve got a large collection – old ones, new ones. I’ve got a few Rolls Royces, some Ferraris, American pick-ups, but my favourites are old Cadillacs. I have a 1964 Cadillac out of the movie 48 Hours, where Nick Nolte punches Eddie Murphy in the face. I have the actual car.
How does old school hip-hop compare to today’s auto-tuned hits?
To me it’s just an evolution. There’s still great music out there today. There were a lot of cutting edge artists back in the day. The difference is that [old-school hip-hop] had a much bigger impact on the world because it was new and it was when CDs came out. Everybody was dancing and everyone loved the colours, the hightops [trainers], Cavaricci jeans and Gucci shirts – I’m going back but it was a lot of fun. Hip-hop owned the ’90s and ’80s – I don’t think it owns it [music] today. There’s house, dubstep, party music – everything’s saturated now.
What are you planning for your New Year’s Eve set?
I bring the excitement. I’m bringing my DJ and we’re going to bring it back to the old-school [hip-hop], have pyro [technics] on stage and we have fire. I’m going to play ‘Ice Ice Baby’ and ‘Funky Baby’ and I’m definitely going to play ‘The Ninja Rap’ which is huge today. People show up as [Teenage Mutant] Ninja Turtles at my concerts – it’s really amazing. There’ll be break dancers and great music, too.
Vanilla Ice appears at N’Dulge, Atlantis, The Palm on December 31. Dhs300 (including a drink). www.timeoutickets.com.