Vanilla Ice - _Hard to Swallow_
(Republic, 1998)
by: Brian Meloon (5 out of 10)
Vanilla Ice is back. You might wonder what a rapper is doing in the pages of CoC. Well, his new album is very different from his previous efforts. And you know what's really hard to swallow about this album? It isn't terrible. On the surface, this album comes across as a more rap-influenced version of Korn. The Korn-isms are rampant, from the low-tuned guitars to the rip-off riffs and the use of acronyms in song titles; he even screams "Korn" in one song. Upon deeper inspection, you realize that this album actually features a good variety of styles. Although he shows his influences quite clearly, there is enough original material for him to avoid being labeled as a complete rip-off. He uses some reggae in one song, as well as some pseudo-industrial and some gloomy "introspective" parts. His vocals span the range of shouts, screams, spoken parts and, of course, raps. His raps are as bad as you remember them: so bad that they're pretty funny at times. Of course, in keeping with the self-aggrandizing hyper-machismo of rap, he usually raps about how cool he is and how many records he sold. He also includes the soon-to-be-classic line "ICE ICE BABY! ICE ICE BE-AHHHHHHHHHHHH-CH!" Fans of Korn, Stuck Mojo, and other rap-influenced metal/hardcore bands should enjoy this, provided they can put aside their preconceived notions and do as Mr. Ice says: "sit back and just listen to the music."

(article published 19/11/1998)

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