A little over a dozen years ago, a dozen million people purchased the first album by the high-cheekboned motocross racer born as Robbie Van Winkle. Mr. Ice Ice Baby was rightfully celebrated because he took a rough-hewn genre of urban mating songs known as “hip-hop,” made it palatable and digestible to countless real people instead of a handful of criminally inclined coconut-throwers, and exposed Middle America to the unbridled joy of what the kids call “street dancing.”
Yet like Icarus, our hero flew too close to the sun and his wax wings melted. He fluttered down to earth level, only to be picked apart and gnawed at by the same jealous poopstains who’d previously purchased his albums and shaved their eyebrows as homage. Mr. Van Winkle is left to sit in the wings as talentless wiggersicles such as Eminem temporarily convince America that they are something more than the modern version of blackface.
People always think I’m joking when I speak of my fondness for Ice’s music or when I express my belief that Cool as Ice is one of American cinema’s meisterwerks. Yet I am utterly sincere when I assert that he is a vessel of intergalactic higher learning, and that his cometlike spurt of stardom will one day be placed in its proper messianic context.