"What If Jurassic World Was Good"
"Keeper of Stories, King of Tales"
"Train: History's Greatest Villains?"
"How to be Krishna 1"
"How to be Krishna 2"
"How to be Krishna 3"
"How to be Krishna 4"
"I Hate The Disney Vault"
"Amazon Is Crazy"
Keeper of Stories, King of Tales
Something's been bothering me for a bit, going back to when I rained down the hate on Train. Sure, we can all agree that Train is awful. Sure, we can treat them as a cautionary tale. But how can I leave that as a stopping point? Didn't I now have a responsibility to highlight excellence, if for no other reason than to lend hope to you, the reader, falling at my feet for guidance through this dour and unpleasant world?
Probably not. But luckily, it's an easy enough to do. I didn't have to think too long or look too far. It has long troubled me that for a brief time we were, as a culture, blessed with a true master of the narrative, a modern-day loremaster, but as is so often the tragedy of greatness, he was turned against, reviled, and made into an object of mockery.
I am, of course, speaking of Vanilla Ice.
We'll start with his seminal work, "Ice Ice Baby". There are two distinct threads, masterfully intertwined. The first is an introduction and establishment of his credentials. Young Master Ice respectfully addresses his audience (referring to us as "VIP" and inviting us to "kick it"), begs our attention and provides an appellation used by his familiars - "Ice". Thus we are put into a receptive mood. We are ready to learn of Ice's finer qualities:
Something grabs a hold of me tightly
He uses a term of art - "flow" - but both his sweet rhymes and a further clarification that he "rock[s] a mic like a vandal" establish his meaning. The figurative language about glowing and lighting up stage are illuminated (hah!) by the video (you'll remember that this was a major source of frustration from Train). He speaks not of bioluminescent, but rather of his prodigious skills on the dance floor that have brought him into the light of the popular consciousness from his previous obscurity.
Thus introduced, he shares the ethos that forms the core of the song:
If there was a problem yo I'll solve it
A lesser loresmith may have skipped all this perfunctory material. But Ice knows better.
Now, to use Ice's own words, that the party is jumping, he can pick up the second thread: an account of a harrowing day spent driving the streets of Miami. Ice and his compatriot, upon encountering some violent crack users, manages bring them to the attention of the authorities, while avoiding any unwelcome attention himself.
Rollin' in my 5.0
Given my previous issues with Train, you might expect that this whole dramatic episode plays out on the screen, that's not the case. While the set-up is depicted, for the most part, Ice's rich verbal tapestry is more vivid than whatever they could get an actor to perform. Train was spouting gobble-de-gook that could only be rescued by a visual, while Ice's tight narrative could only be hampered. Instead, we are treated to Ice and his friends dancing in both informal settings and in more formal environs requiring a uniform. Notice how Ice and his friends all wear the same shirt, vest, and pants? Young Master Ice isn't done with us yet.
Let us jump ahead to yet another masterwork, "Ninja Rap". At the very outset, we are greeted with an image that tells us much about how the world has changed for Ice. While his former peers wear their older familiar uniforms, Ice has risen in the world - he is separated from the group not by distance, but by a blazer. This shift is also represented lyrically. Gone are the days of "Shay with the gauge and Vanilla with the nine" - as much as he may wish to solve this problem on his own, he is now constrained by his newfound responsibilities. While the Ninja Turtles deal with the mutant menaces terrorizing the club, Vanilla can only lend support from his "flexible mic grip".
Lyrics, fill in the gap
While a lesser man might put on a front of machismo and bristle at being left away from the fray, Ice recognizes the need to keep the crowd calm, and throws himself fully into his dancing.
A multi-layered audio-visual epic? Bravo, Sir Ice. Bravo.
Images ©EMI, I think?