For those cynics who believed that Rob Van Winkle, the artist best known as Vanilla Ice, had dropped off of the musical radar, his show last week at New York's venerable punk mecca CBGB's must have been quite a surprise.The Iceman, whose 1990 release "To The Extreme" is still the top-selling rap album of all time, took the opportunity to unveil songs from his new metal-flavored album "Hard To Swallow," and with introduced what he likes to call "skate rock." "A lot of people don't even want to admit that I've had a big influence of today's generation," Ice said, "'cause a lot of people didn't want to admit that they bought Vanilla Ice records, you know. And we know the difference, we know what I did." "Groups like the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC and myself," he continued, "we put music, we put hip-hop music
in front of people's ears who never considered listening to it ... Like 10 years ago, you had the blacks listening to hip-hop, the whites listening to rock and roll. Now the whites and the blacks have all the influence, so that's why I got the new sound which is all of it kind of mixed together." [28.8 RealVideo]The sonic makeover comes after Ice spent years battling drug problems and what he calls a reputation as "a laughing stock." The new sound owes much to producer Ross Robinson who has worked with Korn and Limp Bizkit, and executives at Vanilla Ice's Republic Records told MTV News that they believe in the "John Travolta Theory" in resurrecting Ice's stalled career. Travolta's equally floundering reputation was revived by director Quentin Tarantino in "Pulp Fiction." Ice is slated to kick off a club tour on November 20 somewhere in south Florida.