October 15, 2010 / 2:08 AM / 9 years ago

Vanilla Ice brings house-flipping skills to TV

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Vanilla Ice was to make his reality TV debut Thursday night with a series showcasing the rapper’s home renovation methods.

Premiering in primetime on DIY Network, “The Vanilla Ice Project” is a 10-episode half-hour show focusing on the “Ice Ice Baby” star’s attempt to overhaul a 7,000-square-foot home in Palm Beach, Florida. The show offers a different side of Vanilla Ice (real name: Robert Van Winkle) that he’s excited to reveal.

“I think it’s cool. There’s no shame in my game,” he told Billboard.com. “I’m an entertainer, and whether it’s flipping houses or making music, I cater to the people who care about what I’m doing out there.”

According to Vanilla Ice, the show quickly came together after executives at DIY Network discovered his passion for real estate and self-taught home improvement skills. The rapper had recently purchased the Palm Beach mansion after its previous owner “lost a lot of money in it and basically gutted the entire house ... every cabinet was gone, every toilet was gone, even the door frames were gone. (We thought) it worked well for television, so we filmed a little pilot, sent it to DIY and they were all over it.”

With a concept that combines “This Old House” with “Pimp My Ride,” “The Vanilla Ice Project” finds Vanilla Ice and his crew fitting the home with flashy features such as electric drapes, 110-inch projector screens and “fire pods.” “The before and after shots are going to be amazing,” said the rapper, who spent four and a half months filming.

The venture into television has not slowed down Vanilla Ice’s musical output, however. Later this year, he plans to independently release “WTF,” a new album whose title was inspired by its musical diversity.

“It’s got a lot of hip-hop on it, but it’s all over the map,” he said. “There’s some techno on it. It’s got a country song that I’ve done with Cowboy Troy. I’ve even got some acoustic, a cappella stuff on there. There’s no explicit lyrics on this one, which is good.”

With a new show and album, Vanilla Ice said that people are paying attention to his story in a way that’s reminiscent of when “Ice Ice Baby” made him a star 20 years ago.

“I think people are embracing the whole underdog thing — it’s kind of the American way,” he said. “I think it’s my time right now. I had a nice wave that was big back in the day, and I caught another wave today and am just enjoying the ride.”

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