Robert Matthew Van Winkle was born in Dallas, Texas, on October 31, 1967. Van Winkle has never known his biological father; he was given the family name of the man his mother was married to at the time of his birth. When Van Winkle was four, his mother divorced. Afterward, he grew up moving between Dallas and Miami, where his new stepfather worked at a car dealership. Van Winkle was affected by hip hop at an early age, saying "It's a very big passion of mine because I love poetry. I was just heavily influenced by that whole movement and it's molded me into who I am today. " Between the ages of 13 and 14, Van Winkle practiced breakdancing, which led to his friends nicknaming him "Vanilla", as he was the only one in the group who was not black. Although he disliked the nickname, it stuck. Shortly afterward, Van Winkle started battle rapping at parties and because of his rhymes, his friends started calling him "MC Vanilla". However, when he became a member of a breakdance troupe, Van Winkle's stage name was "Vanilla Ice" combining his nickname "Vanilla" with one of his breakdance moves, "The Ice". When Ice's stepfather was offered a better job in Carrollton, Texas, he moved back to Texas with his mother. When Ice was not learning to ride motorbikes, he was dancing as a street performer with his breakdancing group, now called The Vanilla Ice Posse. Ice wrote "Ice Ice Baby" at the age of 16, basing its lyrics on a weekend he had with friend and disc jockey D-Shay in South Florida. The lyrics describe Ice and Shay on a drug run that ends in a drive-by shooting while praising Ice's rhyming skills.
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