10 More '90s Rap Oddities Worthy of the Texans' Halftime Show
Well, it's been three days now, and it hasn't all been revealed as just another elaborate Jimmy Kimmel Live! prank. It's true, then: apparently Vanilla Ice -- white rapper, DIY renovator and Ninja Turtle ally -- will be performing at halftime Sunday at the Texans' game against Tennessee at Reliant Stadium.
It's going to be... odd. Once reviled and lampooned as the clueless face of commercialized hip-hop whitewashing, Vanilla's legacy has come to be evaluated a tad more favorably by his post-gangsta peers in recent years. The Dallas native has won new admirers on reality shows, on the DIY Network and in Adam Sandler's low-brow chucklefest That's My Boy, apparently having grown comfortable enough in his own skin to fully embrace his strange place in pop culture. And now he's going to rap at the football game, y'all.
Here at Rocks Off, we're generally in favor of any musical performance that can ramp up an NFL game's surreality. But while Vanilla Ice is a terrific, mind-boggling choice to kick things off, there are plenty more rapping, one-hit weirdos from the '90s that could do just as well -- better, even! This could be the start of something big.
Because Bob McNair's a busy man (as far as anyone knows), I've pitched in to create this list for the Texans of ten more bitchin' has-beens to liven up the line for the bathroom. You're welcome, Uncle Bob... and word to your mother.
10. Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch I realize this one might be pretty tough to swing. Mark Wahlberg is probably off filming a movie or 60 and the Funky Bunch keeps extremely busy these days starring in their own reality show, A&E's Duck Dynasty. Halftime might feel like a bit of a step down.
Luckily, the Texans are rich. With "Good Vibrations" sounding pretty good in the trailer to that Joseph Gordon-Levitt movie a couple of your friends are thinking about maybe seeing, maybe Wahlberg will shrewdly decide that now's the time to take back his musical legacy and earn a fat payday. Might Bob McNair be willing to shell out to see the first all-female crowd in Reliant Stadium history?
9. Wreckx-n-Effect What white people now call "twerking" for whatever reason ain't exactly a new phenomenon. Back in '92, we were calling it "dancing" thanks to the mass cultural acceptance of Wreckx-n-Effect's "Rump Shaker," perhaps the most nonsensically suggestive rap song of its era.
"All I wanna do is zoom a zoom zoom zoom and a boom-boom." Still not entirely sure what that entails, but all the crotch-thrusting going on in the music video seemed to indicate that it was a sexually aggressive sentiment. All that mattered was that this song once gave license for young ladies to rump-shake with incredible abandon, and I bet it still does. Let's get the Wreckx back in effect and set Reliant jiggling.
8. Joey Lawrence What do you mean, you forgot that Blossom's Joey Lawrence rapped? He totally rapped. Dude perfomed on Arsenio, MTV's Spring Break, the whole nine. Was he good at it? Who remembers! What people remember about Joey Lawrence is that he was an awfully cute boy, and he didn't have a lot of shirts -- the Miley Cyrus of his day, basically. That was his job back then. Maybe he could use a job now.
We're going to need at least a solid minute of novelty out of this halftime show, though, so he's going to have to throw in his catchphrase. What was it again?
Oh yeah: Whoa. Heh! The '90s.
7. P.M. Dawn There were smoother rap groups than PM Dawn, and more gentle rap groups, I guess. But name any other hip-hoppers more blissed the fuck out than P.M. Dawn. It wasn't just their breezy, jazzy hit "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss," either. It was their whole cool, delighted countenance. Haven't heard from them since about '91, so I assume they simply achieved nirvana early on in life and drifted off into a different plane of existence.
If we can determine the right offering to lure them back for an afternoon, I think it could be a good thing for an NFL crowd to bliss the fuck out for three minutes in the middle of our violent spectacle. Just a quick, collective palate-cleanser of positive vibrations before we resume screaming for Jake Locker's scalp. P.M. Dawn still has so much to teach us.
6. Biz Markie There are few events that can't be measurably improved by a big group sing-along of Biz Markie's "Just a Friend." Preferably being led by Biz Markie himself. Once upon a time, that seemed an impossible occurrence at an NFL game, but now that Vanilla Ice has managed to shatter the very brick and mortar of reality, I'm starting to get a little pissed off that it hasn't already happened. At least let's have him beatbox the National Anthem.
Oh, we're just getting started.
5. Snow Of all the artists on this list, Snow -- the rastafied Canadian heir apparent to Vanilla Ice as the music industry's biggest, whitest joke -- might be the most difficult get. The "Informer" hitmaker probably doesn't have the greatest memories of Houston after that time he got chased across the U of H campus by a crowd of hecklers and punched in the face at a music festival.
I mean sure, that was fucking hysterical, but it was damn inhospitable. I think we'd all jump at the opportunity to show Snow that while Houston, Texas, did some shit in college that we're not proud of, we're all grown up and successful now. That chip on our shoulder is gone. We're ready to give him a chance at last. Call him up.
But tell him if he sucks, he can expect another licky-boom-boom beatdown. H-Town!
4. Arrested Development Long before Bluth Frozen Bananas were a thing, Arrested Development seemed to be the antidote to gangsta rap. The group's thoughtful, poetic raps on 1992's 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of... offered an introspective portrait of the African-American experience in the early '90s, but despite making their mark on hip-hop history with the sublime "Tennessee," the group collapsed and disappeared soon after.
A little e-search reveals that they've been back together and active since 2000. Given the title of their hit, maybe the Titans game wouldn't be the best choice for AD, but out of all the novelty acts on this list, they've got the most impressive musical pedigree. I don't think they've got any songs called "Jacksonville," so we should have a spot for 'em.
3rd Bass Bob McNair has long been known for his egalitarian ideals, so he'll probably want to give equal time to Vanilla Ice's detractors in the interests of fairness. At the height of Ice's fame, there were no bigger detractors than 3rd Bass, the racially integrated rap group who savaged Vanilla literally and figuratively in the video for their hit, "Pop Goes the Weasel." Apparently, MC Serch and Prime Minister Pete Nice didn't appreciate the Iceman making it impossible for white rappers to be taken seriously for a generation.
Why 3rd Bass thought they had any cred to begin with is a question that's never been sufficiently answered. "Pop" was a fun song and everything, but the real draw to this halftime show would undoubtedly be Serch's ill-advised dancing. Back in the day, he had a few moves... kind of like a white M.C. Hammer. A white, fat, possibly learning-disabled M.C. Hammer who couldn't dance worth shit.
2. 95 South Originally, I'd planned for this list to include Tag Team, the Miami bass duo responsible for the all-time great jock jam "Whoomp (There it Is)," but I'm pretty sure I remember them playing halftime at a Rockets game a few years back. The Texans are leaders, not followers. Which is why they should instead invite 95 South, the Miami bass duo that released the incendiary "Woot, There it Is" a full month before Tag Team arrived.
Besides: I always thought "Woot" was the better song -- probably because I first heard it while riding the Gravitron at the county fair (hell yes, I went upside down). America disagreed, sending "Whoomp" to No. 2 on the Billboard charts while "Woot" only managed to reach No. 11. That's never sat well with me, and it shouldn't with you, either. Let's get these guys back onstage at Reliant and start righting a few of the wrongs in early-'90s rap.
One more, y'all. Who will it be?
1. Sir Mix-a-Lot In the annals of novelty rap, one track stands above all the rest: "Baby Got Back," Sir Mix-a-Lot's venerable tribute to asses so astonishing that even white boys got to shout. It's so good that nobody could possibly hate it, except for maybe karaoke DJs.
The point is, if we really want to see how hard the ladies of Reliant Stadium can shake it fast after an entire day's worth of tailgating, there's only one man for the job. Can we get him on the phone? Unless it's changed, I believe his number is 1-800-MIX-ALOT.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Top 10 Bars, Clubs & Ice Houses In Upper Kirby 10 Totally Played Out Wedding Songs That Will Still Pack the Dance Floor at Your Reception Today's Musicians Have All Lost Their Damn Minds Top 10 Downtown Bars, Clubs & Ice Houses
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.