In a 1996 ABC News interview, Vanilla Ice claimed he was intimidated by Suge Knight into signing over points to his hit single “Ice Ice Baby” to the Death Row Records co-founder and a man named Mario Johnson.
“That is the guy that Suge brought over there that was an acquaintance of mine that had nothing to do with that song,” Vanilla Ice vehemently said of Johnson. Ice eventually dispelled the story that Suge and his crew hung him over the balcony of a Beverly Hills hotel in order for him to give them the money they felt they deserved. “That’s a lie,” he clarified. “I read the story, and I heard it, and I had to defend it nine million times, but he never took me to the balcony, threatened to hang me over, or anything.”
As for Johnson, he recently spoke with The Art of Dialogue about their dispute and explained that their differences never stemmed from “Ice Ice Baby,” but rather an entirely different issue.
Johnson alleges he first met Vanilla Ice in a Texas nightclub owned by his manager. Despite being a California native, Johnson says they happened to meet because it was at a time when he was helping out his father with the family business.
The conversation switches over to fact-checking statements Vanilla Ice has made in the past, such as writing “Ice Ice Baby” at the age of 16 and being from the hood. Johnson sums it up by calling Vanilla Ice a liar. “I’m just gonna keep it 100, he lies so much that he be believing them lies. I’m telling you facts,” he said. “He lies so much, he’s a liar, bro.”
Johnson says the issue between them never had anything to do with getting paid for “Ice Ice Baby.” It presumably had to do with the 1990 album To The Extreme, which featured the smash single, because as Johnson tells it, he was paid to write five songs for Vanilla Ice’s album. He came to him with nine songs to choose from, but Ice allegedly ended up taking all nine and crediting himself as the sole writer.
Check out the interview in its entirety up top.