Vanilla Ice has made a career out of being embarrassing in a wholly self-aware way. The rapper’s latest foray into cringe-inducing territory? Shucking and jiving for Kraft macaroni and cheese.
Ice lends his “Ninja Rap” to a new commercial for pasta shaped like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The song appeared on the soundtrack to 1991’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze,” and the branded mac likely coincides with a reboot of the live action film set to hit theaters later this year.
In the commercial, the rapper is working as a grocery store clerk (too easy). As he’s stocking shelves and rapping the tune, a smitten mom arrives and starts popping and locking. Ice jumps in on the awkward dancing as the woman's son looks on in pure horror.
The clip is hilarious, and embarrassing. But it got us thinking. Vanilla Ice isn’t the first emcee to drop their self-respect for a quick buck.
Endorsement deals are a necessary evil in the industry, and you can’t fault anyone for signing on the dotted line. A bag of cash and your face popping up in America’s living rooms every few hours? Sign us up.
But sometimes the self-promotion bleeds into absurdity. Here’s a few rap/brand pairings that are awesomely bad.
Vanilla Ice for Kraft macaroni and cheese. So bad, yet you won't be able to stop watching. Go Ninja, Go Ninja, GO!
Snoop Dogg for Hot Pockets. Snoop could literally sell us a glass of tap water. The man has an undeniable charm that he’s morphed into a formidable business savvy. Over the years he’s peddled Nike, Pepsi, Adidas, Orbit gum, Chrysler and even sang in German to pimp a foreign cellphone provider.
Nothing made us giggle more when he refashioned his 2004 smash “Drop It Like It’s Hot” for Hot Pockets. It’s bad enough the lyrics were altered, but an unbelievable music video features a swagged-out life-size version of the stuffed crust sandwiches flanked by bodacious dancers.
Master P for Snickers. The No Limit mogul allowed himself to be rebranded as"Master P-Nut" for a 2009 clip promoting the candy bar. The worst part wasn’t the cornball nickname, or the huge platinum chain with a “P” pendent he wears in the ad, it was the timing with the clip coming years after his relevancy had faded.
Romeo for ICDC College. Those Millers really keep it in the family. Just when you thought Master P was shameless, he teamed with his son to promote ICDC College. Listen, higher education is no laughing matter, but when a private for-profit school puts their ads in the Pennysaver and offers a “fast-track” diploma who can resist? Even worse, Romeo barely lasted at USC and, unless he has a degree none of us knows about, it’s silly to hear him promote degrees in homeland security, crime scene investigation and addiction counseling. ICDC alums will be proud to know their tuition is being put to good use. There are multiple advertisements, but the best one ends in a rap. Doesn’t take a degree to see this is all about the money. ICDC doesn't allow embedding (go figure) so watch the hilarity on YouTube.
Memphis Bleek for Garnier Fructis. It’s hard to be in Jay Z’s shadow, we get it. While your mentor gets the superstar wife and endorsement deals galore, you’re stuck peddling shampoo. For reasons that can only be credited to the almighty dollar, the Brooklyn emcee lent his voice to a ladies shampoo. Some terrible wannabe pop singer does a lot of the heavy lifting, but Bleek actually showed up to the crazy absurd music video to lend his guest verse. And he even coordinated his outfit to match the shampoo's green bottle.
Nelly for Honey Nut Cheerios. When Nelly isn’t continuing his bid for country-pop-rap dominance, the rapper aligned with the heart-healthy cereal. He thankfully kept his dignity for his appearance in one particularly cute clip. But you’ve more than likely seen the other ad featuring Buzz, the cereal's mascot, doing a dance routine to Nelly’s massive hit “Ride wit Me.” The irony? The rapper changed his lyric from “must be the money” to “must be the honey.” Yeah, sure.
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