Vanilla Ace has a friend in Vanilla Ice.
Vanilla Ace has a friend in Vanilla Ice.
Photo by Listen Up Music Promotion

Turns Out, Vanilla Ice Is Actually a Fan of Vanilla Ace

Kind of like when Clark Kent loses the glasses, dons his cape, and becomes Superman, Sam Young morphs into Vanilla Ace before our very eyes when he drops the needle on a 118-BPM house track with an Isaac Hayes sample. While Sam Young has played 30-plus open-format sets here in Miami at LIV, Mansion, and other Miami Beach bottle-service shrines, his house-music alter ego, Vanilla Ace, is making only his second visit.

“My dad played lots of old-school records in the house when I was young — Isaac Hayes, Marvin Gaye, and other old-school stuff,” says Ace.

Several of Ace’s tracks flashback to memories of yesteryear. On Friday night at the Basement, listen for hints of Isaac Hayes’ “The Look of Love,” Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing,” Janet Jackson’s “Let’s Wait Awhile,” and those listening closely will hear the theme song from the '80s TV show Knight Rider in his 2014 coproduction with Sharam Jey, “Flash Rider.”

“As a teenager, I was really into hip-hop and R&B. I went to every concert I could. I saw Biggie, R. Kelly, and I was there for a Jodeci show where ticketless fans kicked the doors in for a glimpse," Ace remembers. "To see the artists I liked from the U.S., I had to go to some rough venues in London.”

Like so many established DJ/producers, Ace’s musical hero is Boston DJ Armand Van Helden. You’ll hear some of that funky house sound Van Heldon is famous for on Friday as Ace visits Miami Beach's Basement. 

But for those not familiar with Ace who might be feeling a tinge of confusion, let's clear one thing up: Vanilla Ace is not a Vanilla Ice cover band. The similarities stop with the nine letters they share. New Times reached out to Rob Van Winkle (AKA Vanilla Ice), and it turns out Ice is a fan of Ace.

“He only changed one letter; it’s flattering," Van Winkle says. "I like his music. I love dance music in general. I’ve been to several raves, I’ve been to Ultra and Coachella, I had a weekend that lasted a few years, and I’m sober now, but I still love the music and the good vibes."

You might even catch Van Winkle in the crowd, getting down with the people. “I hope to be able to check out his set,” he told us. 

In an incredibly hilarious typo, Ace picked up 1,000 Facebook likes last year when Ice’s friend, Adam Sandler, accidentally tagged Ace for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge instead of Ice. Sandler and Ice appeared together in the 2012 film That’s My Boy and will be together again on camera for The Ridiculous Six, a film set for a December release. And Vanilla Ice will make his annual pilgrimage to Coconut Grove on November 7 for the Great Grove Bed Race to raise money for his favorite charity, Little Smiles. Perhaps Ace will join him and we can then claim responsibility for creating the world's newest pair of musical BFFs.

Vanilla Ace is fresh off three dates in Brazil, where he’s almost more famous than in his British homeland. After his stop here on Friday, he’s in Los Angeles on August 1, Denver that night on the same date, NYC on August 6, and Orlando on August 7.

But this Friday at Basement, expect Vanilla Ace (not Ice) to be on the tables, playing his baby-makin’, R&B-inspired house sounds. “This is what I’m most passionate about," he says. "This is what I’m making, and nothing’s better than playing music you have made."

Vanilla Ace. 10 p.m. Friday, July 31, at Basement, 2901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-641-7119; basementmiami.com. Admission is $20

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