Midway through Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – which hits theaters today – everyone’s favorite ‘90s rap hit “Ice Ice Baby” is briefly heard playing on a bar’s jukebox. It’s a cheeky nod to Vanilla Ice, whose history with the pizza-loving Turtles dates back 25 years – and whose friendship remains as strong as ever. Herewith, a brief history of their hip-hop bond.
Ice’s most famous contribution to the TMNT legend is “Ninja Rap,” his Turtles-themed single from 1991’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. Ice not only recorded this memorable soundtrack cut, but he performed it in the film itself – thus solidifying the artist’s hardcore street cred (or, um, not).
Ice (real name: Rob Van Winkle) and the Ninja Turtles wouldn’t be seen together again for another 20 years. However, on the occasion of the 2014 reboot’s release, the musician resurrected “Ninja Rap” for a, ahem, cheesy commercial:
Later that year, Ice made some noise by decrying “Shell Shocked,” the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song by Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J, and Ty Dolla $ign, telling GQ:
“With respect to all of the artists, the song doesn’t really do it for me. It feels a little artificial—what I mean by that is that it sounds like a bunch of executives in the corporate world put it together. It really does not fit the theme of the Ninja Turtles legend. I think you have to understand, and be a true Ninja, to possess the Magic to really pull off the secret sound.”
Despite Ice’s distaste for “Shell Shocked,” TMNT star Megan Fox confessed to Rotten Tomatoes that she missed — and campaigned for — the rapper’s presence in the franchise reboot, dubbing him “a king. My hero”:
Fox’s dream of an Ice-Turtles reunion finally came true last month, when Ice showed up at the Out of the Shadows premiere at NYC’s Madison Square Garden to perform a brand-new version of “Ninja Rap” alongside the original films’ latex-suited Turtles. As he says, Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, and Leonardo really are his “crew.”
We eagerly await Ice’s co-starring role as the fifth Turtle in any forthcoming sequels.