Vanilla Ice is back, this time as a house-flipping real estate expert


Once upon a time, candy rapper Vanilla Ice was known to rock a house or two - or at least the recreation-center 13th birthday parties of herbs who didn't know any better. Today, Vanilla Ice would like to teach you, real-estate newbie, how to cold rock a couple houses, or maybe a fuck-load of houses, like he can because you aren't him: yes Virginia, Vanilla Ice has started a real estate website

Therein we learn that Robert Van Winkle isn't as stupid as he looks; the Iceman lucked into a fly-by-night rap career, cultural-punchline status, and a truckload of greenbacks, but he was smart about everything. Pull quote: "I bought properties all across the country and resold them for millions in profits. It was some of the easiest money I ever made." Set that to a boom-bap beat and you've got a rap hit Kevin Federline could get down to while goofing on The Vanilla Ice Project. Bemused - and somehow heretofore totally oblivious to the fact that Vanilla Ice is the new Holmes On Homes, or some shit - Gimme Noise started doing some digging to find how other former charting or underground pop stars spend their time these days. The answers may surprise you.

Skee-Lo, Evangelist for Hydroponic Flower Cultivation in Third-World Nations

Most remember Skee-Lo as the man behind the mid-90s novelty rap smash "I Wish (I Was A Little Bit Taller)," where he was sonned in basketball by anonymous giants, but today Antoine X spends much of his time crisscrossing sub-Saharan Africa, preaching the gospel of hydroponic flower cultivation when he isn't hammering posts, digging trenches for pipes, or vetting insecticide vendors. "Africa's my spiritual home, man - people are starving, AIDS running rampant, a whole series of human-rights atrocities happening everyday," he told Rolling Stone late last year. "It's not a pretty picture, which is why my investors and I knew that if people there could grow and sell bouyant, festive flower bouquets, it would be enough to life everyone up, bring some happiness and prosperity into their lives. I mean, they're all still really hungry, but someone else will have to solve that riddle."

Andy Ramsay, Chewing-Gum Blogger


Anybody who's ever attended a Stereolab concert knows that drummer Andy Ramsay loves gum. As it happens, he's something of a gum connoisseur who makes a point of sampling new flavors and brands wherever his travels lead him, but chewing gum only: Ramsay's disdain for the likes of Bubble-Yum and Bubble Tape is legendary among the dozens of readers who frequent his chewing-gum blog. Topics include the meditative properties of metronomic chewing, a Juicy Fruit photo essay, and an over-comprehensive oral history of chewing gum in the French punk underground scene, circa 1978. Ramsay recently inked deals to expand his admittedly esoteric pursuit into a major-motion picture starring James Franco.

Glenn Branca, Air Conditioner Unrepairman

When a friend asked Glenn Branca to repair her air conditioner, the avant-garde composer was skeptical. "I didn't know jack about fixing air conditioners," he admitted to Wire. "Mostly I was scared I'd electrify myself." Which he did. But a funny thing happened on the way to the emergency room: Branca accidentally discovered that he had a knack for making malfunctioning air conditioners louder and less efficient than ever, screaming, vibrating window boxes capable of clearing a room in ten seconds flat, unless everybody in that room was willing to sweat like a leaky mattress. Because the friend was something of an eccentric, and because this happened in an especially artistic section New York City, air conditioning unrepair became all the rage, and Branca found his questionable handyman's abilities in high demand. 

Recreational AC noise-offs became popular and, frankly, insufferable after a Village Voice article hipped squares to the trend. Lou Reed and Brian Eno stationed themselves on opposite ends of a Lower East Side avenue and remixed the chaos using DJ rigs built specifically for the occasion by Deadmau5; the two mixes were subsequently remixed into an gnarly yet totally unlistenable 7 inch that was distributed free with copies of Arthur. But all trends pass, and before long, the same trust-fund babies who'd spent months sweltering in rent-controlled hotbox in the name of noise had traded up, to those silent Dyson jobbies that don't even blow, and Branca was left to his own devices, as before, left shaking his head at the inanity, the sheer folly of it all.