“Hey, it’s Rob Van Winkle.”
You probably know him by a different name. The artist formerly known as Vanilla Ice has come a long way from Guess jeans and pompadours. Now going by his birth name, Rob, Van Winkle has spent the past two decades tearing up carpet, knocking down walls, and turning eyesores into million-dollar homes. It even landed him a TV gig: Van Winkle is three seasons deep as the host of The Vanilla Ice Project on The DIY Network.
For a man who spent 16 weeks atop the Billboard 200 before his first (legal) sip of alcohol, he doesn’t do a lot of looking back. He lives by a simple code: “Yesterday’s history, tomorrow’s a mystery.” But it doesn’t mean he’s forgotten where he came from:
GQ: Any regrets? Are there things you wore that still make you look back and shake your head?
Rob Van Winkle: Hell yeah! Lots of it! I was a kid selling a million records a day. The thing was so big, it overpowered me and any direction I had. They hired wardrobe people who would just show up and say, you’re wearing this today, you’re wearing this tonight, tomorrow you’re talking to Barbara Walters, so you’ve gotta wear this… and I’m thinking, “Well, I’m with a big record company, they know what they’re doing, why would I question them?” Shit. I look back and it’s just, “What the hell was I thinking?” [Pauses] I remember wearing Z. Cavaricci pants…
GQ: With the waistband and the stripes?
Rob Van Winkle: Yeah! And the stuff I didn’t like is all back. Full-circle. I go into Foot Locker and see high-tops in pink and neon.
GQ: Which brings me to my next question. We see what you wore then, and now we see guys like A$AP Rocky and 2 Chainz in some of the same stuff. Are you hip-hop’s secret style icon?
Rob Van Winkle: [Laughs] I love it. My daughter likes One Direction, and she shows me pictures of this guy, Zayn.
GQ: Zayn Malik.
Rob Van Winkle: Yeah! She thought it was me! He had that blonde streak in the middle, the pompadour, everything.
GQ: Are you a One Direction fan?
Rob Van Winkle: Oh, hell yes. No shame in my game.
Justin Drew Bieber is a pot smoker. It’s official. The innocence of the Canadian disappeared the second the photographs of Bieber smoking what is 100 percent a blunt were posted to TMZ. And while most of the press is up in arms about Bieber’s herbal appreciation, there is no reason to be upset. These kinds of things happen. Teenagers—when they’re not busy being the worst people ever—smoke pot, even multi-millionaire ones with fantastic hair.
Now that Bieber is a known toker, there really is only one thing left to contemplate: Just what kind of pot smoker is he?
If our recent 3,500-word profile of Justin Bieber wasn’t enough for you, good news! There’s plenty of material that didn’t make the final cut, so we’ve collected it all here.
At one point, Bieber told me that the massive gold chain he was wearing was a gift from Usher. (Apparently Usher, along with Scooter Braun, also gave Bieber a Fisker Karma, because Usher likes wasting money.) Anyway, I put that tidbit in an early draft of the article, but then Bieber’s PR lady complained. I am amazed we live in a world where shit like this matters to people. NO! WE CAN’T LET THEM KNOW THE SOURCE OF THE GOLD CHAIN! USHER’S ENTIRE GIFT-GIVING OPERATION DEPENDS ON IT!
We sent the perfect guy for the job: GQ contributor and Deadspin columnist Drew Magary. Justin Bieber had just turned 18 years old, and we thought it was high time someone put him through some rites of passage. We tried everything. Little did Drew know, we effectively sent him on a mission doomed from the start. Click here for the full story.
On Tuesday, I was told that I could meet Bieber at his recording studio and then we’d hash out whatever manly activity was left for us once we ruled out anything fun. I got there at 8 p.m. and was told by Bieber’s PR lady that Justin was in the studio but was about to go to dinner with his mom and I’d have to wait till he got back.
“So he’s here now?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said.
“Can I see him?”
“Can I go to dinner with him and his mom? I’ll eat light.”
“No. He’ll be back in an hour.”
To keep me occupied, I was escorted into the studio, where Kuk Harrell, Bieber’s vocal producer, was working on Believe without him. Harrell is an incredibly nice man who looks like a black version of Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka, so I was happy to sit around and stare at his hair for a while.
After a few minutes, I noticed that someone had drawn a bunch of dicks all over the grease board by the door. So I pointed at them and asked, “Hey, who drew all the dicks?” One of the sound engineers immediately jumped up, ran over, and erased them with his sleeve. This is the new and mature Bieber. We can’t have dicks being drawn all over the place. People might get the wrong idea about filthy-rich 18-year-old pop stars.
At eight forty, the PR lady came in to tell me—surprise!—Bieber would not be returning tonight. Finally, after I sat in my hotel room for another day and ran through as many imaginary conversations with the Beeb as any of his 12-year-old fangirls, word came down from the mountaintop: I would meet Bieber at his studio at 6 p.m. that night and we would box. Given all of our suggestions that had been rejected, this made no sense. Well, we can’t have Justin openly buying pornography—why don’t we just endanger his singing voice and orbital bone structure instead? But only a fool would argue. If someone asks you if you’d like to punch Justin Bieber in the face, the answer is yes.