It was hard to tell if Young MC was being snarky or pathetic with his introduction of "Bust a Move" exactly 13 minutes into Saturday's Minneapolis installment of the I Love the '90s Tour, but either way it summed up the overall embarrassment of the night.
"Please stand up for this one," the rapper pleaded with the Target Center crowd. "This is the one you know."
Five of the six acts that took the stage Saturday had one — and only one — big song to get the 8,000 mostly Generation X-aged fans up and dancing. The exception was the lone women's group on the lineup, Salt-N-Pepa, who delivered multiple hits with ample gusto but somehow didn't land the headlining slot. Yet another example of women losing out to less-qualified male job candidates.
The top dog instead was a shameless but fitting choice, Vanilla Ice. Now an HGTV star (if that's not an oxymoron), the real-life Robbie Van Winkle made the crowd sit through a half-hour of intellectually challenged songs and a bizarre stage show with cheap inflatable monsters before he finally got to "Ice Ice Baby."
No surprise, many fans had actually left by then.
Here's a rundown of Saturday's acts.
Young MC: Introduced by Coolio as "the very first from the West Coast," the 49-year-old MC couldn't rise above the dubious opener. He performed without a DJ amid horrendous acoustics, exacerbated by empty seats. It looked like he couldn't "Bust a Move" fast enough to get out of there.
Coolio: The "Gangster's Paradise" hitmaker — who still sports some pointy braids but is otherwise bald — brought up a drummer, guitarist and saxophonist despite only having 15 minutes to play. His sax man soloed so long in "C U When U Get There," they had to cut short "1,2,3,4 (Sumpin' New)."
Kid 'n Play: The duo made a decent case for their back-and-forth MC interplay. But their set was also made up of Smothers Brotherly comedy bits that fell as flat as Kid's haircut (and that's no pun on their Viagra joke).
Rob Base: The Harlem-bred rap pioneer ignited the crowd well before he got to "It Takes Two," adding meaning to the show with a medley of older-school rap hits by Kool Moe Dee and Slick Rick. He leaned the heaviest on classic hip-hop sounds but was the one act who would fit a modern rap fest lineup such as Soundset.
Salt-N-Pepa: Sounding inseparable and irrepressible after going "through hell and high water together," as Cheryl James ("Salt") put it, she and Sandra Denton ("Pepa") triumphed with "Let's Talk About Sex," "Whatta Man" and "Push It." As if that weren't enough, they rounded out their set with other Gen-X staples, including Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child o' Mine" and Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," the latter of which saw 40-some women climb on stage to dance. "So much estrogen," Salt yelled afterward.
Vanilla Ice: So much testosterone. The yuck-yuck factor that makes this short-lived megastar at least a guilty pleasure to some fans quickly turned to just plain yuck, as he played himself up as a tough-guy metal-rapper with "Born on Halloween" and "Hit 'Em Hard." He played himself up too much, period, promising a second season of his home-flipping TV series, "The Vanilla Ice Project." He then bragged to the half-full and quickly emptying arena, "We got a sold-out show. This is great!"
The Iceman tried to top "Ice Ice Baby" for a finale by playing a recording of M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes," during which he randomly threw in his own cunning lyrics like, "Hey!" and, "It's a party now" — the whole while ignoring the fact that the song came out in 2007, not the '90s.