Vanilla Ice headlines Rock the Park’s look back at hip hop and dance music of the 1990s

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Nostalgia could be the most powerful force in the world. That’s one reason the “I love the 90s night” at Rock the Park was the first to sell out.

With such acts as Vanilla Ice, Salt-N-Pepa and Color Me Badd set to appear at Harris Park Friday evening, it may be this summer’s hottest ticket.

You may be thinking: Isn’t it a little too soon to get nostalgic about the 1990s?

Actually, no.

In fact, you could make the argument that 1990s nostalgia is a bit late in manifesting itself when you look at previous waves of nostalgia in pop culture.

For example, the Richard Linklater film Dazed and Confused, set in 1976, arrived in 1993 — only 13 years after the end of the 1970s.

The television series Happy Days debuted in 1974, 14 years after the end of the 1950s, the decade it celebrated and lampooned

The movie American Graffiti came out in 1973 — only 11 years after the year it is set in, 1962.

So putting on a concert of all acts who were big in the 1990s in 2017 is, given these previous examples of how nostalgia works in pop culture, coming to the party a little on the late side.

“It was all nostalgia,” Jenn Williamson said of her reasons for buying tickets to I love the 90s.

Williamson is a 44-year-old Londoner who was just starting her studies at Western University in 1991.

“I’ve always loved old-school hip hop, so even though this is the cheesy stuff — radio, dance stuff — it reminds me of drunken nights with my friends at the Ridout Tavern dancing,” she said.

“So it’s just super, fun, happy memories and reliving that in an outside venue in the sunshine, I just couldn’t pass it up,” Williamson said.

Vanilla Ice headlines the evening’s program, which begins at 5:30 p.m.

Also appearing are C+C Music Factory, Young MC, Color Me Badd, All-4-One, Rob Base, Naughty by Nature and Salt-N-Pepa.

That lineup evokes memories of songs such as I Wanna Sex You Up, Let’s Talk About Sex, Bust a Move and Gonna Make You Sweat.

And while the idea of rappers being nostalgia acts when the genre is still evolving may seem forced or silly, the truth is that old-school rap is a booming industry — just listen to Sirius XM satellite-radio channels such as Backspin and Fly.

At least one of the rappers who will take to the stage Friday had a second act after his music career fizzled. Vanilla Ice turned up years later as a renovation expert on the reality series The Vanilla Ice Project, which has run for six seasons on the DIY network.

If there’s a plumbing or wiring problem, yo, he’ll solve it.

— — —


Thursday — Casper the Ghost, DJ Mustard, Fetty Wap featuring Monty, Wiz Khalifa

Friday — I love the 90s: C+C Music Factory, Young MC, Color Me Badd, All-4-One, Rob Base, Naughty by Nature, Salt n Pepa, Vanilla Ice (SOLD OUT)

Saturday — Bleeker, July Talk, Sublime with Rome, The Offspring

Sunday — Ryland James, Ruth B, Scott Helman, Alessia Cara, Marianas Trench

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