I was eight-years-old in 1990 and my parents were pretty protective of the music they let me listen to.

When they discovered I was discovering a fondness for hip-hop music they quickly pushed me into the safest rapper around, Vanilla Ice. They bought me his tape, “To The Extreme” and I played it constantly. It began a life-long appreciation for the oft misunderstood genre of music.

I was the kid who took the music to heart. I jumped head first into hip-hop culture learning how to break dance, write rhymes and continued to discover more music along the way.

Before going into journalism, I made a brief foray into the music production world. I picked up some turntables, a mixer and a recorder and began mixing my own hip-hop and techno dance tracks. I released five underground records over the years. The last one was called “Freedom of Speech” and contained on homage to Vanilla Ice’s famous hit “Ice, Ice Baby” and the album it headlined “To the Extreme.” I named the track “To the Extreme, 2014” and yes, I even made my own interpretation of the famous riff the track uses to complete the homage.

When I learned Vanilla Ice was coming to Sherman I was immediately excited. I have remained a loyal fan through the highs and lows of his career. Sure, like many I discovered a great number of other hip-hop acts but I continue to stay true to my own roots. My first underground record contained a track called “Ode to the Old School” which featured a list of artists from the 70s and 80s that I considered major influences in my musical tastes. My career as a hip-hop producer was short lived and remained entirely underground. Yet, I never lost my respect for those who introduced me to the lifestyle and Vanilla Ice is easily the entry point for me.

I am looking forward to seeing how the concert unfolds. In the meantime I will proudly jam out to “Stop That Train” and “Go Ill” in anticipation. And yes, I do still have that album now on CD. It doesn’t get as much play as it once did but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t in my rotation.

Happy birthday to Kim Lyles of Ivanhoe; Randy Atkinson, Pamela Smith, Janecia Parker and Gary Jackson Campbell, all of Sherman; Max Walcott of Rowlett; Rwanda Reese of Plano; Jeannette Owens-Lyons of California; Rusty Anderson of Westminster; Patsy Ireland of Van Alstyne; and Jeffery Alters of Allen.

Happy anniversary to Glen and Brenda Culp of Southmayd, 39 years and Charles and Marian Meader of Sherman, 74 years.