Cars have been considered status symbols since the advent of the automobile, so there is no surprise they have ended up the subject of rap lyrics and showcased in videos since the early days of the genre (remember when The Sugar Hill Gang boasted about having, “… a Lincoln Continental and a sunroofed Cadillac”?). As the decades go by, the cars change. Sometimes the newest thing to hit the street is hot and sometimes classics from times past are what’s up. Here’s a list of some of the cars that have been celebrated the most in the industry over time. This list is by no means exhaustive – just some whips that have stood out over time.
West coast rappers brought lowriders to the national stage. Reminiscent of swap meets, their videos showcased Chevrolet Impalas and Monte Carlos bouncing on their tires while stone-faced drivers rolled with it. Because of their prevalence in early videos, lowriders became synonymous with west coast rap. Videos usually showcased this car style, popular since the 1930s, in a souped up convertible model. Make it bounce.
Lamborghinis and Ferraris have always been at the top of the food chain for gauging success. I dreamed of rolling in a Lambo myself back in the day (yeah, didn’t happen) – the doors opening up like a spaceship was just so… cool. The Bugatti Veyron adds to the list quite nicely. Sometimes it seems like the more obscure the car the better.
If you really want to show that you’re smooth as silk and ‘bout it at the same time, you push a luxury car. Something hot like T.I.’s Bentley Mulsanne or 50’s Rolls Royce Phantom. Audis, Caddies, Benzos, Beamers – call outs that have no model attached run rampant through hip-hop lyrics. Luxury has always been in style.
How could a truck not be gangster? In hip-hop, it’s always been the bigger the better, the flashier the fancier. So, it’s no wonder rappers have chosen SUVs as a sought after vehicle in their videos and in real life. Check the Hummer. Just looking at its lines and big dawg presence all but solidified its presence in hip –hop culture.
A car doesn’t have to be out-of-this-world expensive to make it to the big time. Preference is individual, right? Jadakiss, Prodigy, and many others have posted lyrics about the Acura Vigor, a 1994 sedan. Their shout outs put the car on the hip-hop map. To each his own, there’s something to be said for the hoopty.