Hip-Hop’s obsession with automobiles may go as far back as the Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rappers Delight” when Big Bank Hank rhymed (via Grandmaster Caz) “I got two big cars that definitely ain’t the wack/ I got a Lincoln Continental and a sunroof Cadillac.” Years later it’s commonplace to find rap songs in official car commercials (Hamsters be damned) , but that hasn’t stopped artists from giving away free advertising to their favorite brands.
But how much is it all worth? We’ve compiled a list of songs that gave significant advertising love to an automaker in both the rhyme and/or accompanying video. We’ve rated their influence on the masses with our Mad Men Donald Draper rater. (Donald Draper being the creative mastermind on one of TVs best shows about advertising—ever.)What is your favorite “auto” tune? Let us know in the comments!
1. Dr. Dre “Let Me Ride”
Carmaker: ’64 Chevy
Quotable: “Rollin in my 4 with 16 switches…”
It didn’t matter what coast you lived on if you saw this video and heard the song you wanted a ’64 Chevy Lowrider.
2.Jay-Z “Imaginary Player”
Carmaker plugged: Land Rover
Quotable: “What’s the difference between a 4.0 and a 4.6? Like 30-40 grand c*cksucker, beat it.”
Don Drapers: 4.5
Only Hov could son you with an adlib. After this song came out your 4.0 Range Rover might as well have been a RAV 4.
TIE: “We don’t drive X-5’s we give ‘em to baby mommas” from “Show You” didn’t help the BMW SUV sales, rather it damn near killed ‘em.
3.Ludacris, “Southern Hospitality”
Carmaker plugged: Cadillac
Quotable: “Cadillac grills, Cadillac mills, check out the oil my Cadillac spills!”
Don Drapers: 5/5
Cadillac may be headquartered in Michigan but Ludacris made it the official car of Atlanta in 2000. This may be the first rap song to lead off with the name of a car in the first word and the Escalade truck was given nearly as much face time in the video as Luda.
4. Lost Boyz: “Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz and Benz”
Carmakers plugged: Lexus, BMW, Merceds-Benz
Quotable: “Shout out to the jeeps, lex coups, bimaz and the benz…”
Don Drapers: 3.5/5
R.I.P. Freaky Tah
Before Lloyd Banks’s “Beamer, Benz & Bentley” the Lost Boyz rocked the clubs and radio with their quadruple name-dropping driver’s ed anthem.
5. Rick Ross, “Maybach Music”
Quotable: “Take a toke of this Maybach Music, the realest shit I ever wrote…”
Donald Drapers: 5
Ross has turned this one song into a fantastically decadent trilogy thanks to producers The J.U.S.T.I.C.E League and A-List guest appearances from Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, T.I. and Jadakiss. Do people even talk about Phantoms anymore?
6. Wutang Clan: “C.R.E.AM.”
Quotable: “Rollin in MPVs’ every week we made 40Gs”
Donald Drapers 4
It’s funny to think that at one point a Mazda minivan was something to brag about. But before the total takeover of the SUV the MPV was the coolest thing you could cram your extended fam into. Instead of the soccer mom sliding doors it had traditional hinges and 4 Wheel Drive made it less of a station wagon. Add some 10” chrome wheels and you were set.
7. Puff Daddy “It’s All About The Benjamins”
Quotable: “Swimmin in women with their condominiums/ 5 plus 5s who drive Milleniums…”
Donable Drapers: 3.5
This is probably the least expensive car that P Diddy has ever name-dropped. No question that in 1999 the Mazda Millennia was nothing to sneeze at with its $35K MSRP but Mr. Combs wouldn’t be caught dead in one of these today. However, he gave hope to aspiring baby mommas everywhere with this attainable dimepiece accessory.
8. Missy Elliot “The Rain”
Automakers Plugged: Jeep/Hummer
Quotable: “Beep, beep, who got the keys to the jeep? Vrrrrrm”
Donald Drapers: 3
It was one line that was more repeated than the hook. With everyone calling SUVs “Jeeps” (which is a brand of Chrysler) Missy was giving generic props to the 4X4s but gave the Hummer prominent face time in the video.
9. Dre. F/ Rick Ross “Chevy Ridin High”
Donald Drapers: 3.0
This was one long Chevy commercial set to a beat, but it failed to fully espouse that “i need to get one” feeling.
10. Leaders of The New School “Sobb Story”
Carmaker: Nissan Patherfinder
Quotable: “Now I’m feelin stingy since I got my cherry Pathfinder…”
I had to take it back for the last one. I know this song will go over most people’s heads but when Leaders Of The New School dropped this song/video in the 90s I wanted nothing more than a red Nissan Pathfinder. Of course Busta has moved onward and upward to Ferrari’s and Lambos but I’ll never forget how badly this made me want to get my license and drive.
Pebbles, “Mercedes Boy”
David Banner “Cadillac On 22s”
LL Cool J “Backseat of My Jeep”
Prince, “Little Red Corvette”