MUSIC

Let Me Ride: The Luxury-Car Pecking Order Among Rappers

MUSIC
Jun 19, 2014 at 1:46 PM ET

Lincoln is feeling pretty good about itself because the carmaker just won top honors in a new customer-satisfaction survey, beating out foreign premium brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Owners of the Lincoln MKS and the Lincoln MKZ were apparently won over by the comfort of the front seats, the “quietness inside the vehicle” and the cars’ overall safety, according to the AutoPacific’s 2014 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards.

That’s all well and good. But we know that the real arbiters of vehicle satisfaction are rappers. They can even drive sales with their rhymes. So we wanted to see where hip hop moguls’ loyalties are these days when it comes to the priciest cars.

When regular people shop for cars, they look at things like leg room, armrest storage and miles per gallon. But rappers put their cars through a different battery of tests. Can they smoke weed in their cars? Can they use them to barter for sex? Can they award one to their friends? These are the pressing questions.

Lincoln is still working to reclaim the prestige it once had as an American luxury brand during the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, and hip-hop artists can definitely help with that. It worked for Cadillac, which went from a moribund car brand into a pop cultural favorite when its Escalade luxury SUVs received regular shout-outs from rappers like 50 Cent and Outkast in the early 2000s.

Cadillac received the most name drops in songs on Billboard’s Top 20 chart in 2004, the same year it would go on to sell a then-record 62,250 Escalades. For a period after that, Cadillac’s popularity went back on the wane, and many rappers were talking up Bugattis in their songs over Escalades.

Using Rap Genius’ Rap Word Frequency in 2013 for all four luxury brands that won Vehicle Satisfaction Awards this year—Cadillac, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz and BMW—we looked to see how these cars fared in the eyes (and lyrics) of rappers everywhere.

The Lincoln didn’t do so well: Mercedes kind of trounced it, with twice as many mentions. (But, it should be noted, that Mercedes wasn’t the most-mentioned car brand among rappers last year—it was actually third. Most-popular honors went to the Bentley and the Maybach, which have been at the top of the list for several years.) Here’s a sampling of what hip-hop world likes about the Benz:

In A$AP Rocky’s 2013 track “PMW (All I Really Need),” guest rapper ScHoolboy Q raps: “Turn a baby into a lady, now here go the keys to my new Mercedes” (he is referring to a young woman who was playing hard to get). ScHoolboy’s Mercedes here is both a creature comfort and an unintentional form of sexual currency.

In “Part II (On The Run),” Jay-Z raps “My nails get dirry, my past ain’t pretty/My lady is, my Mercedes is.” Carter’s Mercedes is as beautiful and elegant as Beyoncé, in other words.

Wiz Khalifa uses his Mercedes to, surprise, smoke weed (“We Dem Boyz” 2014).

Rick Ross gives new Mercedes cars to his new cadets, as he is “the fresh David Koresh” (“Sanctified” 2014).

The lack of shout-outs to Lincoln cars in the past two years isn’t very surprising, given the advancing age of the average Lincoln car owner. But in the olden days, rappers loved a good Lincoln.

Big Bank Hank crooned about having a Lincoln Continental and a Sunroof Cadillac in the Sugar Hill Gang’s 1979 hit “Rapper’s Delight.” Snoop Dog rapped about having, um, “sentimental” sex inside a rental Lincoln Continental in 1999’s “Bitch Please.”

Snoop is 42, so he has a few more years in front of him before he starts rapping again about the satisfaction of owning a Lincoln.