Let me preface this by saying that I spent all morning watching a bunch of rap videos so you don't have to (as a Serious Journalist, I have to find the facts). Today's fact-finding mission: Are Escalades still popular in hip-hop?
I'm meh on the current state of rap. A combination of getting old and not being into what the kids these days are into and being wistful for the kind of rhymes from my youth means I'm not as sharp on trends as I used to be. But if there's one thing I know, it's that flashy, expensive cars have never left the culture.
But like consumer trends, rappers' tastes evolve as well. And one thing I keep seeing during the reveal of the new Escalade is how rappers will now have something new to put into their videos. Really? No. I doubt this will happen based on the current state of rap.
Now, I haven't listened to every single rap song released in the last three years for this, but I read enough and listen to enough radio to know where the pulse is. Escalades aren't where it's at anymore. And they haven't been for a long time.
I don't know when we reached peak Escalade. That Big Tymers video above was from 2002. Maybe it was when Janet Jackson played an "SNL" character named "Escaladay" after the Super Bowl. Or maybe it's when USA Today figured out that rappers liked Escalades... way back in 2001. But if the following samples are any indication, the trends now are foreign or old-school.
We'll start with Ace Hood's "Bugatti" which is obviously about a Bugatti.
I see lots of the Bugatti Veyron, but no Escalade. This song was hot a few months ago, though, which is years in rap time. So here are a few more current videos.
Please don't click this. I hate this song. It's "Versace" by Migos.
VERSACE VERSACE VERSACE VERSACE VERSACE VERSACE but not ESCALADE ESCALADE ESCALADE ESCALADE ESCALADE ESCALADE.
There's also "Type of Way" by Rich Homie Quan, which I heard four times on the radio this weekend alone.
Oh, that M6 is...a shame. But other than the corner of an Escalade headlight in one scene, no Cadillacs present in lyrics or imagery.
Here's "Bounce It" by Academy Award-winner Juicy J.
Escalades have passed their prime with the Memphis set, apparently.
Here's "Guap" by Big Sean and "Berzerk" by Eminem. Now you would think that two Detroit rappers would have nothing but love for a big 'MURRICAN SUV, right?
Well, Eminem does mention that he "woke up in that Monte Carlo with an ugly Kardashian" and Big Sean's in a nice GTO, there. But nope.
Just to make this post more ridiculous, I went over to the pop music side, since pop tends to follow hip-hop when it comes to obnoxious appropriation of luxury goods. Britney Spears' "Work Bitch" is a good example of this.
Maserati, Bugatti and Lamborghini get shout-outs, but no Escalade.
So class, what have we learned? The Escalade might be a Tahoe clone to some and the future of Cadillac to others, but a toy for the hip-hop elite it is not. I'm from Detroit. You know who I see driving a ton of Escalades? Old guys that used to work for GM.
That said, Escalades are great fleet vehicles to transport rappers around from one afterparty to the next, so I'm sure if you look hard enough of Google Images, you might find a guy rolling around like this. But in the meantime, let's cut out the Escalade-rap jokes, OK?