Why Hip Hop Hates The Toyota RAV4

Bryan Hahn, Mass Appeal
Top image credit: Sam Woolley for Jalopnik

Before they were known as “The Throne,” Jay Z and Kanye West linked with Rihanna in 2009 for the unescapable hit “Run This Town.” It charted around the world, was performed on The Jay Leno Show, and won multiple awards (2010 Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Rap Song). And while I’m still waiting for Jay Z to explain La Familia (take your time, Hov), I noticed something else in the song that spiraled into an extensive Genius hunt.

[Editor’s Note: This story originally ran on Mass Appeal, a music, art, and culture magazine and website that is so much better than many other things. Everyone in music seems to have their favorite car, but only Mass Appeal found the one everyone hates. This article is reprinted with permission. - M.B.]


We can debate all day whether Kanye is one of the best to do it on the mic, but you can’t deny he has clever punchlines. One of his more quoted ones comes in his verse on “Run This Town”:

This the fast life, we are on a crash course / What you think I rap for, to push a fuckin’ Rav 4?

But instead of chuckling and moving on like I usually do, the other day I asked myself if other rappers had shat on the SUV made for the young and old. To my surprise, the answer was a resounding yes.

It seems as if the hip hop gods reached down and threw the RAV4 into the culture’s proverbial bin of chastisable items, which currently includes dirty Jordans, fake Rolexes, and loose blunts. It also doesn’t help that Drake, aka the walking human meme, put another Toyota model into a laughable position.


So, we decided to compile lyrics from hip hop songs in which the Toyota RAV4 is mentioned, presenting them to you today in an easy to remember graphic form. The intention of each line ranges from neutral to super negative.

Sometimes, the RAV4 is regarded as a clear indicator that someone is an entry level rapper or drug dealer. In other instances, the emcee alludes they don’t even want to be mentioned in the same sentence as the SUV. Essentially, it’s not a car you pull up to the club in; you leave it parked around back.


Or, just save yourself the headache and Uber everywhere.

And yes, we reached out to Toyota for comment. But, after getting in touch with a representative who agreed to connect us with the marketing department, we were left hanging.

“400 Bars”
“Don Dada”
“Gettin’ Money”
“HOV Lane”
“Hol Up”
“No Excuses”
“XXL 2014 Freshmen Cypher Part 3”
“Hold Your Head”
“Run This Town”

What started as a humble graffiti ‘zine in 1996 would soon grow to be one of the most trusted outlets for documenting urban culture. Today, Mass Appeal’s a media collective led by authentic voices and inspired minds, a platform for radical creatives who are transforming culture.


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