The 2009 Cadillac Escalade
What's the first thing that pops up inside your head when you hear hip hop? If gigantic, expensive cars with chromed out bodies, jet black tints, and 22" dubs comes across your mind, your're not alone. The association of rappers to high end vehicles has become common place in the unconscious minds of today’s youth. This may be due to the exploitation of this image via commercials, movies, and music videos. As a rule of thumb, the rapper with the biggest baddest truck has to be the biggest baddest rapper.
The Cadillac Escalade, a popular truck-based sports utility vehicle, was once officially known as a symbol of success and status for older, white drivers. This is no longer the case. Today, it seems almost every black and white hip hop artist, professional athlete, or even amateur hopeful wants to get their hands on one. So what gives? What is it about this whip that has caused it to lure so much love and business from a community it literally wasn't intended for?
(Pictured below): Cadillac Escalade grill.
Could it be because the Escalade (2007 to 2009 model) has an attention grabbing luxury interior complete with stitched leather accents from the dashboard to the steering wheel? Possibly. Maybe it’s because it comes stock with satellite GPS navigation and a rear view camera for those who need extra caution when reversing. Or, perhaps because it ranks supreme in automated features when compared to competitors (Tahoe, Denali, Expedition). Well, whatever the real answer is, one thing is for sure, this vehicle’s overwhelming success took even Cadillac by surprise. They didn't expect this model to get the superstar attention it has achieved. Cadillac officials have gone far as noting that this type of publicity doesn't come easy and could not be bought.
Its recognition is not just due to its award winning functionality. This whip has become an expression an attitude. It’s a reflection of today’s culture, especially amongst the youth. The phenomenon started when a handful of celebrities invested in this model. Their appearances in the media created frenzy, and soon, fans began to follow in their footsteps. The Escalade had become a representation of good taste. And in street cred, if you own one, you get a lot of points. You get noticed, and that's everything when you have a rep to maintain.
Today’s generation of youngsters wants to roll in something that's as hot and loud as they are. And, by far, the Escalade lives up to this requirement. No longer is driving your car only about getting from point A to B. Over the decades - as car models are strategically altered and enhanced to satisfy consumers- what you drive has become a means to display your swag and style. Research teams have spent a significant amount of time on emphasizing design and overall appearance. And the price tag is fairly echoed through this. The assumption is that if you own one, you're pretty well off. It pretty true, as the average income for Escalade owners reaches $150,000.
To all rappers (and celebrities in general), your appearance is key to your success. The Escalade's empowering height and bold appearance gives them just this. It demands those that it passes to look up to it, as if they were inferior to it. The staggering height and well crafted curves of this luxury SUV allow total street domination. Many associate owning one to having good taste. Celebrities from the likes of Shaquille O'neal and Rick Ross have owned and boasted about their experiences with this 400+ horsepower monster of a truck. NBA star Chris Mills of the Golden State Warriors has boosted him image by publicly displaying his Escalade's unique design. Even The Game has rapped about his Escalade, which was recently sold on Ebay.
(Pictured below): Chris Mills and his Sky Blue Escalade.