Dancehall’s love affair with cars is closely linked to superficial ideas of success or failure, which is also marked by its closeness to the most beautiful and exclusive women. The prestige cars serve as inspiration for dancehall artists and their songs are interwoven with those they consider to be the best.
In the days of Asylum, Quad and Cactus nightclubs, premium Japanese and European cars lined the streets of New Kingston at the front of the venues as a status symbol. Due to Jamaica having high tariffs on imported vehicles, super luxury cars like Rolls Royce, Bentley or Ferrari weren’t frequently featured prominently in Dancehall lyrics, but there may be some. be had one or two.
Buying and mentioning a nice car gives dancehall artists credibility in the rap market in the same way buying a helicopter gives bankers in their financial circles. Luxury cars, although at lower cost, still remain the mission of many artists and whether they know it or not, singing about a product gives that product credibility and a shared cultural capital.
Here are five cars that have fascinated dancehall artists and ended up in hit songs.
5. The X mark
The Mark X is the upgraded version of the original Toyota Mark 2, which was a flashy pseudo car in the 1990s. Since Acegawd sang on Mark X & Axio, sales of the car have improved considerably on the island. Even though Yaksta sings “acres ova Mark X” in Ambition, it’s one of the most popular entry-level cars that can be seen all over the Jamaican road. Ace’s song currently has 3 million views on YouTube.
Although the price does not match that of other luxury brands, there are other mentions of the Mark X by Intence “Innah the Mark X dawg we nuh bargain mall”, on his song Switch off, and on his latest hit, Yahoo boyz where he deejayed, “Mark X wid di crown yuh nuh see the plate”.
The Mark X has now found its place in Dancehall and Dancehall lingua.
In the rare event that Audis are mentioned by dancehall stars, the songs are hits.
Steven “Lenky” Marsden Diwali riddim (2002) has had several hit singles including Time to party by Danny English and Egg Nogg. “You can meet me at the party, you can bring your shorty / we’re driving in the Ardi (Audi) / the party will last all night,” Egg Nogg encourages on a song that still celebrates to this day.
Then Beenie Man sang that his Audi was different from what everyone else drove in his bang Always clean. “Me always clean, me never weh yuh Inna (me very clean), nuh see a Gucci me innah (me always clean), nuh see a Louis V dem yah (me always clean), The Q7 we drive (me always clean) . ”
The German brand was mentioned again on Popcaan’s Grass is my best friend. Although only the use of 2 ounces of marijuana is decriminalized in Jamaica, Deejay Unruly sings, “Right now, it’s legal for the feds to charge me six pounds every day in the Audi,” asserting the importance of ‘have both their weed and their Audi.
The Mercedes Benz is an auspicious symbol of class around the world, and here in Jamaica there is a special relationship with the car and its logo. Dancehall and reggae artists see the Mercedes Benz logo as more than just a brand, it is an inspiration with a message that communicates wealth, success. Whether it’s a Class A or the more opulent ML, GLC, GL or S Classes, Mercedes finds its place in the lyrics and dancehall lifestyle with mentions in over 200 songs.
A lot of those mentions have come from Vybz Kartel, but one of the most popular songs lately has been the production of Not Nice, Benz Punany on the S-Class Riddim. Kartel proclaims his preference with two-way distinctions between the exclusivity of Benz Prize women over common “taxi” type women: “give me the benz punany, make me gwan chase it, all pum pum taxis gwan guh cool down. “
The Benz in Jamaica also received praise from Solomon when a young Capleton said the symbol came from the Star of David.
“Gyal dem have face and dem have fire remind me of some Benz, Lexus and Bimma”, Bounty Killer laments over his 1996 hit Benz and Bimmer, which is one of his greatest songs.
Last year, the Warlord unveiled its new two-vehicle fleet from the German automaker, in black of course, and ten years later all of its luxury vehicles have been ripped off by Jamaican tax authorities.
Reggae crooner Jah Cure also bought a new Mercedez this year, having crashed last year and another in 2017. Meanwhile, Grammy sensation Koffee got a little boost with his white SUV Mercedez Benz last year.
Beenie Man also recently took to social media to show off his latest Benz purchase, as did Gold Gad and Dovey Magnum.
2. Range Rover
The Range Rover is the favorite car of many dancehall and reggae singers. Popcaan showed off his high-rolling Range Rover Sport and a three-door Range Rover Evoque Convertible reportedly gifted to him by Drake, which was used by Koffee in the music video for the biggest Dancehall song of 2020, Confinement.
There is also Range Rover Riddim who features songs with Beenie Man, Elephant Man, Ce’Cile, General Degree and others.
The first car Shenseea bought after achieving success in the music business was a BMW 5 Series. She wrapped it in neon green just in case anyone wanted to know who the new star in town was. Soon after, she took to her social media to show off an upgrade to an X6, one of Jamaica’s most exquisite sport utility vehicles and with a touch of exuberance, she wrapped it up in a shimmering hue with changing colors.
Even though she now drives a Chevrolet truck in Miami, her now crashed Jamaican BMW inspired her latest song Be wise. After a long line of reggae / dancehall metaphors and double meanings, she rhymes: “Country goal gives me a shortcut like a shortcut / can get it in Bimmer Park anyway / hit the start button” .
Bob Marley was said to like the name BMW so much that he said it meant Bob Marley and the Wailers. “I sold Bob his BMW. I bought it used. I sold him that one and bought another one. I can’t remember what price I sold him for now, ”Pluto Shervington told the Jamaica Observer last year. “It was around ’74 or ’75 … I think it’s around ’75.”
It’s the car that says “I’m here” and the biggest names in dancehall use it more than just a souvenir. At Who am I, Beenie Man sings “Sim Simmer who got the keys to my bimmer”. The line has been duplicated no less than ten times among hip hop and afrobeat superstars like Joyner Lucas, Nicki Minaj and Burner Boy for their own hits beyond the shores of dancehall. This kind of cultural capital, publicity and interesting points given to BMW is certainly more than what it has brought to the culture.