good kid, bAAdass minivan

An American Icon

A few weeks ago, rap wunderkind, Kendrick Lamar released his highly anticipated album, good kid mAAd city, to much applause. I too join in the chorus of music critics, hipsters, internet dorks, bandwagoners and anyone else who sings this albums praise.

But more importantly, the deluxe edition of this album features some deluxe artwork; a Polaroid styled photograph of either a third or fourth generation Dodge Caravan. Upon closer inspection, the rims on this vehicle are consistent with the Chrysler version of the Caravan, the swankier and more stylish, Town and Country.

Too many reasons why a young G would want to roll through the streets of Compton in a minivan. The fold down seats make it easy to set the mood for young ladies willing to do things while parked in front of the Pacific Ocean. The sliding doors ease the ingress/egress of family members while loading up the fam for church, or if one needs to let off a few rounds to avenge one of the homies, again, sliding doors people. Not to mention plenty of storage space behind the back row of seats, perfect for hauling groceries, football equipment, and assorted weaponry and contraband.

Not since Wu-Tang Clan shouted out the Mazda MPV in their classic Can It All Be So Simple, has a minivan been so prominently featured in hip-hop, and we wanted to thank Kendrick Lamar for bringing the minivan back to its well deserved glory.


Hood Figga: Pt. IV – The Shadowboxer

let me feel out my high
Then slap box my ghost ’til one of us cry – Jadakiss

Riding around in the backseat of your parents car gives you the under appreciated opportunity to look at the scenery of your surroundings. As children, you get to sit in the passenger seats of family vehicles and look at your city and the people in it, with little concern for the traffic plotting to end you.

I bring this up, because as a child, I have fond memories of breaking seat belt laws, standing up in front seats, and looking at the dull landscape of Houston, Texas and taking in different kinds of awesome that I just took for granted.

One brand of awesome was a man who would shadowbox on the corner of Almeda Road and Binz Street. The corner wasn’t as manicured and empty as it is now, but back then, this dude would have full on, imaginary fights with invisible opponents. He wore sweatpants, a hooded sweatshirt, and hand wraps if my memory is not adding things for effect. But let’s be clear, he did shadowbox intensely on a public street corner.

He bounced on his toes and circled his opponents and threw vicious jabs, landed great combinations, and when able, would unleash the always effective uppercut. The Boxer wasn’t always whooping ass though, there were a few times he had to bob and weave, duck and dodge, block and parry punches when his imaginary foe went on the offensive. Sometimes he would even stop and clench his opponent, to catch a breather now and then.

It was a full on performance, and as a kid I thought it was awesome. As an adult, the thought of it still seems awesome, but I wonder whether or not this guy was an actual boxer? If he was a boxer, why wasn’t he getting it in at the gym? If he wasn’t a boxer, then what was he? A performance artist? A paranoid schizophrenic? We’ll never know. What we do know is that this guy existed, and I love him for it.