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.

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Rolling with Raekwon

As a diehard hip-hop fan and semi-responsible father;  keeping adult content away from the young developing minds of my children is  a job.  Initially I thought radio would offer a safe haven for me but certain songs manage to cross the boundaries of taste without using profanity.  I guess you have to respect somebody who can get their song played on the radio which requests a young lady to expose her naughty bits.  That’s talent. 

When I had more time, I would put together mixes of music that I found enjoyable that were not offensive to my children.  Tapes of instrumentals of hip-hop songs or some jazz that I enjoyed worked while the kids were younger.  I eventually discovered the benefits of NPR without feeling overly nerdy.   This worked for a while, the kids were young enough to listen to what I listened to without knowing how to complain.  Now that they are old enough to determine what songs they like on their own, they come armed with their own cd’s or at least requests to leave it on this station or that one. 

I let my oldest daughter (9yrs old) man the radio with her iPod one day while we were going who knows where.  It was a musical roller coaster ride.  She went for my heart by playing some Metallica,  then she ripped it out when she played Hannah Montana AND the Jonas Brothers.  (sign of things to come I guess)

But every once in a while, I get the minivan to myself.  No requests for food from the kids.  No bickering.  No wife asking to go one place and then another and another trying to spend money.  None of that.  I get to go where I want and play what I want.  Not a big deal for people who don’t really love music.  Also not a big deal for people who love music that has some level of decorum.  It is however, a big deal for people like myself who love crude sometimes profanity laden lyrics over obnoxious beats. (sue me) 

It’s been a while since I’ve dug a legitimate Raekwon verse.  But here he was, not too far into MF Doom’s latest disc spitting semi-coherent Cuban link swag like it was yesterday.  I repeated the song all the way home from work.  Not sure if it was the heatrock the Chef was cooking up lyrically, or that tried and true old school sample from ESG appropriately titled ‘UFO’.  There is something extremely appropriate about a sample titled ‘UFO’ while driving the UFO of the highways.  It’s a good thing though….