TUNE UP: Instead of your typical rap video cars, “This is America” is filled with Toyotas and Hondas

In case you were under a rock all weekend, you probably know Childish Gambino’s video for “This Is America” debuted on Saturday and has already garnered over 18 million views. The work is fraught with commentary on violence and slavery, but JNCers will undoubtedly be most captivated by the garage full of old Japanese cars. 

[WARNING: violent imagery in video]

The song’s lyrics talk about making money, a not-unusual subject in hip-hop, but artist Donald Glover (Childish Gambino’s real name) and director Hiro Murai turn the standard fare on its head, with Glover gunning down traditional representations of African Americans in popular culture. There are obviously many layers to the video, but JNC is gonna JNC.

Instead of a garage of Bentleys and Lamborghinis, dancers gyrate around Toyota Corollas — a third-gen Liftback, fourth-gen wagon, Tercel 4WD wagon, and a couple of front-driver sedans. There’s also several second-gen Honda Accords, a Panther platform Lincoln Town Car and K-body Cadillac DeVille in the back, and what appears to be a Yugo pickup. Is it parodying rap videos filled with expensive cars? Commenting on wealth inequality? Depicting the supplantation of American sedans by Japanese compacts? Just appreciating J-tin? The video raises some big questions, but we have just one more: can we buy that TE51?

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10 Responses to TUNE UP: Instead of your typical rap video cars, “This is America” is filled with Toyotas and Hondas

  1. Brad D. says:

    I spent my whole first watching of this video nervous that they would destroy an old JNC….once I was cleared of that fear…quite good! Haha

  2. robin says:

    So clearly this video is full of messages. I wonder what message they trying to bring across with Japanese vehicles?

    Maybe im reading into it too deep but im sure there is a reason.

    also is the blue wagon for sale haha

    • J.A.C.K says:

      i think the artist chose these cars because they are what a typical lower-middle class american might be driving, not a bentley, ferrari, or other exotic. late ’80 to ’90s cars might be the only options affordable.

      or might also represent that they are not originally from this country but are hard working and reliable.

      or might be that the budget for this video was only $12,000. lmao

  3. Naomi says:

    I think that one SZA is sitting on is a replica of Philando Castille’s car.

  4. Hilux1977 says:

    Guess I was under a rock all weekend. Huh.

  5. The Jumped Shark says:

    The “layers” of the video are only added by intellectuals.
    It’s incongruent at best and fails at communicating any distinguishable message artistically.

    It’s the work of amateurs promoted by major corporations whose talent pool has long run dry.

    Try not to philosophically impose any meaning on the vehicle choices. They’re all old, cheap and happen to be Japanese makes…whereas the old and cheap domestic cars wouldn’t be drivable to the filming location.

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