Kanye West’s lyrics have not been kind to Japanese cars. Not only are they jammed with references to typical rapper fare like Mercedes-Benzes and Lamborghinis, he often rips on cars like Nissans and Toyotas. But a recent spate of West family sightings in a Toyota Mega Cruiser and an Isuzu VehiCROSS make it seem like he might be somewhat fond of Nihon steel after all.
In 2009’s “Run This Town” with Lexus aficionado Jay-Z and Rihanna, West makes clear his disdain for compact Toyotas, asking, “What you think I rap for, to push a fuckin’ RAV4?” This was followed up in 2013’s “Hold My Liquor”, in which West talks about carelessly destroying a car as he parks his luxury SUV, saying, “When I parked my Range Rover/ Slightly scratched your Corolla/ Okay, I smashed your Corolla.”
However, last month West’s wife Bianca Censori was spotted in their own white Toyota SUV, an imported JDM Mega Cruiser. Turns out, the Mega Cruiser was brought in for West by a San Diego company called Camplife Customs and fitted with a one-off canvas rear cover. The Japanese Humvee was originally painted in JSDF army green according to a social media post by the company, but finished in white after import.
Way back in 2005 on one of his first big hits, “Gold Digger”, West was already pronouncing his love for automotive status symbols: “There’s dishes in the back, he gotta roll up his sleeves/ But while y’all washin’, watch him/ He gon’ make it to a Benz out of that Datsun.” Confusingly, the Genius explanation of the lyric shows a picture of a cherry 240Z, which is worth a lot more than an entry-level Mercedes these days. Maybe the guy in the cautionary tale about going after riches should keep the Z instead of trading it in for a CLA.
On Wednesday, West and Censori were spotted in West Hollywood driving around in an Isuzu VehiCROSS. Penned by former Nissan head of design Shiro Nakamura, the otherworldly two-door Baja bouncer is an excellent choice, but perhaps not ideal for a celebrity keeping a low profile. In factory yellow with custom black steelies, it looked tastefully modified, which is probably the most understated thing West has ever done. Or maybe it just reminded him of one of his shoes.
Is this a recent change? Or has West always had an affinity towards Japanese SUVs we weren’t aware of? Or did his separation from his ex-wife make him realize that it’s not necessary to keep up with the Kardashians in terms of vehicular status. We aren’t exactly scholars of the entire Kanye West oeuvre, so there could be references to Mega Cruisers and Isuzus in his songs that we’ve missed. If anyone knows, or have any other car references in West’s songs to share, please tell us in the comments.