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 |  Apr 29 2010, 1:36 PM

impala

This author has loved hip-hop music since the tender age of 3, when Digital Underground’s “The Humpty Dance” caught my attention. I didn’t really understand the lyric “I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom” but it had a fat bassline and a character from a nursery rhyme, and that was enough for me.

In the same way that rock and roll groups mythologized American muscle in the 1960′s, rappers have taken to lionizing the automobile in all its forms, whether it’s an East Coast rapper like Jay-Z rapping about Maybachs or Jaguars, or Snoop Dogg cruising through Long Beach, California in one of his famous 1964 Impalas.

Recently, the Southern United States has had a stranglehold on the hip-hop scene, and their love of American muscle has seen a resurgence of interest in rear-drive American cars. For those with money, a new Dodge Charger or a classic muscle car is the must have ride. But not everyone can afford a new car, and so ordinary folk turn to cars like the Chevrolet Caprice, Mercury Grand Marquis or 1980′s G-Body General Motors cars and customize them with cartoonish 24inch rims and custom lift kits.

As with any fashion-driven culture, huge chrome rims are now out of style, and the new trend is “swangas“, the street term of wire wheels from a 1983 or 1984 Cadillac. Since the wheels were made for a rear-drive offset, they tend to poke out on many of the front-drive vehicles that are affordable to young people, like Oldsmobile 98s, Cadillac Devilles or Buick Park Avenues. While automotive purists may scoff, the “poke” aesthetic is a signature look of the “swanga” movement.

Houston rap group “Block Boyz Click” released a video, imaginatively titled “Ridin Swangas”, and the song is a decent, if amateurish attempt to capture the slowed-down, soulful styles of fellow Houstonians UGK, the video is chock full of truly ghetto American iron that should have been consigned to the junkyard long ago. Aside from the aforementioned cars, sharp eyes will also spot a Chrysler LHS, Buick LeSabre and Pontiac Bonneville.

The artistic merits of the song may be a matter of opinion, but we happened to enjoy the use of some under-appreciated Rick Wagoner-era General Motors machinery, rather than having the (rented) supercar du jour being driven at a snails pace, with a blinged-out hand gripping the wheel at 12 o’clock. Long live the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Dirty South. Keep swangin on ‘em, H-Town. Check out the official video after the jump.

[Source: Cardomain blog]

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