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If you listen to hip-hop and rap music, you no doubt have heard about the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. This top-of-the-line luxury SUV has been mentioned in more songs in the last three years than nearly any other model of car, and not just casual mentions.
From Lil Baby and Lil Durk's "Voice of the Heroes" collaboration to DMX's final album Exodus, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan defines wealth and success in the hip-hop industry.
So what began the hip-hop trend of flexing in a Rolls-Royce Cullinan? And what is so appealing about this one particular luxury SUV that has inspired and captured the ambitions of so many artists?
50 Cent put the Cullinan on the map in the U.S.
The story of the Cullinan in hip-hop history started in 2018 when 50 Cent posted a video on Instagram of him buying a Cullinan. GQ reports that 50 Cent said it was the first one in the U.S.—a big flex, and a cool post.
Two years later, the Cullinan trend has risen hot to the surface with Migos, Lil Baby, Moneybagg Yo, and more referencing the SUV in their songs.
What makes the Cullinan better than other luxury SUVs?
Looking at the specs of the Cullinan, we can see the appeal. It truly exudes luxury and wealth, built on a custom platform called the Architecture of Luxury exclusive to Rolls-Royce.
Every inch is built for an ultra-quiet, perfectly smooth ride thanks to an air suspension system that expertly “scans the road for imperfections thousands of times a second” according to GQ. Packed with unbridled power from a 6.7-liter V12 engine, the Cullinan is a force to be reckoned with.
Of course, this might explain why a standard package Cullinan costs $330,000 off the lot. Today, rappers and hip-hop artists are showing their success by not just buying a Cullinan, but customizing it as Drake did when he partnered with Chrome Hearts for a one-of-a-kind luxury design.
The Cullinan represents luxury auto with a nod to hip-hop success
Back in the ‘90s and early ‘00s, luxury sedans were the cars featured in hip-hop. In 2006, Jay-Z drove a 1996 Lexus GS300 on stage during a live performance celebrating the 10th anniversary of his debut album. Over the years, artists have set new trends, and luxury SUVs have emerged as the vehicles of choice.
Luxury brands who are known for sedans have not traditionally offered SUVs, but as demand has changed, so have lineups. Cue the Cullinan, which is the first SUV from Rolls. Bentley, Aston Martin, Maybach and even Lamborghini have also released SUVs, and Ferrari is reportedly launching one called the Purosangue in 2022.
While SUVs may be new to these brands, they aren’t new to the hip-hop scene. According to GQ, the Lexus LX450 featured in a song by Biggie, and Hov (Jay-Z) mentioned the Range Rover 4.0 and 4.6. DMX rapped about a Jaguar truck before they were even a thing.
Like high-end watches, clothing brands, and other physical accoutrement, luxury SUVs signify wealth. Their imposing size and sleek designs get them noticed, and brand association ensures recognition by peers and the masses. As GQ puts it, “What’s more of a stunt than dropping the cost of a house on your SUV?”
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