Story: Adell Henderson
Photography: Rayon Richards
Call a spade a spade. The people’s champ Paul Wall is Houston’s ambassador of parkin’-lot pimpin’. Still, Mike Jones, who put the country onto “tippin’ on 4-4s” (if you need clarity on that phrase at this point, perhaps Cosmopolitan would be a better rag for you), is also a connoisseur of Houston’s car culture. “It’s so hot down here, everybody likes to shine,” says Jones of his town’s infatuation with steel on wheels. “Then you got the diamonds everywhere, and the grills. It’s the show-me state just like St. Louis [Missouri]”. With Houston hosting this year’s NBA All-Star game, many ballers will be taking flight, showing off their verticals at the Rockets’ Toyota Center. But Mike Jones, whose sophomore LP American Dream delivers more reality rap and country car jargon, promises equally exciting four-wheel, gravity-defying tricks on Screwston streets.
RIDES: Car culture is huge down in Houston. Is it safe to assume that you had it bad for fly rides ever since your Hot Wheels days?
MIKE JONES Everybody wanted to have a hot car when they were growing up. I just wanted something to go from point A to B, no matter what it was. But as I started making more money I started liking more and more types of cars.
I’m sure you’ve had quite a few big-boy toys, before and after the fame. Give us a rundown of the Mike Jones Greatest Whips Collection.
My first car was a [Buick] LeSabre. It had a nice little paint job on it, but I went from that to the Lincoln Town Car on some 22-inch hundred-spokes. It was clean. Then I went to the ‘94 Impala SS, then I went to the truck, then I went to the Bimmer. Now I’m looking at the Hummer, I’m looking at the 6-Series and I’m looking at either a Lamborghini or a Ferrari. I love the cars, man.
Between the candy paint, neon lights and pop trunks, H-Town cars are more noticeable than Yao at a midget meet-and-greet.
In some states when it’s hot people don’t come outside, but down here when it’s hot that’s the perfect time to pull out the candy red, the candy blue and the candy orange cars.
Does it ever trip you out how quickly a throwback can become more valuable than a new whip?
Let’s say you buy a 600 Benz, change the rims, and roll around on that one all the time. You might sell that car if the price is right. But if you got that old school, put the butter seats in there with the rag top, the grille, the wheels and the candy paint, you’ve already put about $30,000-$40,000 into it. People ain’t gonna wanna sell them type of cars.
Damn, car customization is like a down payment on a house…a couple if you’re talkin’ about Houston real estate. Is there any ride out there you could take off the lot and roll without having to change a thing?
I saw a yellow Lamborghini Murciélago with no rims on it. That’s a car that I’d take straight from the lot. It was a convertible, too, that ain’t even hit the streets yet—plain jane. I’ll get that one before I get a Phantom, man.
Hold up! A rapper who doesn’t have a Phantom at the top of the car food chain? That’s like ya man Dubya saying something introspective.
The Phantom is luxury, I’m not saying it’s not,but it’s more of a hood car, ‘cause everybody has it. You might see a 19-year-old pull up in one, but everybody ain’t in the Lambos like that.
Hold up, y’all got 19-year-olds boss ballin’ in Phantoms down there?
People doing it independent down here, that’s the whole thing about Houston. From rides to grindin’, everybody is independently doing it. You might see a 17-year-old pull up in a BMW 745 and some people might be turning 35 before they get one. Young kids make
the old-schoolers feel bad.
If going the indie route got y’all stacking chips like that, what’s your motivation for hooking up with a major label?
Everybody knew I had the underground locked down, and a lot of other cats had the underground locked down. Trying to reach that worldwide audience, the question was, is the world gonna accept me like the underground did? I didn’t know. But when you come out and you move so many units and people everywhere treat you the same as your underground fan base—it’s priceless.
I’m sure you had to brush more than a few haters off while letting the world know who Mike Jones was.
It just feels real good to know that the people who denied Mike Jones now have to look up everyday and know I’m the only one that went platinum in H-Town. I’m the only one that did stuff that people said couldn’t be done. Hate on me for the new album so I can have something else to talk about, and then I’ll go get a brand new ride.
-MARCH/APRIL 2006 issue of RIDES Magazine