Story Toshitaka Kondo /// Photography Brian Harkin
“A Bay Bay” sounds more like a toddler learning to talk than the catchphrase that made Chris “Hurricane Chris” Dooley Jr. the most famous rapper to own a Honda Element. The 18-year-old Shreveport, Louisiana, native hasn’t been driving the Element or anything else as of late, though. Chris’ main form of transportation has been Delta Airlines due to his top-10 smash, “A Bay Bay,” (which pays tribute to Shreveport’s local legend DJ Hollyhood Bay Bay) and promotion of his debut, Ratchet 51/50, which features E-40, the Game and Jadakiss and production from Mr. Collipark. Maybe after the album drops he can get back to the ’75 Chevrolet Impala, ’69 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, ’72 Chevrolet Impala, ’78 Cadillac Fleetwood and ’07 Mercedes Benz S550 sitting in his driveway. What? You really thought he was gonna be ridin’ around in an Expedition with the roof missing?
What was the first whip you ever got?
A Hyundai Elantra. I wasn’t the average 15-year-old. I had a whole life, and I was moving around so much. I would be back and forth to the studio, so I learned how to drive early, and [my parents] started trusting me with the car. Pretty soon, I got a car and started driving. I always wanted to drive when I was little. I used to sit on my mama’s lap and hold the wheel all the time.
How would you describe the car scene in Shreveport?
When I was coming up, they were driving Caprices, Grand Marquises and Impala SSs. The thing for a youngster was to save up his little quick cash, get a Caprice, get the windows tinted and put a fresh paint job on it; you can’t tell him nothing. In Louisiana, it’s basically the same kind of cars [as anywhere else], but their whole way of flossing cars is different. The biggest you’re gonna see the rims in the ’hood is, like, 26s or 28s. In Miami, I done seen rims that look like they’re 40 inches. Also, they ride ’Lacs out here. It’s a big thing. You can be in a Cadillac and nobody can compare
their car to your car.
In a YouTube video, you talked about “Fun Day” in Shreveport. Can you explain what that is?
We got a street called Crenshaw, but the real name of it is Jewella Street. We call it Crenshaw because it reminds you of the big street in Cali. Everybody brings out their cars on Sunday. There are a lot of convenience stores on the street, so
everybody just pulls over with their doors open and music blasting to mingle. Crenshaw is a narrow street, so most of the time, before it starts getting too crazy, the police will shut it down.
Your ’69 Cadillac is Candy Purple. Where do you get your cars painted?
A dude in Shreveport named Carlos has a building called Ray’s where everybody goes. You design it yourself, and he’s gonna get your paint looking wet depending on the mixture of the paint, the designs and how long it’s gonna take him to do it. Some people want to get Daffy Duck drawn on their cars.
The interior of your ’69 Caddy is distinct as well.
That one’s got the peanut butter interior. I got the Candy Purple fiberglass console running through the center; it’s same color as the outside of the car, on the inside. Ya feel me? Like, the dash, the steerin’ wheel, all that’s Candy Purple. It’s on 24 inches, chrome DUBs.
So how much paper did this set you back?
The inside was like eight stacks, eight grand. I found that car in Shreveport. Actually, I got it from the dude that paint cars, Ray.
So he also sells cars?
Yeah, he’s always workin’ something like that.
’Cause you said you like to buy and flip cars, right?
Yeah, I’m into that; I do that a lot. You might see me in something green one week, then I might be gone, and then you’ll see me in something blue the next week.
So does that mean cars don’t have sentimental value to you since you’re flippin’ them?
Nah, I got the S550 Benz with the Strut kit on it, 22-inch Asantis, I leave that like that; that’s mine.
When you said “flip,” I thought you meant buy it and sell it.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I ain’t gonna sell the Benz, though.
I mean, I will if someone wanna buy it and pay what I paid for it. I’d sell it and go get me another one. But I ain’t tryin to sell that.
How about your Honda Element? That’s an interesting choice for a rapper.
Cadillac comes out with so many different [Escalades]. I ain’t seen nobody in a tricked-out Honda Element. We put it on some 22s, dropped it to the ground, put a system in it, tinted the windows and put screens in there. Then we blacked it out to where you couldn’t even really see the Honda print, so when that was coming at you, you didn’t know what kind of SUV it was. Man, I ain’t drove that around in so long. I haven’t rode in none of my cars in about five months.
We know why, so we’re all out of sympathy. In “A Bay Bay,” you mention an Expedition with the roof missing. Did you ever have one of those?
I said it in a freestyle at a club a week before I made “A Bay Bay” and the whole club went crazy. So we tried to make that happen. We had an ’06 Expedition. I didn’t go too stupid with it because, without the roof, that was what was going to get the attention. I think it was on 26s, and I put some chrome bars on it. The roof missing was a couple grand. I hopped in it real quick, but it wasn’t safe. I sold it, so I didn’t lose all the way. When I talked it, it sounded good, but when I actually got in, it was crazy.