Anyone who has ever seen an old episode of MTV Cribs or just listened to the lyrics of countless rap and hip hop songs over the years can tell you that artists have an affinity for automobiles - often expensive, flashy ones that get name-checked to a beat.
But when it comes to many of these artists, calling them “gearheads” would be a stretch. That’s because in many cases, these high dollar machines are simply a means of showing off wealth and success. They can afford high end cars, so they buy them. There isn't necessarily a lot of automotive passion there.
Atlanta-based rapper Killer Mike is not one of those people. Along with being a political and social activist and half of the popular hip hop duo Run the Jewels, Mike is legitimate gearhead - and his vehicle of choice is the American muscle car.
Mike has several all-American performance machines in his stable, but it’s the 1990s Chevrolet Impala SS that holds an especially big place is in heart - thanks to its sinister, no-nonsense looks and sleeper status.
And when he came upon the chance to pick up a black ‘96 model in California that amazingly had just 1,000 miles on the odometer he jumped at it. After all, how many chances do you get to buy one of your dream cars in essentially brand new condition?
Mike digs cars that sound mean and go fast, but given the unicorn nature of the low mileage Impala and his appreciation for the SS in stock form, he decided to keep the modifications subtle and true to the car’s “Darth Vader” roots.
Belltech suspension gives the Impala a more aggressive stance, and a Flowmaster exhaust system helps give the factory-equipped LT1 small block a tougher sounding note as it moves down the road.
Last but certainly not least are the wheels - a set of 21” Technica series rollers custom-built specially for the project by Mike’s friends at Forgiato Wheels in LA. With black faces and deep chrome barrels, the wheels look right at home inside the Impala’s bodywork.
Despite the rarity of the Impala, don’t expect Mike to keep the car locked up in a garage its whole life. No matter their body style or place of origin, dream cars are meant to be driven and that’s exactly what Mike plans to do. We wouldn’t expect anything less from one of America’s most genuine artists and and automotive enthusiasts. Whether, it’s in the studio, on stage, on the streets, or behind the wheel you can always count on Killer Mike to keep it legit.
VEHICLE 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS (Just over 1,000 original miles)
ENGINE Factory LT1 fuel injected small block, Flowmaster exhaust system
DRIVETRAIN Factory 4L60E automatic, factory rear end with positraction
EXTERIOR Factory original with OEM black paint
INTERIOR Factory original
SUSPENSION Belltech lowering kit
WHEELS & TIRES Custom-built 21" Forgiato Technica series with black centers and chrome lips, Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires