ENGLISHTOWN, New Jersey — The way these rappers plead their cases, they all should have tried out for the “L.A. Law” reunion special.
Wyclef Jean swore up and down he had the goods to stun hip-hop’s #1 Stunna, Baby of Cash Money. Busta Rhymes told everybody that compared to his toys, theirs were busted. Baby contested that Busta and ’Clef were cheats. At stake, a year’s worth of bragging rights.
“They violated,” Baby protested backstage at Saturday’s second annual Funkmaster Flex Celebrity Car Show. “I could have brought a jet, a G-4 here if they wanted to pull off expensive surprises.” (Click for photos from the event.)
Celebs such as DMX, Lil’ Kim, Queen Latifah, members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Foxy Brown, Cam’ron and the Diplomats and the aforementioned ballin’ blabbermouths all gathered at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park to either compete or just see who had the flossiest vehicles on display.
“This is crazy,” Jadakiss said early in the day after admiring Busta’s arsenal of steel on wheels, which included a silver 2003 Mercedes Benz G-Wagon, a yellow Hummer H2, a red Ford F150 Harley Davidson truck and two Lamborghini Murcielagos — one lime green, the other bright orange, and each with a toy replica of itself inside.
“This makes me want to go to the studio [and] go up to Interscope and open up about three or four more budgets,” Jada continued, marveling. “I see how it’s going down. There’s some beautiful machines out here. Busta looks like he’s holding it down, too. It’s real close between Baby, Busta and ’Clef. That’s about it right now. I think the trophy’s going to float around between any of them three right now.”
Soon after Jada, his Ruff Ryder family member DMX made his way in to sniff out what he was up against. X had Chevrolet Impalas from 1963 and 1964, and one had a picture of Aaliyah spraypainted on the hood.
“I ain’t seen nothing yet,” DMX said of the cars being shown off. “I’m going to check out my joints. My mans and them are already here, and they already told me the competition is none. You can eat off the bottom of my car, dog. You could flip my car upside down and eat off chrome.
“I’m a connoisseur, man,” X continued. “I’ve got a few joints, man, from like 1930 to like 1970. [My favorite one] is not finished all the way, but it’s my ’57 Cadillac Fleetwood. From the back door to the tail is chrome.”
While X loves the vintage rides, ’Clef decided to make his car show appearance a mixture of old-school faves like a pink Cadillac Eldorado, modern-day staples like his Bentley and Ferrari F350, and futuristic-looking hot wheels like a motorcycle wrapped in Spider-Man colors and the McLaren F1, which has a steering wheel and driver’s seat placed in the middle and passenger seats on the left and right.
Wyclef was so confident that he would wrest the car show title from last year’s winner, Baby, that he was in full Don King promotional mode. He had what seemed to be an endless array of models sporting thongs, short-shorts and T-shirts with his name printed on them. And when Baby and the Cash Money Millionaires arrived (late) and stood on top of the uniformly painted red Hummer H2, Mercedes G-Wagon, Cadillac Escalade and a Corvette with Louis Vuitton signature leather on the roof and interior, the long-haired music man wanted to shut things down.
“The #1 Stunna has just been terminated,” ’Clef, standing in the back of his monster truck, shouted into the mic across the car area, which was covered with a tent. Baby, without a mic, suffered through Wyclef’s playful tormenting and gloating. Later, at the backstage area, the platinum-mouthed CEO had plenty to say to ’Clef face to face.
“I’m still the man, and I’m gonna be the man regardless,” affirmed Baby, who also accessorized his cars with ostrich interiors and rims that went as big as 25 inches. “They after my neck, but listen, I came with my game right. Since I’m the champion, I made the rules. I said, ’If you come with any Lamborghini and Bentleys, you’re disqualified,’ because I wanted to keep this one for the ’hood. I wanted to do it for everybody. Bentleys, we’d be going out of the category, ’cause I could come in with five Bentleys. I wanted to show artistic this year. We buy $40,000 cars, $50,000 cars like that and let the neighborhood join in.”
“Everybody wants to go for Baby,” said Flex, the show’s host, conceding the obvious. “What I like is that it’s friendly competition, and it’s men who love their cars and love to put them together. What’s starting to happen as we go in the years, it becomes more like traditional car shows. We have judges that will check your vehicles. We have people that will see whether it’s a go. And the creativity gets bigger and bigger.”
So does the amount of money the stars empty out of their vaults. A member of ’Clef’s camp said the refugee rhymer claims to have spent over $3 million on the vehicles he brought. He wasn’t taking any shorts.
“What happened is, this year, I’m coming for the champ,” Wyclef said. “Watch my move — let me show you my move for the Birdman,” he added, laughing, and threw a flurry a phantom punches toward the ground, much to the amusement of Baby, who was standing nearby with Busta Rhymes.
While competition among rapper’s rides took most of the spectators’ attention, Foxy Brown, who took the stage after Cam’ron, concentrated on battling on the mic.
“Hands down, I’m the best!” shouted the BK master blaster during her set. “Like I ain’t the bitch who had Jay-Z and Nas and now I got Puff Daddy, holla!” she carried on. “The imperial serial rap murderer/ I’m jacking a beat, call me the track burglar/ Every time I spit I’m committing a crime/ This bitch don’t say sh– in her rhyme.”
By this time, Lil’ Kim, whom many felt was the object of Fox’s indirect disses, was standing inconspicuously backstage hearing the venom. It was nothing but war chants from the crowd by the time Fox performed “Oh Yeah,” with the entire audience crying out to coincide with the chorus. Baby took time out from his car battles to get onstage with Foxy and Loon for the remix to “Stylin’,” which closed out the lady killer’s show.
When the car show closed out, Wyclef lived up to his prophecies and new champ was crowned.
“Baby is a veteran when it comes to this, but once in a while a young kid got to come along and knock him out,” ’Clef continued with his jaw-jacking. “Flex, give me my trophy. [The] F1 McLaren’s doors do not go up like a Lamborghini. The car opens like the Birdman’s wings.”
Unfortunately for Baby, the Birdman’s wings were clipped this year.