The Maybach car is dead. Daimler AG, the German manufacturer that produces the ultra luxury vehicles, will take the car off life support and cease production with the intention of totally wiping out the brand by 2013. Early indications are that financial problems were behind the Maybach’s demise; it’s been reported that only 200 models were sold on average per year. The passing of the Maybach is a devastating piece of news that has brought the grief-stricken hip-hop community to communal tears.
The Maybach was born in 1909 to parents Wilhelm and Karl Maybach; the latter also acted as the Maybach’s director. It made its public debut in 1921 at the Berlin Motor Show. But while the Maybach brand claimed German heritage, it found renewed success as a slick sedan status symbol after relaunching in 2003 and catching the eye of hip-hop’s flashiest new millionaires. Jay-Z was one of the first to celebrate the ‘Bach’s rebirth, rapping in “Change Clothes” about how “… the Maybach coupe is back.”
For rappers, the Maybach’s sleek shape steadily became the ultimate indicator of a bulging bank balance. Entry to the exclusive Maybach members club started at $375,000, although Lil Wayne‘s long-time mentor and Cash Money Records owner Birdman was reported to have once spent $8 million on a 19-foot-long Maybach Excelero. (The Excelero was never made available to the public, pulled before mass production started.) Weezy himself chose to hop in a Maybach on his ride home from his spell at Riker’s Island prison; his Young Money princess Nicki Minaj rolled around with Baby in a ‘Bach for her “Y. U. Mad” video and label mate Drake bragged about sending “the Maybach out the neighborhoods” on “Dreams Money Can Buy.”
But it was 2008 when the Maybach announced its formal engagement to the hip-hop community, with the rotund rapper Rick Ross titling a song on his Trilla album after the new object of his affection. That track, “Maybach Music,” was soon followed by a very public display of their bond: Ross named his record label the Maybach Music Group, and cemented the beloved union by basing the MMG logo on the Maybach’s own hood ornament. Just as the Maybach endeared itself to the hip-hop society upon its 2003 reintroduction, so Ross successfully recast himself as a high-end drug pushing rapper after a prior life as a corrections officer.
Despite Ross’s blissful relationship with the Maybach, things weren’t always peachy between the brand and its rap suitors. Earlier this year, Jay-Z and Kanye West famously desecrated a Maybach in the Spike Jonze-directed video for “Otis.” Their move to customize the car into a Mad Max-esque incarnation smacked of tough love, yet in rhyme, ‘Ye was still moved to boast about possessing a “Maybach bumper sticker read, ‘What would Hova do?’” With the Maybach’s death, some commentators have suggested that “Otis” was a premonition the brand should have paid greater attention to — reports allege that by the time of “Otis,” many high-profile rappers had already been caught cheating on the Maybach with the fancy French-born Bugatti.
The Maybach leaves behind the most expensive rap video of the year and one totally inconsolable man with a big bushy beard.