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Best Music Video Cars of the 2000s

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The 2000s, being the first decade of a new millennium, were a transitional period in many ways. Not only did they set the tone for the 21st century, they also represented a brand new era in terms of technological advancement and the degree to which we were all interconnected thanks to the internet. Cultural trends could be shared to wider audience instantly, and those trends began to catch on in new and unexpected ways (anyone remember the Soulja Boy dance?) With that in mind, the culture very much stands out as a unique moment in time.

And that goes for the music videos from the time too. Cars in music videos have been a staple since the concept was first invented, and the cars in 2000s music videos truly illustrate how all over the place this decade really was. A lot of the decade’s most iconic videos opted for vintage cars, in some cases going back to the 1940s and 50s, while other videos used nearly brand-new vehicles to usher in a trend that would span the next ten years and beyond. Crank up your headphones and come along for the ride as we cruise through some of the most memorable 2000s music video cars.

OutKast – “Ms. Jackson” • 1947 Mercury Eight, 1955 Cadillac Series 62

As we’ll explain later, we could have chosen almost any Outkast music video from this era to showcase an iconic car. But while many of the cars on this list are enjoyable if predictable classics, the 1947 Mercury Eight and 1955 Cadillac Series 62 stand out for being true antiques. Music video cars at their best accomplish two things: one is showing off the artist’s good taste, the other is suiting the theme of the video.

Lesser music videos fumble these goals surprisingly often, but this Outkast video directed by F. Gary Gray (Friday, The Italian Job, The Fate of the Furious) rises to the occasion. The video features the duo in a dilapidated house somewhere in the rural south. At the beginning, ‘Ms. Jackson’ drives by in her Mercury Eight while Big Boi meticulously cleans his Series 62, just before a big thunderstorm rolls in. The choices of these cars seem to suit the characters in the video while also making it feel both set in the past and of its own time (the vintage cars contrasting Big Boi’s modern Dallas Cowboys jersey, for example), something that Outkast would continue to do with videos for songs like “Roses” and “B.O.B.”

Sheryl Crow – “Steve McQueen” • 1968 Mustang Fastback

The music video for Sheryl Crow’s song “Steve McQueen” is a high-energy homage to the iconic actor and his legendary film, Bullitt. The concept revolves around Crow embodying the spirit of McQueen, as she takes on the role of a daring and rebellious driver. The video is filled with fast-paced action and thrilling car chases, reminiscent of the famous scenes from Bullitt.

Central to the video are the cars, which are carefully chosen to pay tribute to the ones featured in the film. A highlight is the appearance of a 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback, similar to the one McQueen famously drove in Bullitt’s car chase scenes. Additionally, a classic Dodge Charger makes an appearance, serving as a nod to the Mustang’s adversary in the film. Throughout the video, Crow and her band are seen performing the song with the same cool, unflappable style that Steve McQueen was known for, further cementing the connection to the film and its legendary star.

Audioslave – “Show Me How to Live” • 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T

The music video for Audioslave’s song “Show Me How to Live” is a thrilling homage to the cult classic film, Vanishing Point. The concept of the video is a high-octane journey that mirrors the plot of the movie, with the band members taking on roles that parallel the film’s characters. The video is a seamless blend of live-action performance and clips from the movie, creating an immersive experience that pays tribute to the iconic film.

Central to the video is the legendary car from Vanishing Point, a white 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T. The band members are seen driving this muscle car through desert landscapes, evoking the same sense of freedom and rebellion that the film is known for. The video also features other vehicles that are reminiscent of the era, adding to the authenticity of the tribute. Throughout the video, there are numerous references to key scenes from Vanishing Point, including high-speed chases and moments of introspection, capturing the essence of the film’s narrative. The video culminates in a dramatic finale that ties the music and the movie together in a powerful conclusion.

All American Rejects – “The Last Song” • 1973 Ford Mustang Convertible

This music video is all about fantasy vs. reality, and the way we might behave when no one is looking vs. how we present ourselves in public. Throughout the video, the band wanders around seemingly abandoned settings and, seeing no one around, each band member starts passing the time in whatever way seems most fun.

For lead singer Tyson Ritter, this involves trading out his 1987 Chevrolet Caprice Classic, itself a pretty respectable looking car, for a bright orange 1973 Mustang convertible. He then proceeds to do donuts all across an empty parking lot before eventually being woken from his daydream by a police officer. Back in his Caprice, he drives away despondently after a brief taste of excitement and freedom offered by the Mustang.

Blink 182 – “First Date” • First Generation Volkswagen Microbus Deluxe (aka Type 2 Samba)

You could make the argument that because this music video is set in 1974 and features era-appropriate vehicles, it should belong on a list of music video cars of the ‘60s or ‘70s. But given how over the top the plot of this video is, it could only ever have been made decades after the fact once hindsight and clarity made it easy to make fun of the styles and trends of the era.

One thing that we can’t make fun of though is the first-gen Volkswagen Microbus Deluxe that the band rides around in throughout the video. This model featured the iconic two-tone paint job and 23-window design that made this version of the VW Bus, already an icon in its own right, a legendary car. Although the van is of course of German make, in America it’s hard not to associate it with Southern California surf culture, and so the van feels right at home in a video that’s set in 1970s El Segundo (even if the video itself was shot in British Columbia). This video gets bonus points for its inclusion of go-karts as well as a 1969 Dodge Super Bee, a vintage muscle car not often featured in modern media, which we see in the backyard party scene.

Ludacris – “Southern Hospitality” • 2000 Cadillac Escalade

You can’t talk about 2000s rap music without talking about the Cadillac Escalade. That’s especially true for rap and hip-hop videos like Ludacris’s “Southern Hospitality,” which was one of the very first videos to feature the escalade. It’s especially appropriate that this video has one, considering how commonly people mistake the title of this song for “Cadillac Grills” thanks to the lyrics of its hook.

Ludacris raps the lyrics of this early hit from behind the wheel of his white first-generation Escalade. These early Escalade models were essentially GMC Yukon Denalis with Cadillac badging and upgraded interior features, and honestly it’s far from the most stylish car to ever grace the music video screen. To be fair to Ludacris, his model has custom tires, rims, and a custom grill, making it a lot splashier than the stock models from that time. The second-generation Escalades that would be released beginning with the 2002 model is more aesthetically distinct, and it’s probably what comes to mind when you think about escalades from this era, especially in music videos. Although these later models may have been more popular, Ludacris can always say he was one of the first to put the luxury SUV in a video.

Honorable Mentions

Outkast – “The Way You Move” & “Roses

Both of these music videos feature more great cars, especially the one-of-a-kind Cowboy Cadillac briefly shown at the beginning of the “Roses” video, which was loaned to the band by an Atlanta grocery store chain owner who had the vehicle built from the ground up.

Rihanna – “Shut Up and Drive

This video shares some thematic similarities with Outkast’s “The Way You Move” video, featuring an all-female mechanic shop dancing and repairing cars as the song plays, but Rihanna brings her own unique spin to the concept.

Rich Boy – “Throw Some Ds

Twenty inch rims were an obsession for rappers in the 2000s, and that fixation was epitomized by Rich Boy’s breakout hit. The video isn’t too elaborate in terms of its concept or setting, it simply shows a lot of Cadillac cars with big rims driving around the neighborhood, but that’s really all it needs to be.

Queens of the Stone Age – “3s & 7s”

In a lot of ways this video is just a slightly watered down version of the Audioslave “Show Me How to Live Video.” Like that video, this one is set in the desert, is drawing heavily from films of the 60s and 70s, and features a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T. The Challenger seen here, with its black and green paint job, is a little more unique, so it gets honorable mention status here.