FEATURE: Funkmaster Flex, SHO ’Em What You Got

DJ Funkmaster Flex lives life in the fast lane. Since the mid-90’s, the Bronx, NY disc jock has been setting the tone for East Coast hip-hop, breaking records and dropping his patented “bombs” on songs by the likes of Wu-Tang Clan, Jay-Z and 50 Cent, as well as newcomers like Kid Cudi and Drake. While his Hot 97 radio show still remains the most popular mixshow in the Big Apple, Flex loves cars just as much as hip-hop, and both have become profitable ventures for him.

Auto aficionados make the pilgrimage to his annual Funk Flex custom car show each year and the DJ has even gone on to trick out rides for racing luminaries like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick. Now, Ford Motors wants in on the action. The automaker brand recently tapped Flex to put his Midas touch on their new 2010 Taurus SHO. He wound up adding a two-tone metal grey and black paint job, 22-inch wheels and Pirelli tires, as well as a Billet grille, custom door handles and his signature FMF logo to Ford’s base model. XXLMag.com caught up with Funk Master Flex at this year’s SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) customization convention in Las Vegas to talk shop.

XXLMag.com: The Ford Taurus hasn’t really been know as a hip-hop approved car…

Funkmaster Flex: No! First of all they jammed themselves up two years ago, putting a Taurus logo on the [Mercedes Benz] 500. That was the first loss [Laughs]. Now they’re redeeming themselves with this [2010 Ford Taurus SHO].

XXLMag.com: If they had already caught an L, what was it about this particular car that made you want to put your seal of approval on it?

Flex: If I like a body style and the way something is looking, then I’ll make myself a part of it. I like the body style of the [SHO]. I like the way it looks and then I got the opportunity to showcase it at SEMA. You know, because this is the World Series [of customization conventions] and I’m not gonna come to the World Series not looking right. That’s very important to me.

XXLMag.com: What did you do in terms of customizing the car?

Flex: You gotta get a good outside. Where you two tone is the hardest part. Where are you going to start and stop those lines? And that was key for me, to make sure I followed the bodylines… I made [the tail lights] all red, so you can only see the body of the car and then some red. We built [new door handles] to go over the factory ones, and we darkened out all the chrome. That gives it a darker look; it gives it a meaner look.

XXLMag.com: Right. The car stands out, but it’s very understated. It’s not too loud.

Flex: It’s not loud. It punches you in the face. It gives you that look; that dark look, that sinister look. But not that dark cab look, or undercover police car look. It’s dark and it’s sleek and it’s mean. I wanted to come with something just a little different.

XXLMag.com: How much damage is this going to be on the pockets?

Flex: Well, the SHO is expensive; it’s about $42,000 or $43,000.

XXLMag.com: That’s a decent price in comparison to the other cars you hear rappers name-dropping.

Flex: Oh, definitely. If you want to put your stuff together, it’s [more expensive] if you’re going to put more work into the vehicle as well… But with the SHO, you could just buy it off the showroom floor, put the 22’s on and you’ll look good. You’ll look very good.

XXLMag.com: How do you juggle the music and the cars? How do you manage blend those two worlds together so easily?

Flex: It’s like a hot record. You want to blast the hottest record and throw on the hottest record at the party, so it all has to coincide. You want to be in the hottest car and you want to make one of the hottest customizations and that’s what I dreamed of. So it all comes together. You don’t build [just] to build, you’re proud of what you build.

XXLMag.com: With the new generation of artists like Kid Cudi and Drake, the look of a rapper is changing…

Flex: Yeah, [it’s changing] from where it used to be, but the music is still powerful. It’s still making people dance. It’s still making people excited. It’s still about being clever and lyrical. You don’t have to be clever and lyrical to have a hit record, but the longevity is still about being clever with good records. I think it’s still there.

XXLMag.com: Yeah, musically perhaps but the way rappers of this generation dress and look is definitely changing.

Flex: But I think that comes from something else. What jeans are hot has changed. What shirt is hot has changed. What sneaker is hot has changed. I don’t know if the rapper is changing the style, I think that the kids in the street are dictating what you’re supposed to wear and then the rapper puts on the uniform. I’m not mad at that.

XXLMag.com: Here’s the thing, though, with this “new-look” rapper, do you see hip-hop’s car culture taking a backseat? Some of them are on skateboards now. To see Jay-Z on the cover of Vol. 2 with the Bentley was a big image and we aren’t getting that as much anymore.

Flex: I see what you’re saying. I don’t think there is a car of the hood right now. There is no voice. You have your muscle cars; your Mustang, your Camaro, you got your Challenger. For the hip-hop look of the game, the Range is still good, the Benz, the 7. Quiet as kept, that S500 Audi is serious. The hood is feeling that. Those are the top machines. Lexus is finished out here, the four-door, the Coupe, all that is a wrap.

XXLMag.com: What if you still got some years left on the lease?

Flex: [Laughs]. It’s not it. Of course they don’t make the Magnum no more. The Charger is great for baby mamas and bowling [Laughs]. It’s taken on a new life, it’s the official bowling car. It’s a renter all day; beat it in the ground.

XXLMag.com: What other car trends are played out right now?

Flex: I’ma tell you what people need to stop doing, what we have to stop practicing is, if you do not have a dual exhaust don’t pull up on me. I don’t wanna race. No single exhaust or six cylinders. We gotta have some rules out here. Don’t rev your engine with a small motor. There are a lot of rules that should never be broke. Other than that I think the Taurus is a good four-door piece. —Rob Markman

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  • http://www.justice.gov.za GO-Getta’

    All i want is the money/cars/clothes & hoes/Guese just wanna be sucessful

    Diss me u will never hear a response from me.

  • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

    As a former Ford employee I gotta say it’s about time SHO got it together. I’m loving this 2010. I had a ’98 SHO and that was almost the hottest car I ever drove (Mustang rules).

    Guess I’ll have to Bing the picture since Flex is standing in the way.

  • Grimey G

    What the fuck is “hip-hop’s car culture?” Do you mean that rappers all like to get nice cars and customize them up to wazoo and show them off and shit? Is that really a “culture”? I don’t think Jay-Z on the cover of the magazine with a bentley affected anybody’s day whatsoever. Maybe it amused them cause Jay’s lips are so goddamn big but thats it.

  • Tony Roma

    Get it straight Flex, The SHO is a 6 cylinder DUHHHHH!

    • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

      What’s up Tony?

      I think I know why Flex looks down his nose at other 6 cylinder engines. The new SHO engine is supposed to deliver V8 power (365 horses) with some kind of eco-friendly V6 fuel economy. Dual exaust, too.

      Looks good on paper, but we’ll see.

  • Pingback: Daily Recap – 11/9/09 at SNICKA

  • http://federalranga.blogspot.com Federal Ranga

    First of all they jammed themselves up two years ago, putting a Taurus logo on the [Mercedes Benz] 500.

    Damn, XXL… get it together… I’ma die hard Ford Fan and won’t let that typo slide… the FORD 500 was rebadged the 2008 Taurus, not the Mercedes.

    But MAN, drive one… I swear… the 2008 Taurus was a very solid car which improved on a lot of the mistakes the 2005-2007 500 had from the jump. But this new Taurus is LIGHT YEARS ahead. By the way, Sync is SICK.

    (Mustang rules)
    Co-sign like a mufucka… My nigga, you gotta get behind the wheel of that new 2010 Shelby GT 500. Shit is the business. I’d hate for a nigga in a 2010 Camaro SS to pull up next to me…


  • balaramesh

    i wonder if flex took any payolla to endorse cars?!?

  • Mr. North

    Now they just need to do something about the Impala that fell way the fuck off from that one that came out in ’98.

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    Don’t lie. Ford jammed themselves up when under-covers used them Tauruses…


    I had to use that. But the new SHO looks clean. I’d take it as a present, wouldn’t but it.

    • http://federalranga.blogspot.com Federal Ranga

      C’mon $yk, my nigga, that’s not fair… y’know that it was back in the late 90′s once the Crown Vic beat out the extinct Caprices that the gov’t contracted with the Blue Oval for interceptors, but found the new model Taurus (99′-06′) a better fit for undercover cars… Pure coincidence…

      Oh, trust me… you’d buy THIS SHO…


      • $ykotic/Don McCaine

        YEEEEEAAAAHHH…No co-signs for 5-0 riders…

        Naw just kidding. Just did more recon anyway it looks good on paper. As coincidental as this is my girl just smashed my ’93 Armada 2 weeks ago. The bags activated so it’s trash, but I got 8K back for the next one. She’s good too(that was cold).


        BTW about time you did E11…

        I will go test this Taurus out. Besides I’m tired of the Chevy Aveo I’ve got on rent for the month. I want a big boy truck, so maybe the F series truck will be appealing. I’ve been a Nissan man for years.

        Y’all are more than welcome to drop some suggestions. I’m nowhere close to deciding and have no need for a rapper car. I like my freedom.

        And nothing too small that can’t carry fertilizer or a dead elk. $yk can make up to a stack & change off of hunting & his livestock…

        p.s. I tell cats out here them Crown Vics & Caprices they drive would be shot @ on sight in NY…

        • http://federalranga.blogspot.com Federal Ranga

          Oh, you know I had to drop it… I only paused On Yo Ass!!! because I don’t have a laptop anymore… So I went old school on em at the gas station.

          Suggestions? You wanna roll with the big boys? Get an F-Series. I’ll roll out two stats to sell you…

          The Ford F-150 (not even going into the Super Dutys) is the number best selling truck in America 32+ years… IN A ROW AND the best selling vehicle in America. Not car, VEHICLE (meaning car, truck, SUV, it makes no difference), my nigga. A nigga with some bread to break like you needs to step into a King Ranch Edition SuperCrew… you’ll never go back to Nissan again for a truck. Roll with the perennial, my nigga.


  • hotwheels

    I fox wit that SHO

  • http://head8ache.com Giovanni Larocca

    I legal immigrants were causing an increase in crime, taking jobs that would once have gone to longtime residents, and changing the character of their quiet city.