Album: Late Registration
Producer: Kanye West
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
When Kanye’s sophomore album, Late Registration, dropped in the summer of 2005, Houston was running hip-hop. Grills, fifth wheels, and candy paint dominated the rap landscape. Never one to be behind on a trend, Kanye made sure to craft his own nod to H-Town, the syrup-influenced “Drive Slow,” which even included chopping and screwing at the end.
A southern-fried sample of Hank Crawford’s “Wildflower” provided the perfect backdrop for Kanye’s then-protege GLC to show off his slow, crawling drawl while flexing his pimp hand. Kanye’s blood cousin Tony Williams handled the hook, while Paul Wall—who had the internet going nuts at the time—provided the official southern stamp.
If you grew up in Chicago, or the Midwest, you knew someone like Mali, the person Kanye raved about in the first verse. Someone who was a bit older, cooler and more advanced than you. He had the Starter jacket, the car, and was thorough enough to walk around the mall with his hat cocked to the side. A tough guy who had all the ladies. But what you probably didn’t know is that Mali is a real person. Fun fact: Mali can be seen driving Kanye around in the “Drive Slow” video—he was tricked into it by Kanye and Hype Williams. Mali also owns Kobe Wheels, a rim company that makes about 80 percent of the chrome rims on the market. Drive slow, indeed.