This past weekend, inside a pop-up gallery in SoHo, a black Maybach was on display. This wasn’t just any black Maybach. It was doorless and roofless, and yet its console remained as pristine as the storefront’s white brick walls. It was, in fact, the same souped-up car from the video for “Otis,” the first single off Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne.
From Friday to Sunday, a man stood guard outside doors decorated like the album’s cover and permitted up to 70 people at a time to ogle this gutted vehicle — and the phrase on its rear, right next to a German license plate.
“WHAT WOULD HOVA DO?” it read. This was, of course, a bumper sticker.
Even if you don’t know Yeezy from Weezy, something about Maybachs and bumper stickers might sound familiar. Earlier this summer, not long before the NBA draft, Hofstra guard Charles Jenkins was asked why he didn’t have any tattoos. “You ever see a bumper sticker on a Maybach?” said Golden State’s second-round pick. Soon enough, the quote spread. Come to think of it, no one had seen a bumper sticker on a Maybach.
Then came “Otis.” Jenkins purchased Watch The Throne on iTunes the night it became available. He was driving in an Infiniti when he first heard Kanye brag in verse about the Maybach’s bumper sticker. Now, we’re not saying the lyric refers to Jenkins’ quote. But it raised an obvious question: Is it time for him to visit the tattoo parlor?
“Never,” he told me Sunday morning.
Actually, Jenkins said, he picked up the phrase from his Hofstra roommate, Nathaniel Lester. “That’s something he always used to say,” Jenkins said. “Anytime you asked him why he doesn’t drink, he would say, ‘Would you put the wrong gas in your luxury car?’ So if you asked about tattoos, he would say, ‘You ever see a bumper sticker on a Maybach?’ That was the first thing that came to my mind.” A few days later, when the quote was published, Jenkins woke up with so many text messages that he went online and found the quip attributed to him. (Lester didn’t mind, Jenkins said.) Someone even sent the Warriors rookie a 2008 photograph of a Maybach plastered with Shepard Fairey’s iconic “Hope” image of Barack Obama.
But now Jenkins has a curious problem. Anyone who visited the Mulberry Street space actually has seen a bumper sticker on a Maybach.
“I gotta think of a car that didn’t come out yet,” Jenkins said.
He promised to call back when he came up with a suitable replacement. About 30 seconds later, the phone rang.
“I got the car,” he said. “Bugatti.”
Contact us at email@example.com