With its deep southern roots, the Donk car culture today is much more than just a couple of oversized wheels and diverse color schemes.
Donking is one of the most controversial car trends out there… Ever. It is all about driving a car out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary. There is nothing subtle about it, it is loud and flashy. However, this does not mean that it can’t be classy.
As a phenomenon, it slowly crept in from the outskirts to the American South mainstream. Donking is deeply immersed in the southern culture, there are multi-layered influences between this car trend, music, slang, fashion… and while if taken separately, the elements might make very little or no sense to some, if you look at them as a whole, it all starts coming together.
In the following, we will take a closer look at how donking was created and how it grew to become the popular trend that it is today.
But first, let’s get one thing straight, what is donk and what is not…
Donk or Not
Donking is not a stand-alone phenomenon, it is part of a family of hi-risers. These include cars that have been modified to increase the distance from the ground, by adding super-sized wheels. Mostly American models are targeted for such alterations, but it is a pretty inclusive trend. As customization branched out, so did the terminology; hi-risers can be labeled as donk, box, or bubble, based on the model and body.
Although donking embraces a variety of car models, the signature look is that of a 1971-1976 Chevrolet Impala. This is where it all started. In fact, some trace the term back to the “Impala” logo, which was endearingly referred to as “donkey”; others believe that the inspiration came from the resemblance of a “donked” car with a donkey. However, Caprices with the same production years, are also part of the VIP donk circle. Over time, the term outgrew its cradle and is now popularly used to describe any vehicle with oversized wheels. Much to the dismay of hi-risers enthusiasts.
How It All Began
Where did it all begin? While nothing is set in stone when it comes to donk, most enthusiasts trace the origin of the trend to 80’s-90’s Miami. In the early days, a donk was specifically regarded as the car of a hustler. After all, they had the caching for the bling. While some saw this association as cool, others would disregard both the ride and rider. This would be a stereotype that would very slowly fade away, over the years.
Wheels are the first things that roll into one’s mind when talking donk. And rightfully so. They are the crown jewel. The bigger the wheels are, the better. While the starting point is around 20 inches, in some cases it can even venture beyond 30 inches. But size is not all. One can customize wheels in so many ways. The color scheme, just to begin with, is so diverse; you could go for any shade, turquoise, hot pink, or gold… Or what about some spinning wheels? These represent an alternative to the static oversized wheels. The dazzling effect is achieved by heavy-duty roller bearings coupled with an independent cover.
Although the oversized wheels might be the starting point of a donk, it is just the beginning. Over the years, the customization of the car rapidly evolved. Enthusiasts like to challenge their creativity and further embellish their ride with loud colors, a cool stereo system, maybe some neon lights? You name it, they did it.
A Blossoming Culture
Donking is not a stand-alone phenomenon, throughout its evolution it became intertwined with different cultural scenes. Presently it has a particularly strong foothold on the music scene, namely in: Miami, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and the East Coast. A donk is the ultimate accessory for a rapper in these areas. In this picture, the ride is but a piece of a larger picture, a subculture characterized by a hallmark style that transpires in fashion, slang, music.
A pretty big name in the donk community is Trick Daddy. This rap ambassador is a homegrown Miami boy who fully embraced this controversial car trend and all affiliate links. He even has a song about his Donk. Give it a listen here.
The Donk Culture Today
Over time, donk seeped into the mainstream under a variety of forms. There are several platforms dedicated to donk culture. For example, the website donk planet, initiated by Ree, has the mission to share the lifestyle with anyone that might be interested. What is more, a close-knit community of enthusiasts formed around it, who are united by their interest and passion.
Oh, and of course, there are different events that might be of interest to an enthusiast. Since 2015 there is the annual Donk Day, Donk Contest in Austin, Texas, or Donktober Box Chevy & G-Body Round Up in Shreveport, Louisiana. But there is also Street Beast II, which brings together donk and drag racing. Sounds pretty exciting, right?
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