Ice Cold. “A Hip-Hop Jewelry History” presents 40 years of iconic hip-hop images through fascinating stories of its megastars: from Run-DMC, Tupac, Jay-Z and Migos to lớn Cardi B. It highlights the first glitterati of the rap scene: the gold chains, the oversized diamonds, the bling bling that dazzles the United States from West to East Coast.

Bling bling jewelry is lượt thích ‘Superman juice.’ It is Slick Rick và his double gold chains with large links, imperial red crown và precious stones. It is the đá quí grillz smile. It is the iconic image the book Ice Cold begins with. It is also the image of success, especially that of a rapper, bathed in gold, diamonds và all smiles.

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Vikki Tobak, the tác giả of this thick book published by Taschen, stated: “When the street is your runway, you wear your world on your body: your name, your neighborhood, your astrological sign, your crew affiliation, your nod lớn Nubia in your earrings.”


” Greed is Good “

Since the 1980s, the poor neighborhoods of thành phố new york have been devastated by social chaos và the crack epidemic. They have been an ideal nest for violence and excessive wealth accumulation–that is, through drug trafficking.

Those were the early success stories of poor African-American men. Their example, portrayed in stereotype-filled films lượt thích “The Red Nights of Harlem” by Gordon Parks or “Super Fly” by Gordon Parks Jr, became hip-hop’s first sources of inspiration. They created gangsta rap, a particularly violent rap with codes based on the nighttime world. That included settling accounts, prostitution, money dealings and, of course, drugs.


Thus, a hierarchy of authority and influence took shape among rappers. Some became untouchable, lượt thích 50 Cent, who does not hesitate khổng lồ play on his reputation as the former trigger-happy dealer to lớn gain respect.

Even worse than that is chain snatching, which has become a hot trend và helps climb the power nguồn ladder. Extorting a gold chain, the symbol of the artist’s ascendancy, is the sign of ultimate humiliation. Lượt thích a coup d’etat, the nguồn is reversed, and the street cred is no longer respected. Lowering the curtain is the over of a career.


A Golden Story

Vikki Tobak gives voice to lớn rappers throughout Ice Cold. She specifies the origin of the links that connects African-American rappers khổng lồ gold. After centuries of slavery và a traumatic post-colonial legacy, the cinematographic mã sản phẩm of blaxploitation is gaining popularity. It tries khổng lồ portray black characters in positive roles on the big screen khổng lồ reconcile a part of America.

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Hip-hop, therefore, stands out as an allegory of a long-lost heritage. The popular music genre was meant khổng lồ rehabilitate the cultures và traditions of formerly colonized countries. Rappers consider the gold comeback as the legitimate heritage of their ancestors.

Slick Rick describes his rapper’s jewelry as “my jewels are my superheroes suit, an extension of my beautiful brown skin. It’s a gift from ancestors who sat on thrones and reigned with rings & rocks the kích cỡ of ice cubes.”


Johnny Dang, the King of Bling, reflects this social recognition in his work as a goldsmith in the United States–a practice shared among rappers. By giving themselves royal titles like King T, Queen Latifah or even Slick Rick, The Rich Ruler, the “young kings” aspire to lớn resemble ancient African kingdoms và empires.


For Slick Rick, showing off his gems is his way of contributing to lớn African-American society. He believes in recovering goldsmiths’ work in old communities, thus reviving sophisticated ornaments.

” All eyez on me

Ultimately, the primary objective of the artists remains the same: “Above all, not be unknown,” says journalist Rob Marriott. There is no big difference between Elizabeth Taylor & Slick Rick, except for their artistic universe.

Rappers go beyond their status as mere customers & become jewelry experts. “I spent hours in jewelry stores inquiring about the pieces I liked,” says rapper Kash. “I wanted lớn know everything about diamonds và order the exact thing I had in mind to lớn my jeweler.”

Despite controversial beginnings, hip-hop artists perceived as whimsical high rollers ended up winning over a growing audience. Hip-hop amazes và unfolds as the most popular musical genre. It is played and listened lớn everywhere & no longer belongs to lớn a particular culture born in the Bronx.

It has found its way into advertisements & cinema, seducing luxury jewelry stores. Major jewelry houses started collaborations that rappers had never even dared khổng lồ imagine: A$AP Ferg became the image of Tiffany, Cartier sponsored Kanye West, etc