Jewelry appears to have become an essential part of Hip Hop culture. Not all Hip Hop artists may flash bling the way Jay Z and Kanye West do, but it’s safe to say that it’s rare to see a Hip Hop artist that doesn’t wear any jewelry at all.
From gold to platinum, Hip Hop artists have loved jewelry right from the 70s – when Hip Hop first began. Like the beats in Hip Hop music, the jewelry too has transformed. But there are some classic pieces that will always be around.
Let’s take a look at some classic Hip Hop jewelry:
1) Gold chains
Whether it’s chunky short chains or thin long ones, all Hip Hop artists have gold chains. Gold chains have been a part of Hip Hop right from the beginning. Kurtis Blow, one of the pioneers of Hip Hop, sported several gold chains on his self-titled album. Blow was actually the first Hip Hop artist to sell a certified gold (500,000) record so it was fitting that he donned shimmering gold chains on his album cover.
It wasn’t long after, that gold chains became a symbol of success in the industry. Since then, Hip Hop artists have been using their jewelry to boast their success and wealth.
2) Flashy watches
By the time the 1980s hit, Hip Hop had evolved from its disco inspired roots to a more serious art form with a focus on flow, rhythm and beat.
Hip Hop artists used their lyrics to convey inspiring, relatable stories that reflected their harsh realities. It became much bigger and eventually made its way into the mainstream.
As the genre got bigger, so did the jewelry. Hip Hop jewelry now consisted of glitzy rings, Cuban links and dazzling watches – the type that were never seen before.
3) Four-finger rings
In the late 80s, LL Cool J introduced the world to the first four-finger ring. In attempt to out-do LL Cool J’s four-finger rings, Biz-Markie took it a step further and flashed the very first fully-iced, four-finger ring.
4) Medallion pendants
In the 1990s, established Hip Hop artists had launched their own production companies. To show loyalty to their produces, Hip Hop artists like The Notorious B.I.G. donned enlarged pendants—medallions—that represented their production houses. To this day, medallion pendants remain a big part of the Hip Hop scene.
5) Jesus Pieces
Other than his unique lyrical flow, his medallion pendants, The Notorious B.I.G. also made Jesus pieces famous. Biggie’s huge Jesus piece was designed my renowned Hip Hop jeweler Tito The Jeweler and it happened to be the last chain he ever wore. The Jesus piece is considered a good luck charm by many Hip Hop artists.
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