The industry of rap covers not only the music segment but other deep nooks and crannies it’s hard to imagine it even refers to. It’s quite difficult to wrap your head around the fact that seemingly brutal rap culture plays one of the leading roles in fashion. It gets even harder when you realize that the “Best Dressed Man In The World” by Esquire was voted none other than the rapper, Pharrell Williams. The fact that the style from the poorest streets rules the world of high-end jewelry is actually quite surprising. But the sections of the largest, heaviest and most expensive jewelry in the Guinness World Record is filled with rappers and their trinkets, proving them to be the experts in this branch. That’s why it’ll be quite handy to know what jewelry they choose and take a page out of their book.
The most prominent pieces of jewelry favored by rappers are chains and pendants. That’s the place where flight of fancy has no equal. Let’s start with the chain styles frequent for hip-hop fashion.
The Cuban link chain is one of the most popular styles among rappers. It gained its fame in Miami in the 1970s thanks to the rap culture and remains the trendiest type of chain necklace even in 2022. The twisted flat oval links is the pattern recognizable all over the world. The Cuban link chain has many properties that ensure and explain the love of rappers. First, it’s incredibly strong and durable, the quality that is rather essential for the rappers’ jewelry. It should be able to handle the weight of pounds of bulky pendants and carats of stones, and the construction of a Cuban chain ensures its strength. Second, the pattern of the necklace provides it with the chunky look, an important criterion for the rappers’ jewelry. It’s no secret that in the hip-hop fashion the more massive the jewelry is, the better. The Cuban link chain performs this function perfectly well, as it’s the kind of jewelry that won’t fail to be noticed. Third, the shine. The sleek links of the chain are made in a way to give off maximum luster. The rappers’ Cuban necklace is probably the best example of the diamond chains for men, as iced out with gems only adds to the shine and glamor it already possesses. It rightfully occupies the place of the timeless rap jewelry classic, displaying the status of the wearer as a solo necklace, performing an essential role in a layered chain look and becoming a perfect base for rappers’ pendants.
Another well-known chain often seen on the necks of rich and famous hip-hop celebs is the rope chain. It was made famous by the rappers Run D.M.C. and Eric B.& Rakim in the 1980s. The rope chain generally possesses the same set of features the Cuban one has, being strong, reliable and shiny, but while the Cuban link chain is simply the statement jewelry, the rope necklace is the statement jewelry with intrigue and hypnotizing flexibility. This style became a reason for a severe chase among the rappers, whose purpose was to become the owner of the most expensive and notable chain. The rope chain is the base for numerous famous and scandalous pendants. For example, the legendary Lil Jon’s “Crunk Ain’t Dead” pendant which gained the “largest diamond pendant” of the Guinness World Record was hanging from the rope chain. And its weight is no joke: 5.11 pounds of 73 carats of diamonds, 3 756 genuine round-cut white diamonds in total, set in 18k yellow and white gold. The price of such a piece is $500,000. This should give you the idea of how much the rope chain is trusted and valued among the rappers.
The rope chain also provides space for creativity and demonstrates an intricate look when different colors of metal are used in its pattern. It becomes vivid and adds an unusual texture to the image.
There’s one more very interesting chain, which gained endless devotion among the followers of the rap culture, and it is known under several names. The most popular one is the Mariner chain, some know it under the name of Gucci chain, and recently I came across the description which referred to it as the “coffee beans”. As we’ve already mentioned Pharrell Williams it would be fair to say, that the comparison concerned his 18 link iced out with diamonds, rubies and emeralds Mariner chain, that was holding a pendant featuring the logo of the Billionaire Boys Club, also inlaid with diamonds. By the way, the cost of it is said to be $1 000 000. While someone recognizes the pattern of the Mariner chain coffee beans, it actually shows oval links with a vertical bar inside. The area of the link provides a lot of space to be covered with diamonds or other precious stones, and the strength of the necklace shouldn’t be even discussed as it was made after the heavy-duty chains used for anchors. The Mariner chain is eagerly worn by rappers, and it occupies one of the top positions in the list of rap jewelry.
We’ve already mentioned some famous pendants, but there’s more. So much more! Why are rappers so fond of massive bulky pendants? There are two main reasons: it’s a very noticeable item, the larger the pendant is, the catchier it gets; it can be exclusive and unique, providing the ability to make anything into a pendant. Literally. On the one hand, that’s a perfect option for a poor boy who lived on the street to get whatever toy his heart desires, to catch up on everything he’s missed. On the other, the biggest and priciest pendant demonstrates how successful he’s managed to become. If you’re craving for examples of how far the rappers’ imagination go, here are some bright items.
Yung Berg’s iced out transformer mask that cost him $70 000. Quavo’s huge diamond pendant picturing himself as the “Ratatouille” character holding Remy the rat was bought by him for $250 000. He also possesses the “Uka Mask” pendant paved with diamonds, referring to Uka Uka, the “Crash Bandicoot” series’ villain. Other fans of depicting themselves in jewelry are Lil Pump and Rick Ross. While the iced out pendant of Lil Pump is rather humble and is estimated at $300 000, the one with Rick Ross’s face costs a fortune of $1 500 000! The scandalous “Big Ass Chain” pendant owned by T-Pain weights 4.5 kilos and is claimed to cost $410 000 or, as the hip-hop star puts it, “32 cars”. There seems to be no limits for the pendants the rappers are able to introduce, as long as they have imagination and money. We may only hope that after such purchases the gentlemen still have money left to maintain their jewelry, or at least they’ve read about the at home diamond cleaning.
As to other jewelry popular in hip-hop fashion, there are bracelets, wristwatches, rings, grills… Bracelets more often repeat the style of the chain necklaces and tend to be massive and numerous. The rings on the rappers’ fingers are also bulky and large, frequently the single ring may be designed for two fingers at once or depict the brass knuckles occupying several fingers. Needless to say, that it all should be generously covered with diamonds to scream about status, wealth and success.
Now you know the preferences of the crème de la crème of the rap culture, brave enough to repeat?