Today, there’s no denying that Hip Hop and jewelry are ubiquitous. And the relationship between the two has grown stronger over the years. The culture that was birthed from stories of struggle is now in a space to celebrate its progression – and status. And rappers will continue to use jewelry as a symbol of success.
From Kurtis Blow sporting multiple gold chains on the cover of his debut album to LL Cool J’s gold rope chains, Notorious B.I.G.’s massive gold Jesus piece designed by Tito the Jeweler, to iconic record label logos embossed in gold and diamonds – gold chains and Hip Hop became synonymous.
Early pioneers of the culture would have never imagined this shift. From what started as a creative medium for the oppressed, subjected and under-represented, to a full-blown culture that boasts its success and wealth with hefty gold chains.
But before all of this even started – did you know that the earliest record of gold chains takes us back to ancient Egypt? Legend has it that they wore gold chains to scare away evil spirits and for good luck. Many wars were also fought over gold – it represented strength, wealth and eternal love. Fast forward a couple of hundred years and the gold chain is now seen as a status, worth, time and dedication symbol.
There are a few things that make a Hip Hop artist a dope - solid rhymes, a relentless flow, swagger - and Pt, Ag, Au, and C. For my geeks who got that, I appreciate you. For the ones still scratching their heads, that’s platinum, gold, silver, and carbon, which when compressed, forms a diamond. Elements that are synonymous with Hip Hop.
From the very beginning, gold has been a staple.
Move forward a few more years Hip Hop became an organized industry gold moved from a symbol of status to moving billboards for the artist. Take, for example, the Roc-A-Fella symbol worn by Jay-Z. Now, in the present, gold is still prevalent but it's not just worn as a chain - you can see it in artists mouths as "grillz" have become increasingly popular, or wrapped around their wrists, embedded in their eyewear, shoewear, etc.
Times have changed but one thing still stands -- Hip Hop and gold will forever be indebted to each other. Think as the music as a form of the struggle and the gold is a representation of escaping it.