Why hip hop jewellery is a large part of the culture
Whether you started listening to hip hop when Public Enemy were spitting their words of wisdom or you only got into it in the 2000s you will probably know that gold chains and bling seem to be an essential part of the unofficial hip hop uniform.
Where did the obsession with expensive jewellery begin?
Hip hop has been around since the 1970s but in the early days it was a lot more laid back. DJ Kool Herc’s parties made it popular and then Kurtis Blow became the first gold-selling hip hop artist. He marked the occasion by posing on his album cover wearing a number of gold chains. A trend was born. As the music evolved and every new rapper put their mark on it so too did the jewellery. The chains got bigger and more expensive and many artists paired their classic gold chains with grillz, rings, bracelets and watches to match.
More than a fashion statement
Gold chains and bling rings are a large part of hip hop culture but their roots are about more than fashion. Early hip hop was a means for disadvantaged and oppressed people to express themselves. It tackled social and political issues in America and encouraged people to fight for change. Many rappers and hip hop fans could barely afford to eat let alone buy gold and diamonds. So when the music made emcees rich it was flaunted to show the world that they had escaped poverty and made it. Expensive jewellery is a symbol of wealth but for many hip hop artists, it also symbolises ambition over adversity.