Ice Cold: A Hıp-Hop Jewelry Hıstory by Vıkkı Tobak

In the world of hip-hop, dripping in diamonds has long been the status quo. From Run-DMC’s legendary medallions in the 1980s through the over-the-top grills worn by Megan the Stallion today, rap music’s biggest stars can’t seem to get enough of their prized jewels—and that relationship is precisely what author Vikki Tobak chronicles in her new book, out in October. With over 500 photographs of heavy hitters like Beyonce and Cardi B alongside personal essays by LL Cool J and A$AP Ferg, this detailed visual history of the blinged-out genre offers a fascinating take on how “ice” became a crucial part of hip-hop’s identity.

Spanning the history of hip-hop jewelry, from the 1980s to today, Ice Cold: A Hip-Hop Jewelry History is a stunning compilation of storytelling and visuals. Hundreds of extraordinary images of every major hip-hop artist on record celebrate how “Ice” has become a proclamation of identity and self-expression.

Starting with Run-DMC’s gold Adidas pendants and Eric B. & Rakim’s ostentatious dookie rope chains and Mercedes medallions, the jewelry then transforms from street style into a booming design culture. The hip-hop tradition of “show up and show out” reaches new heights with artists like Pharrell Williams, Jay-Z, Gucci Mane, and Cardi B, whose over-the-top pieces integrate unique pop culture references, unconventional materials, and enduring collaborations with artists like Takashi Murakami.

Author Vikki Tobak reveals – in great detail – the work of pioneering jewelers such as Tito Caicedo of Manny’s, Eddie Plein, and Jacob the Jeweler as well as newer artisans such as Avianne & Co., Ben Baller/IF & Co., Greg Yuna, Johnny Dang, Eliantte, and many more.

Ice Cold is a treasure trove of dazzling, inspirational style, featuring the work of leading photographers, including Wolfgang Tillmans, Jamel Shabazz, Timothy White, Gillian Laub, David LaChapelle, Danny Clinch, Chris Buck, Mike Miller, Phil Knott, Raven B. Varona, Al Pereira, Albert Watson and many more.

A foreword by hip-hop superstar Slick Rick and essays by A$AP Ferg, LL COOL J, Kevin “Coach K’ Lee and Pierre “P” Thomas of Quality Control Music take us on personal journeys into their jewelry universe.

As hip-hop made its way into the 1990s, the jewelry industry evolved along with it, birthing an array of custom, high-end jewelers who helped usher in the era of platinum and diamond-encrusted everything. Jacob “the Jeweler” Arabo of Jacob & Co., pictured here in his shop in New York’s Diamond District in the 90s, would become perhaps the most prominent designer, with appearances and shout-outs in more than 30 years’ worth of songs and music videos.

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