Ice Cold | Photos celebrating hip-hop’s love of jewellery

Ice Cold. A Hip Hop Jewelry History is a new book examining how hip hop music and culture has redefined the world of jewellery and is increasingly shaping modern style.

David Corio

Predominantly made up of photos, but consisting of essays from the likes of A$AP Ferg and LL Cool J, Ice Cold is the latest work from American-based culture journalist Vikki Tobak.

Spanning from the 1980s to now, the book charts the styles of different generations of stars, following rap music’s rise into mainstream popularity – and its influence on mainstream culture as a result. 

Some form of ‘bling’ has long been synonymous with rap musicians. Its actual substance has changed, however, and Ice Cold shows the changes from diamond-encrusted grills, to oversized “truck” style chains, to Rolex watches. What unites the jewellery is its overtness. It’s in your face and it’s meant to be.

This is shown in the hundreds of photos that make up Ice Cold. A Hip Hop Jewelry History. 

From industry pioneers such as Eric B. & Rakim, to modern superstars like Kanye West and Migos, to the late fashion designer and DJ, Virgil Abloh, these are just some of the names featured in Tobak’s definitive guide. 

ice cold The Notorious B.I.G, by Michael Lavine

The Notorious B.I.G, by Michael Lavine.

As well as the musicians, Tobak shines a light on innovative jewellers who have made the pieces possible. From the early days and the likes of Tito Caicedo of Manny’s and Jacob the Jeweller, to newer stars such as Ben Baller.

Some of the biggest names in modern photography also feature. Wolfgang Tillmans, Janette Beckman, Jamel Shabazz, Timothy White, Gillian Laub, David LaChapelle, Danny Clinch, Chris Buck, Mike Miller, Phil Knott and Raven B. Varona all have their work appear in the book.

Header Image: Eric B. & Rakim. Credit – David Corio

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