When it comes to hip hop and the culture now at 50 years since its inception, it would be impossible to not acknowledge the jewellery, ‘bling’or ‘ICE’ associated with it. Whether it’s diamond-encrusted grills, oversized “truck” style chains, bust-down Rolex and Patek Philippe watches or a Tiffany necklace, jewellery is a cornerstone of hip-hop culture.
Culture Journalist and Producer Vikki Tobak felt the need to tell this story, which is well documented in her new book “ICE COLD: A Hip Hop Jewellery History” . The book uncovers the history of hip-hop jewellery spanning from the 1980’s to today, with an exceptional collection 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 flamboyant dookie rope chains and Mercedes medallions, the jewellery 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.
The books introduction 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, will take you on the personal journeys into their jewellery universe. Author Vikki Tobak reveals in great detail the work of pioneering jewellers 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 features the vision of dazzling, inspirational style by some of the world’s leading photographers, that include Wolfgang Tillmans, Janette Beckman, Jamel Shabazz, Timothy White, Gillian Laub, David LaChapelle, Danny Clinch, Chris Buck, Mike Miller, Phil Knott, Raven B. Varona, Al Pereira, Albert Watson and more
Vikki Tobak no stranger to HIP HOP culture, got her start as a culture editor for Paper magazine before going to Payday Records/Empire Management, where she worked with iconic groups including Gang Starr, Jay-Z, Mos Def, Showbiz and AG, Jeru The Damaja and other hip-hop legends. Her work has appeared in Complex, Rolling Stone, The FADER, Mass Appeal, Paper, Vibe, i-D and is also the author of Contact High: A Visual History Of Hip-Hop and the curator of the books traveling exhibition of the same name.
The forthcoming book Ice Cold: A History Of Hip Hop Jewellery published by Taschen is scheduled for release September 7, 2022 for some locations and in other regions available October 2022.