Ice Cold: A Hip-Hop Jewelry History


By Vikki Tobak (who has written for Paper, Vibe, i-D and more), Ice Cold: A Hip-Hop Jewelry History is a photo-heavy, historically comprehensive compendium of hip-hop jewelry over 40 years. Starting in the ’80s, the book features icons like Grandmaster Flash and Run DMC, and photographs by Lisa Leone and Jamel Shabazz. There’s information on specific pieces—like Radio Raheem’s rings in Do The Right Thing (which came from the Fulton Mall) and LL Cool J’s Jame$ ring (made by Tito Caicedo at Manny’s New York)—along with street shots of anonymous individuals in unknown jewelry. Tracing the shift from jewelry symbolizing status and wealth to its links with family, business, marketing and loyalty, the book moves into the ’90s with images of Tupac, Missy Elliott, TLC, Da Brat and others. Not only exploring changes through history, Tobak also writes about the various styles across the country as well as the rise of different pieces, from medallions to three-finger rings and grills. Featuring a foreword by Slick Rick and essays from A$AP Ferg, LL Cool J and others, the anthology charts and celebrates jewelry design but also, more significantly, a culture.