Diamonds and hip-hop music have been inseparable for decades, and a new YouTube Original documentary series called Ice Cold executive produced by Migos rappers Offset, Quavo, and Takeoff takes a closer look at the role diamond jewelry has played in lives of music’s most influential talents.
There’s no shortage of exceptional diamond jewelry in the four-part series, as the biggest names in hip-hop all get candid about their love of diamonds and what their favorite pieces represent. From Vintage Patek Philippe watches and bust down Audemars Piguet timepieces to layers of diamond-encrusted chains worth millions, artists like Lil Yachty, Talib Kweli, French Montana, Mustard, J. Balvin, and Lil Baby give viewers insight into how their jewelry and their work intertwine.
The first episode of Ice Cold titled “The Promise of Hip Hop Jewelry” explains how many Black Americans, historically shut out of traditional wealth building opportunities, turned to jewelry as a means to define the “American Dream” on their own terms. With the rise of hip-hop in the 1980s and the head-turning style of pioneers like Slick Rick, rap music and dazzling jewelry became symbols of success for a new generation.
“If you’re a male rapper, you have to have jewelry. If not, I’ll judge you,” admits Yung Miami of the rap group City Girls in the documentary, which also looks at how in hip-hop culture, jewelry is a sign of masculinity as well as accomplishment. “The more you’re feeling yourself, the more you just want to put into your ice and more into your craft,” says Quavo in episode two, which examines the role diamond jewelry, specifically custom pendants, can play in connecting artists with their record labels, creating a sense of family and ultimately inspiring their music.
The series also includes interviews from jewelry industry insider Ben Baller, historian Imani Perry, record label executives, and music icons from the past and present. Watch the full series here.