Hip hop and bling go together like ham and cheese. It’s impossible to think of one without the other. Cash is one thing, but to be able to wear your money puts you at a level far and above people that can only flash stacks. Money is temporary, bling is a lifestyle.
So where are the biggest hip-hop stars getting bling’d out?
One of the most well-known jewelers is Jacob Arabo, otherwise known as Jacob the Jeweler. While the average person may think that his wares are gaudy, Jay-Z, Nas, and Puff Daddy have worn his unique jewel-encrusted gold, as well as diamond chains, watches, and rings. While Jacob got sent upstate from Manhattan in 2008 for money-laundering, he was released in 2010, and continues to cater to those looking for his exorbitant pieces.
Queens native Greg Yuna switched from being a mortgage broker to a jeweler. He picked up his first celebrity client in Floyd Mayweather, and coined his nickname — Mr. Flawless. He’s since gathered clients in Rick Ross, 50 Cent, and Raekwon. What sets Yuna apart, though, is how thoroughly urban his makes are. When you wear Yuna, you’re wearing a piece that has the soul of the boroughs.
Rafaello & Co, on the other hand, provide jewels for anybody that wants to assert how rich and famous they are. From 11 pound gold Cuban Link chains for Jay-Z, to Saudi royalty, to a $500,000 diamond ring for a DJ Khaled publicity stunt, the Gabriel Jacobs-helmed store exists to make waves in the best way possible.
Down South in Houston, T.V. Johnny (aka Johnny Dang) made his mark in the 2010 Nelly hit “Grillz,” which featured a Johnny-made Grill on Paul Wall. Ever since, he’s been called upon by Lil Jon, David Banner, Rick Ross, and more to provide his signature jewelry. His fame has hit the point where he appears not just on reality shows, but in rap videos themselves.
Ben Baller knew the hip hop game before he became a jeweler. Starting as a DJ for Dr. Dre, and playing a hand in getting Jay-Z signed, Baller is based in Los Angeles. He lives up to his name, with luxury cars, a huge house, and a client list that would give a heart attack to most: Kanye, Drake, Nas, Frank Ocean, the Kardashians, and more. His company IF & Co has been profiled from the LA Times all the way to the Wall Street Journal.
Who would you like to produce your bling? Where are you shopping? Share this article, and let us know in the comments!