As a rapper, it is important to be able to back up the amount of brags you spit within a song. If you’re bragging about your glimmering grills or your (sometimes) over-done chains on a track, you better be sure you have the jewels to back it up. Here are some of the most notable pendants, chains, and grills in hip hop.
When the over-sized chain phenomenon was taking over the hip-hop scene in the mid-2000s, Pharrell rocked this stand out piece. His circular pendant depicted Pharrell and band-mates Chad Hugo and Shae Haley, and was hanging on a large, colourful linked chain, with blues, pinks, and yellows.
Price tag: $1 Million
Best lyric: Quarter million jewellery from Las Van Dome/ Diamonds on plat’, like glass and chrome
If he’s being featured on a classic reality TV show or dying the fur of his dog a deep shade a blue, Riff Raff lives for the spotlight. In April of 2014, Riff showed off his new “aqua berry diamond shark teeth grill,” courtest of Johnny Dang and Paul Wall.
Price tag: $21,000
Best lyric: All this jewellery that I’m flexin/ Shut down the 5-way intersection
In the same year he dropped his critically acclaimed album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West also debuted quite the interesting chain and pendant. The pendant resembles the ancient Egyptian deity Horus, and the chain it was hanging on looked like an oversized bicycle chain. I guess the chain would have to be quite big in order to hold something that large. Seriously, how much does that thing weigh?
Price tag: $300,000
Best lyric: I had a dream I could buy my way to heaven/ When I awoke I spent that on a necklace
Apparently since 1987, Flava Flav has been wearing a clock around his neck 24/7. Over the years the extravagant clock necklace has become a staple in pop-culture, becoming a notable accessory for Halloween costumes. If you’re wondering how he got 20 women to date him on his show, look no further than the 100 clocks that he owns.
Price tag: Unknown, unfortunately, because we’re in the market for one. But we’re thinking we can DIY our own with $16 for an Ikea clock and $2 nylon cord.
Best lyric: First of all, Flav never get stuck/ Still wear my jewels that’s trunk
How much better would elementary school have been if you could swap out your braces with diamond grills? Lil Wayne did this in 2009, when he was once quoted saying that he eats too many sweets like Skittles and Starburst, which apparently left his teeth in bad shape. Lil Wayne skipped the dentist and went straight for permanent diamond grills to cover up his existing set of chomps.
Price tag: $150,000
Best lyric: OK, let’s talk about this ice that I’m carryin/ All these karats like I’m a f—kin’ vegetarian
T-Pain, one of the auto-tune pioneers, decided that if he was going to jump into the big-chain game in 2009, he had to make sure his chain made a statement, literally. Was he being ironic? Was he poking fun at the sometimes overdone jewellery that other rap artists decide to blow cash on? He was just being T-Pain.
Price tag: The chain cost over $400,000 and probably more in trips to the chiropractor.
Best lyric: I didn’t have diamonds in my chain/ That sh-t be on time like a train
Rick Ross brought self-adoration to a new level with this chain, and we can’t tell if he did it in a good way or a bad way. This extravagant chain is simply a gold and diamond version of Ross’ face, complete with the signature sunglasses. Just another reminder of why he’s known as the boss.
Price tag: $1.5 million
Best lyric: Went from Benihana to Bimini in Bahamas/ Ten chains, no luggage, I’m a big timer
Nelly does grills right. They aren’t over the top, but they are nothing to scoff at. In the video for his song Grillz (which features Paul Wall, the man responsible for a lot of grills on this list), Nelly’s icy-blue set of teeth are a stand out, and Paul Wall’s grills that spell out his name are quite the spectacle. His verse in the song is fire, too.
Price tag: Probably free, courtesy of his pal Paul Wall.
Best lyric: I got like platinum and white gold, traditional gold/ I’m changin grillz errday, like Jay change clothes
The Olympics are probably the last spot you’d expect to see somebody flaunting a diamond-filled mouthpiece. American swimmer Ryan Lochte was the topic of discussion following his victory in the 400 metre individual medley at the 2012 Games in London. Lochte earns some extra points for being the only non-hip-hop celebrity with a grill decent enough to make the list.
Price tag: $25,000
Best lyric: It’s a retainer filled with diamonds (Not a lyric, but he’s also not a rapper.)
Being known for his rather colourful antics, it makes sense that Tyler, the Creator’s chain is the definition of colourful—we would expect nothing less from the self-proclaimed Pharrell stan. The chain features rubies, sapphires, white diamonds, and a 1.5 carat amethyst. This piece took Tyler eight months to design, and took jeweller Ben Yang two weeks to make.
Cost: Unknown, but the way this piece glimmers, we’re assuming it cost six figures.
Best lyric: You a new slave, I’m an old one/ Thanks to Ben Yang, still walk around with chains on
The large medallions appearing on the cover of Eric B and Rakim’s debut album Paid in Full aren’t as expensive or extravagant as they are iconic. They were a spectacle for every hip-hop fan, especially in the late ’80s. I mean, the money spent on those Mercedes Benz chains could have probably been used to buy an actual Mercedes Benz or two.
Price tag: $100,000 each. $200,000 total.
Best lyric: To pose, show my rings and my fat gold chain/ Grab the mic like I’m on Soul Train
We kicked off this list with Pharrell, the most colourful man in music, so it is only fitting we end with some Pharrell jewellery as well. Last November, Pharrell took to Instagram to debut his ROY G. BIV grill, and it definitely makes a statement. This out of the ordinary set of grills is everything you would expect from Skateboard P. This sure does bring a new meaning to “taste the rainbow.”
Price tag: Probably as much as he could get out of that pot of gold.
Best lyric: Liberace chains, hold my neck like an anchor/ Love to my fans, you bought it so I thank ya