Hip hop isn’t a 90’s thing like you may have thought. Oh no, it’s much older than that. You can trace the roots of your favorite genre all the way back to the same decade where Led Zeppelin reigned supreme.
When hip hop exploded onto the scene, it brought with it a sense of fashion that was as unique, catchy, and fresh as the music itself. Not only did hip hop take influence from music genres all over the world to build its new sound, but it did it with attitude. Hip hop quickly became the voice of a generation — of anyone who was marginalized, unheard, and wanted a platform to express themselves in a new and creative way.
The pioneers of the early 70’s and beyond left their mark on the world. We still hear it in the music today, and we still see it in the jewelry our modern artists wear.
Cuban link Chains (also known as Miami Cuban links) are an evolution of the hip-hop jewelry movement that began in the late 70’s to mid-80’s. In fact, many still consider Cuban link necklaces as a component of hip-hop fashion. Nevertheless, their classic, sleek design is no way limited to the likes of Jay-Z and Daddy Yankee!
By most accounts, hip hop got its start in New York City. More specifically, the Bronx. The area often played host to block parties. These parties would often feature DJs who used to sample beats from disco, funk, R&B, and soul music. These short beats and mashups were already popular in Jamaica, so there’s a line of thinking that has Jamaicans bringing the early hip hop style with them to 1970’s New York. Jamaican music often featured chants and short bursts of lyrical content over samples, which could have been the genesis of rap.
The Jamaican style came with it, too. The Caribbean look quickly found itself right at home in the Big Apple, which saw beaded chains, bracelets, beanies, caps, and the like surge in popularity. In particular, yellow, black, green, and red were popular colors, just like they were and are in Jamaica.
Right here at home, running suits, bell bottoms, and massive “disco” sunglasses were all the rage. If you want to see a personification of the classic Bronx hip hop pioneer look, take a gander at one of the oldest heads in the book: none other than DJ Kool Herc.
Herc’s clothes, music, and jewelry were all the rage.
Cuban links became a way to showcase your street credibility and your success. Today, Cuban Links make a great fashion choice, while also providing a great way to invest into gold. While the origins of cuban links may be blurry, what we know for certain is that the rise of hip hop definitely gave way to more bold and statement jewelry like the cuban link chain.