Recession Melts Rappers’ Ice

The Wall Street Journal had an article on the cover today about how rappers are dealing with the recession. Yeah, I subscribe to WSJ; don’t make fun. But it’s kinda funny to dedicate an entire article about rappers and their chains haha. Interesting article overall though… here are a couple excerpts (read the whole article here):

In an attempt to keep up appearances, celebrity jewelers say rappers are asking them to make medallions with less-precious stones and metals. Some even whisper that the artists have begun requesting cubic zirconia, the synthetic diamond stand-in and QVC staple.

Rapper 50 Cent has relished the chance to accuse his musical adversaries of not glittering like gold. During a radio interview, the artist, whose real name is Curtis James Jackson III, taunted rapper Rick Ross for wearing faux and rented jewelry. “Everything that you see has to absolutely be fake,” said Mr. Jackson. Rick Ross, whose real name is William Leonard Roberts II, has denied the claims. Mr. Jackson didn’t return requests for comment.

Mr. Arasheben designed the colossus of hip-hop jewels three years ago for rapper Lil Jon: an enormous gold necklace that spells out “CRUNK AIN’T DEAD” with 3,756 round-cut white diamonds (Crunk is a southern rap subgenre that Lil Jon — real name, Jonathan Mortimer Smith — has struggled to keep alive). The neck-straining piece, which weighs more than five pounds, was recognized in 2007 by Guinness World Records as the largest diamond pendant on Earth.

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“Times are hard, ain’t nobody rocking it like that anymore,” says rapper and record executive Bryan “Birdman” Williams, who co-founded Cash Money Records in New Orleans in the early 1990s with his brother, Ronald “Slim” Williams. The independent label has sold more than 45 million albums. 

The founders of the record label claim that its most famous artist, Lil Wayne, coined the term “bling” during a recording session to give a sound to blinding opulence. The word entered popular usage after the hit “Bling Bling” by then Cash Money artist B.G. and was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2003.

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Now the recession has so damped the extravagance that a Web site called sellyourgoldteeth.com is doing brisk business buying grillz for meltdown value. “It’s a sign of the times,” says Mark Porcello of Porcello Estate Buyers, which runs the site.

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