When rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine was robbed, shot within the leg and kidnapped two weeks in the past in Crown Heights, the 22-year-old misplaced some signature jewellery — together with, in line with insiders, a shimmery My Little Pony pendant (topped with rainbow-dyed human hair) and a jewel-encrusted rendering of Billy the Puppet from the “Noticed” films. They might sound like mall trinkets from Claire’s, however these customized items price round $50,000 every.
Tekashi is hardly alone in coveting super-pricey bling that seems to be designed for tweens. Whereas old-school rappers confirmed their success by sporting diamond-laced greenback indicators and Mercedes-Benz logos, the brand new pattern is items primarily based on cartoon characters and goofball icons out of popular culture.
On a latest Friday at Avianne, a West 47th Avenue jewellery store that’s a favourite of Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj, Toronto-based rapper Killy, 21, dropped by to choose up his newest accent: A 3-inch excessive pendant of the Pokémon character Gengar. It’s lined in some 1,600 diamonds with rubies for eyes.
“To most individuals that is only a Pokémon, but it surely was an enormous a part of my childhood. It made me into the individual that everybody loves,” mentioned Killy. “Plus it appears to be like so f–king good.”
A bit like Killy’s would fetch $30,000 to $100,000, relying on the scale, complexity and worth of the jewels — however the rapper was coy as to what he paid for his.
Additionally at Avianne was Levi Carter, a 24-year-old Bronx rapper whose 2017 monitor “You Not Gang (Remix)” that includes Lil Yachty has racked up tens of 1000’s of streams on SoundCloud.
Carter was retrieving a diamond-festooned Rolex, however has gem-encrusted cartoon desires of his personal.
“I’m gonna get [a pendant of] Riley from ‘Boondocks’ — we’re the identical particular person,” he mentioned. “It can remind me of a time of innocence.”
Whereas these colourful items catch eyes and generate headlines, they will additionally appeal to the flawed type of consideration.
“The extra diamonds you get, the extra you’re a goal,” warned Ezra Averill, a supervisor whose acts embody Carter and Tay-Ok, the incarcerated Dallas rapper accused of taking part in a house invasion and deadly capturing. “Nevertheless it’s all a part of the sport.”
Upon his consumer’s anticipated launch, Averill added, “Tay-Ok is hopefully gonna get a ‘Rugrats’ [pendant] as a coming-home current.”
A part of the sport is also to fee one-of-a-kind items which are greater, wilder and extra difficult than what different rappers rock.
Take 6ix9ine’s swiped “Noticed” pendant, which was made by jeweler JimmyBoi Phan of Houston. Phan, who’s quickly to ship an upgraded model of the piece (together with a spinning 69 attraction to interchange the $150,000 one which was stolen), views the “Noticed” character as next-level bling: “There are mechanisms contained in the mouth, together with a spring and a washer, which permit it to open and shut.”
Christian Johnston and Dan Folger, companions within the Miami jewellery line GLD, crafted the My Little Pony for 6ix9ine and are at present making a pendant, for a rapper they can’t identify, that takes issues fully excessive. “Will probably be a cranium head, battery-operated, with a mouth that strikes up and down and eyes that gentle up,” mentioned Folger. The worth tag? “Round $65,000.”
In the meantime, judging by the GLD guys’ latest pendant for 6ix9ine, the Brooklyn-born rapper could be outgrowing his predilection for nostalgia.
“It says ‘Tr3yway’ and has blood-red-colored jewellery enamel dripping from it,” mentioned Johnston, noting the identify is a nod to Tekashi’s supervisor’s crew.
“It can have 3,000 diamonds and be 3¼ inches tall, which doesn’t sound like quite a bit till you could have this heavy piece round your neck.”
Sans chain, its prices $40,000.