Artist: Book ReviewTitle: Bling: The Hip-Hop Jewelry Book (Book)Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Sidik Fofana
Reggie Osse and Gabriel Tolliver have dropped the Bling: The Hip-Hop Jewelry Book (Bloomsbury), a glamorous pictorial of Hip-Hop’s ice age that will easily gain entry to any bling hall of fame. The book spares nothing to the imagination and its glossy pages and witty captions all but match the shine of the pieces profiled in it. Bling doubles up as a who’s who of Hip-Hop jewelry featuring people like Jacob the Jeweler, Eddie Plein, and other notable brokers who get countless lyrical footnotes from their adoring rap clientele.
Now for every stunner sporting diamond studs, there is an activist rightfully warning us of the bloodshed that occurs over them. Bling does make mention of Sierra Leone’s civil struggle over “conflict” diamonds with some fine print powdered throughout the book, as well as a “How to Buy Diamonds That Are Conflict- or Blood-Free” kit as an appendix. Nevertheless, the rest of Bling does what it sets out to do: mesmerize readers with endless pages of sparkle. There is Ghostface’s golden eagle, Kanye West’s Jesus Walks piece, Juvenile’s canary gold grill, Bishop Don Juan’s pimp cup, and enough nameplates to give your average eyewitness an easy time on the stand.
Bling also has intriguing did-you-know-thats on the history of jewelry. So, if you didn’t know that the Chinese used to eat gold as food decoration, please refer to page 49 and save the fact for an awkward party moment.
For what it’s worth, Bling is a fun book. It can only be dangerous if taken seriously. Otherwise let the pages glisten (except for those with nasty close-up of celebrity grills). You won’t find intellectuals reading this book at the nearby coffee shop but you might find Flavor Flav’s entourage reading it on his coffee table. Excessive jewelry may not be the wisest thing to spend your cash on, but it is amusing to gaze at it every now and then.