Hip-Hop’s Most Expensive Album Covers: Jeweler Estimates Bling on Classic Rap LPs
Earlier this month, 2 Chainz revealed the artwork for his Def Jam debut, Based On a T.R.U. Story, due Aug. 14. Featuring two gold chains dangling over a black background, the cover follows in the grand tradition of rappers sporting heavy, flashy jewelry on their album covers.
Some of hip-hop's biggest names have flossed their most prized possessions on their album art. Eric B. and Rakim's huge gold rope chains and medallions on Paid in Full, LL Cool J's classic diamond name ring on Mama Said Knock You Out and Camron's multiple shiny neck pieces on Killa Season are just a few of the standouts. These define an artist's arrival and represent their rising status in society.
In light of 2 Chainz' upcoming release, The BoomBox calls on expert Richard Wubnig, manager of Michael C. Fina jewelers, to estimate the value of each top-dollar accessory featured on 10 classic, blinged-out hip-hop album covers. The only family-owned and operated jeweler on 5th Ave., in New York City, Michael C. Fina has been around for 77 years. Wubnig, a Brooklyn native, grew up in the midst of hip-hop's rise, and given his love for the music and his more than 11 years of experience in the jewelry business, he's the perfect person to appraise the jewelry on these covers and tell us just how large our favorite rappers were living.
You may be surprised to learn that some of these MCs were rocking your house, tuition or car payments around their necks and fingers.