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If you look at some recent hip-hop videos, or even pictures from parties and concerts, you'll notice artists such as Lil Jon, Nick Cannon, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Nelly and Nas bringing back the world-famous gold rope chains ﾗ or as they were christened in the '80s, dookie ropes (also known to some as dookie rolls). It's a trend that's making MCs think about the true-school innovators who first wore them and what gold ropes symbolized back in the day, as well as what these classic chains mean today.
Has the time come for MCs to put their platinum chains on ice? Not ice as in diamonds - they've been doing that for years. This time we're talking about rappers setting their platinum down on the shelf for a returning favorite that's old school to the heart.
It's my way to pay homage, says Cannon, whose new publicity shots show him wearing no shirt and a gold rope � la LL Cool J circa '87. Back in the day, most gold chains were hollow. I had to go [with] the official one. Everybody been rocking platinum; you can't tell platinum from stainless steel right now.
Hip Hop Fashion History
Platinum chains are wack, unless it's a rope, asserts Kanye West, who debuted his new gold rope in the video for Drive Slow. I'm not trying to dis nobody's chain, it's just wack to me. Maybe you can get away with it if you have it tucked, with it just peeking up out the top of your T-shirt.
Like Cannon, Kanye says gold ropes are appealing because they're a nod to the past. History repeats itself, Ye says. It was throwbacks [jerseys], my album had the Tribe [Called Quest] sound. Now it's gold ropes. And it's dope for black people to wear a lot of jewelry ﾗ it was always in an African's blood to rock gold. So we rock gaudy chains. It's not ostentatious; it's an African thing.
Lil Jon agrees with Ye's theory about throwing it back. We love the old school, he says. Everybody got pleasant memories of the '80s. That's when hip-hop was fresh and new, it was like a baby. All those pleasant memories, we trying to bring back. I grew up seeing the Slick Ricks and Big Daddy Kanes, but I was a kid ﾗ I couldn't get no big-ass rope chain. I'm grown, I can do that now.
Even on my iPod, I only listen to old-school sh--, whether it's hip-hop, dancehall, reggae, rock. For me, I want to bring little things from the old school back, Jon continues, referring to 1980s fashion fads. Gazelles [eyeglasses], I was looking for them for awhile. Members Only jackets are coming back. Shell-toe Adidas never went out of style. Everybody wants to accessorize themselves with stuff they grew up with, whether it be sh-- they wanted and couldn't have, or sh-- they used to rock.
Things that are really authentic always return, says original dookie-rope-rocker DMC, one of hip-hop's earliest innovators on the mic and in the jewelry department. It ain't a mere thing of just bringing the gold rope back. It means something.