Hip-hop is more than just a genre of music. It’s an entire cultural revolution. And the biggest names in rap have been trendsetters across the board, particularly when it comes to clothing and jewelry.
Hip-hop jewelry is nothing new. Popularized by legends like Notorious B.I.G. and Run-DMC, bling is a staple of the rap genre. And possibly the most influential piece of hip-hop jewelry is the iconic golden chain.
While there are tons of chain variants around today, the most easily recognizable look is by the Cuban link. If you want to look and feel just like a rap god, then Cuban chains are a must-have. Here are some tips and guides so you can properly wear your Cuban chain with confidence.
What Is a Cuban Link?
To many people, every chain looks the same. But Cuban links stand out above the rest because of their versatility and simplicity.
Cuban chains feature oval links that intersect in a rope-like pattern. The links themselves twist slightly, giving them a traditional look compared to most other chain variations. While the iconic Cuban Link is gold, there are many different colors and styles available today.
Where Did the Cuban Link Originate?
While the exact timeframe of the Cuban chain’s rise is unknown, there is evidence that its claim to fame can be traced back to one of the founding fathers of hip-hop:DJ Kool Herc.
In the 1970s, Kool Herc was known for throwing huge block parties in his Bronx apartment, where he played original beats and tracks. He would often sport a golden chain, which caused many of the party’s attendees to do the same.
The Cuban chain is also sometimes called the Miami Cuban link because of its popularity in the Florida city. This style was especially prominent in the 80s and 90s, but it really has never gone out of style since.
The Cuban chain remains an important inclusion to the wardrobes of hip-hop icons, as well as everyday people.
Picking the Perfect Cuban Chain
When you’re finally ready to pick up your newest piece, there are a few factors to consider to make sure that your purchase will suit your style correctly.
Think About the Color and Material
Because of their popularity, there is a seemingly endless assortment of different colored links to choose from. For a classic look that’s reminiscent of hip-hop icons, goinggold is definitely the way to go.Gold Cuban chains have a sleek look that works with almost any type of fit. They look mature and refined, but also make a bold statement when you walk out of the house.
But if you’re looking for something with a more clean and polished type of vibe, thenwhite goldwill do just that. White gold retains themetallic luster of 18k gold, but removes the brassiness. It makes for a more versatile look that can easily apply to any type of fit.
For areallyattention-grabbing piece, you can combine white gold withdiamond studs for an icy appearance that looks entirely unique.Diamond Prong Cuban Chains use VVS simulated diamonds, which have been tested to ensure perfect clarity while maintaining an optimal price. You could even find similar chains that use 18k gold, so you can get the classic golden chain look with the added drip of handcrafted diamond simulants.
Consider Length and Width
The size of the chain plays a huge role in how it’s going to come across to other people. Some of us might want a chain that complements the rest of the fit but doesn’t act as the centerpiece. In these cases, definitely go smaller.
Smaller chains usually range anywhere from 3-5mm in width. These are thin, so they’ll feel lightweight, and they’ll look very nuanced. It will add a little boost to your overall appearance, but it won’t be overwhelming.
With that said, there’s nothing wrong with going big. Confidently show off a huge chain to show people that you mean business. There’s really no limit to how thick a chain can be, but keep in mind that thickness usually equates to weight. So, if you go for a19mm Diamond Prong Cuban chain, bear in mind that its sharp appearance comes with a heavier feel.
The length of the chain is just as important. An average chain length is probably around 20-22 inches. These won’t drape down very far from your neck, but they also will allow for mobility, so it doesn’t feel like a choker, which is generally around 18 inches.
Longer lengths, like 24 inches, will hang much lower on your chest. This all comes down to personal preference, and the chain length won’t make or break your piece as a whole.
Pendant or No Pendant?
One of the last things you’ll need to think about before grabbing your next piece is if you’re going to want to complement the chain with a pendant. While the links can speak for themselves, you can add your own personal finesse by tossing on a medallion.
There are really no rules when it comes to pendants other than the fact that you need to make sure the chain width is correct. Most pendants require a smaller chain of around 3mm-5mm in order to hang properly. So if you know you’ll want to use one, don’t go for a huge 19mm chain just yet.
Matching colors between chains and pendants can look especially clean. For example, an 18k gold platedJesus Piece would look exceptional up against a gold chain.
What to Wear With a Cuban Chain
Picking the right chain is really only half the battle because you need to make sure that the rest of the outfit works well with it. Luckily, since Cuban chains are so simple and adaptable, it’s hard to go wrong.
Solid Colors are the Move
There’s a time and place for flashy patterns and unique shirt designs, but it might not be when wearing a Cuban chain. Patterns can cause the chain to visually blend into the shirt, so it will not feel as pronounced as you might want it to.
Solid-colored clothing eliminates that issue, letting the links come out in full force. Golden chains look especially nice up against a white or black shirt, as the brassiness of gold complements those neutral colors nicely.
Bracelets, Rings, Earrings, or Watches
Chains are great pieces of jewelry, but there’s no reason to stop there. Bracelets, rings, earrings, and watches will max out your drip to an extent that chains alone can not.
When doing this, it’s important to pick a piece that you want to be the center of the fit. If you want the chain to be what people notice first, think about building the other pieces with that in mind. For example, if you have a white gold chain that you want people to notice, you might want to wear white gold throughout the body so that none of those pieces overshadow the necklace.
With that said, you can have much more freedom over your entire appearance when you have more options to choose from. Something like this3 Row Eternity Ring would be the perfect little boost for your overall look without putting in much effort. Especially if you get the ring plated in a color that matches the chain, you can prove to people that you know what you’re doing.
In addition to other types of jewelry, you could even wear multiple chains at one time. Wearing two to three Cuban chains is a surefire way to start a conversation and stand out among a crowd of people.
But there are also other types of chains that have signature styles. TheMariner Chain, for example, looks completely distinct when compared to other chain varieties, and you could even mix and match different styles at the same time.
Cuban links are the epitome of hip-hop attire. Popularized during therise of the genre in the 70s and 80s, these oval necklaces are just as classy as they are simple.
When wearing a Cuban chain, it’s important to take into account a few different factors. For one, the color and material can give off different essences depending on which one you choose. Plus, think about the length and width that works best for you. And if you want to be able to show off some personal pendants, you also need to take the size into consideration.
Outside of that, ensure that you’re wearing solid colors like white or black so that the chain doesn’t become overshadowed. Then, load up on other pieces like rings and bracelets to create an all-around icy look from head to toe.