The Jesus Piece – Its History & Why It’s Popular in the Hip-Hop World
One of the most popular pendants nowadays, the Jesus piece is certainly an iconic fashion statement that enjoys a huge following – transcending religion, spirituality, race, and culture. For those not in the know, the Jesus piece is a pendant that’s typically made from precious metals such as gold or silver designed in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ, and usually depicted with a crown of thorns encrusted with gems like diamonds. The Jesus piece can also refer to a religious cross pendant. Widely regarded as religious iconography, the wearing of the Jesus piece has since surpassed the belief or tradition that these pieces are only worn by a particular religious denomination and have been catapulted into a fashion statement within the hip hop community.
We’ve seen almost all hip-hop artists sport the inevitable Jesus piece at some point in their careers, and while many might wonder what the connection between hip-hop and religion is, it doesn’t take a genius to guess why. The struggles, failures, and violence these rappers and musicians go through just to succeed in their careers are real, and the wearing of a Jesus piece is generally a symbol of success and a tribute to Jesus. Others attribute the Jesus piece with keeping themselves humble and real in the face of success and extravagant wealth.
Who wore it first?
Photo by: Scott Gries / Getty Images
While many credits the rise and popularity of the Jesus piece to Kanye West back in 2004, it’s in fact, not true. Kanye West collaborated with the famous Jacob The Jeweller in 2004, where they brought out a line of religious-themed jewellery, including the Jesus piece. Let’s just say that Kanye was responsible for bringing the iconic piece into mainstream popularity.
Earlier accounts recall seeing the Jesus piece first worn around the neck of Christopher Wallace aka the Notorious B.I.G. as early as the mid-1990s, who purchased three Jesus piece pendants from jeweller Tito Caicedo for $30,000. Biggie’s rap persona became strongly associated with the term Jesus's piece, with him referencing the words in some of his songs. Jay-Z followed suit in 1999 when he appeared on the cover of XXL magazine wearing a Jesus piece, which is speculated to have been one from Biggie’s three pieces.
Photo from SplashySplash.com
But no matter who wore it first or who popularized it, we can safely assume that the Jesus piece has since become a classic piece of hip-hop jewellery, if not the most popular to date. Making a statement with a large iced out piece, or an understated smaller one, the Jesus piece will never go out of style.
Don’t have one yet? Have a look below at our Jesus piece and religious cross offerings that you can add to your next fashion statement: