11 Musicians Tell The Stories Behind Their Favorite Jewelry

Dej Loaf, T-Pain, and more on what their pieces say about them.

Photographer Alex Welsh
March 27, 2015
fader fort

From dainty bits of twisted metal to giant gold chains, the jewelry that we put on each morning often carries more of a story than our clothes or makeup ever could. The artists at The FADER FORT Presented by Converse came through wearing ornamentation of all kinds, so we stopped a few of them to find out what a Marc Jacobs watch, or a fox ring, or a chunky gold chain meant to them. Whether their jewels were deeply significant, extravagant, or completely worthless, their answers were revealing all the same.

Tei Shi

"I convinced my dad to let me get my ears pierced. He was like, 'Alright, but that's the last piercing you'll ever get." And then I got this [tragus piercing] when I was living in Colombia and I was, like, 15. One day after school we all went to get piercings, but you had to be 18 or have a guardians permission, so I had my boyfriend call the store and pretend to be my dad. My roommate gave me the mermaid ring and I love it but, it always gets caught on things so I only really wear it when I play. The other ones are just pieces I've collected along the way."

OG Maco

"Before I started rapping I had a Marc Jacobs piece I got from doing street shit. When I decided to turn my life around and get completely into rap I got rid of all that shit. So once I got back into prosperity doing this, my girl decided that as a surprise she'd buy an upgraded version of the watch I had before. This is one of my favorite watches. It's not the most expensive watch in the world but it has so much meaning to me. Priceless."

Seinabo Sey

"My necklace is just from Urban Outfitters, which is why it looks so faded, but these rings are from Gambia. Everyone has these kinds of rings in Gambia. I think of my dad when I wear them because he and my aunts had them. My dad passed away two years ago and he normally wore this bracelet. It's like the only thing I have of his because I didn't want anything else. Right now I can't really find it, but I know it's in my apartment. It's a very simple, metal thing. That's why I don't buy expensive jewelry, because I lose stuff. I don't like the idea of being too attached to things."

Nate Fox of The Social Experiment

"Peter Cottontale got it for me when we got here. He found a store with all this animal jewelry stuff and said, 'You need this. You have to have this.' It's the epitome of myself right now. It's got the bendy joints. I had another one a while back that was bronze and it kept making my fingers green. But this one I've had on all day. I don't wear a lot of jewelry, maybe a necklace, nothing crazy, very selective pieces. From now on, I'll wear this to every show we have—but only because it's that hot—and because Peter gave it to me."

Peter Cottontale of The Social Experiment

"One of my friends got this earring on a trip to South Africa and gave it to me. But it caught too many dreams and broke. I used to have a gold earring that my friend had made from her grandmother's ring. It fell out all the time and I finally lost it. I used to hate when that happened but, then I realized I lose shit so often. It's all so immaterial—but I'll still look for it. I lost a huge rabbit ring at my friend's house in Los Angeles and I know it's there, so every time I go I literally flip the whole crib upside down looking for that one ring."

A$AP Ant

"I like old school jewelry. The jewelry I'm wearing is basically a lot of '80s and '90s inspired gold medallions. My jewelry today is inspired by Raekwon and Ghostface, old drug dealers back in the day wearing sweatsuits and fly medallion chains. I want to bring that back because a lot of people's jewelry is looking phony with the crosses and everything. This is my normal getup but right now I'm getting another chain made custom. I'm wearing three chains right now, I'm trying to get up to five."

Trae Tha Truth

"This is some custom jewelry that was done by the homie King Johnny out of Houston, Texas. They always make sure I have some of the finest stuff, man. Some of the jewelry have a meaning, but with this, they just wanted me to be different and make something really creative. I got a three-dimensional Rubik's cube. I got a whole bunch of different jewelry, but sometimes I don't even feel like wearing them."

Rome Fortune

"Some of these rings and necklaces I bought at the bookstore and some at Nordstrom's. And some my friends made. I like to wear stuff that my friends made. My friend Lucas Goossens made the cross. I like skulls a lot, so that's why I got a lot of skulls. I don't know why. I think REM shit is cool."

Kali Uchis

"My good friend Rhianna actually owns this company called Vida Kush, so that's all the jewelry that I'm wearing. My earrings, my rings, my nose ring—she makes these septum rings that are really good. I know she let FKA Twigs use them for a video once. I wear my midi rings everyday and, lately I've been doing my hair up a lot, so I'm always wearing hoops. It's all mod style."

Dej Loaf

"My IBGM chain means 'I Been Gettin Money'. It was actually given to me by my manager Charlie. It really just represents what we believe in, it's about not being selfish, and being used to things, so we don't mind giving things. Like, him giving me this chain. I didn't ask for it, I just got it. I mean that's what it's about. When you're used to things, you don't mind helping out. That's what we're about at IBGM, helping others and bringing opportunity to whoever. No blackballing, none of that."


"I don't really know that much about jewelry. I know what I want it to look like, but, I don't know like 'this diamond' or anything like that. So they tend to just mark it the fuck up. I'm sure I've overpaid for jewelry my entire life, and I don't care as long as I get it. As long as it looks like what I said it needed to look like, and its the the same price you said it was going to be, then fine. There it is. I agreed to it, if I'd have known better I wouldn't have, but I didn't know better so whatever. I'm not a big jewelry connoisseur. I do like to wear it, but I'm not like I need this kind of metal, I need this kinda thing on it. I just draw it as best as I could: this is what I need to look like, here's my logo, some other bullshit that I can't think of...and boom, there it is. My chains are getting a lot smaller. I'm getting a lot more out of shape than I was, so can't really carry around a big ass chain no more. That shit was 15 lbs, it was terrible. It was like carrying a small child around for you whole goddamn tour. That's not a life I want to live anymore.

I hate waiting on jewelry. I don't know what it takes to make jewelry but I'm sure it shouldn't take three weeks to make. That's the only thing I hate about jewelry. But, my homeboy Dave the Jeweler did a good job. He did his thing man, nothing really particular about it. This is my wedding ring and it spins 'cause I'm real fidgety and I can't keep my hands still. I lost a lot of jewelry. I lost a $9,000 ring the same day I bought it. I didn't lose it per se, but I got it because it was an impulse buy and it was too big and then I performed and the ring just came off and went into the crowd. Somebody got a $9,000 ring. But, like I said I pay too much for jewelry so it probably wasn't worth that. You never know. Diamonds are fucking worthless. Let's talk about that! Diamonds are worthless! Like, if diamonds are supposed to cost as much as they do, there shouldn't be as many of them as there is. They should be a lot more rare. Like, platinum shouldn't cost as much as it does, there's so much of that. None of this shit should cost as much as it does, but for some reason we keep thinking that we're supposed to pay more for black rocks than we should the shiny ones because they're newer. C'mon man, I don't know, jewelers try to get you to get the new thing, like the pink diamonds. Like what, how did you get this giant bundle of pink diamonds if its so rare and you're charging me so much? How did you get this giant bag of them? I never understood that.

Diamonds aren't worth shit. You know females and shit, 'oh he better get me a ring, it better be a big diamond'. So you just want a bigger worthless rock? Here's a good idea, you know what I wanna do, I'm in so much love with you that I'm gonna get on one knee and show you a thing that I spent all my money on...for nothing. And weddings, wedding fucking suck, on the first day what we spend the rest of our lives together, let's get rid of all our money. Haha, sorry, rant. Diamonds, my ass…miles a night...glass! That's what you can put in your goddamn chain, looks exactly the same. Costs a lot less."

11 Musicians Tell The Stories Behind Their Favorite Jewelry