Oodles more hip-hop clients followed, many of whom found Icebox more welcoming than the city’s other jewelry options. “You think about the guy in Atlanta who comes in with a bunch of tattoos, smells a little bit like weed, has long dreads — nine out of 10 places he goes, they’re not showing him any respect,” Zahir said. “We’re here to give them respect from the moment they walk in the store.”
Icebox started to become a rapper safe space and playground. Soulja Boy and Wiz Khalifa filmed themselves coming into the store for videos they posted online. In the mid-2010s, as Instagram was becoming ubiquitous as a tool of social documentation, “we started to see celebrities were posting pictures of themselves with other celebrities in Icebox,” Mo said. Every week, the store tended to several stars, many of whom were bringing their own videographers to make content.
The store began posting short videos of its own on Instagram, and began posting the long-form YouTube videos it’s now known for in 2018. It’s typical that one or more of the brothers will appear in the clips, but originally, “none of us wanted to be in the picture, we would always fight about who was going to be in it,” Zahir said. “We care about the family business legacy more than our own personal name.”
Now, they are regulars, whether it’s helping to sell expensive pieces, small-talking to make customers comfortable, or even sometimes cleaning jewelry themselves: “Most of the time you don’t see the owner of the car dealership detailing the car,” Rafi said. “Anybody should be able to do anything.”
The videos are largely unscripted, though there tend to be themes, or set pieces, especially with rappers who’ve appeared in several. Interspersed throughout are lusty glamour shots of necklaces, rings and watches. For some rappers, an Icebox video has become a semiofficial part of their press run, coming in the store a few weeks before an album release to do some shopping and have the extravagance filmed. On YouTube, Icebox videos generally receive between 500,000 and 2 million views, depending on the popularity of the guest.
Artists are given informal approval over the videos. “It’s our responsibility to make sure that they feel comfortable with whatever content is going out,” Mo said.