Many more hip-hop patrons followed, many of whom found Icebox more welcoming than the other jewelry options in town. “You think of the guy from Atlanta who comes in with a bunch of tattoos, smells a little grassy, has long dreadlocks – nine out of 10 places he goes, they show him no respect,” Zahir said. “We are here to respect them from the moment they enter the store.”
Icebox began to become a safe space and playground for rappers. Soulja Boy and Wiz Khalifa filmed themselves going into the store to watch the videos they posted online. In the mid-2010s, when Instagram was becoming ubiquitous as a social documentation tool, “we started to see celebrities posting photos of themselves with other celebrities on Icebox,” Mo said. Each week, the store catered to several stars, many of whom brought their own videographers to create content.
The store began posting its own short videos to Instagram, and began posting the long YouTube videos that it is now known for in 2018. It is typical for one or more of the brothers to appear in the clips, but originally, “neither of us we wanted to be in the picture, we always fought over who was going to be in it, “said Zahir. “We care about the legacy of the family business more than our own personal name.”
Now, they’re regulars, whether it’s helping sell expensive parts, trivially speaking to make customers feel comfortable, or even sometimes cleaning jewelry themselves: “Most of the time you don’t see the car dealership owner detailing the car”. Rafi said. “Anyone should be able to do anything.”
The videos are largely unscripted, though they tend to be themes or pieces, especially with rappers who have appeared in various. Interspersed throughout are lustful and glamorous shots of necklaces, rings, and watches. For some rappers, an Icebox video has become a semi-official part of their press release, hitting the store a few weeks before the album’s release to do some shopping and film the extravaganza. On YouTube, Icebox videos generally receive between 500,000 and 2 million views, depending on the popularity of the guest.
Artists receive informal approval on videos. “It is our responsibility to make sure they are comfortable with whatever content is posted,” Mo said.