"Real shit, I came for the jewels," Killer Mike raps on "Sea Legs" off his joint album with El-P, Run The Jewels, which came out at the end of June this year. So after a grueling 31-show tour that culminated at New York City's Webster Hall last Wednesday (August 14)—at the end of a run of 15 shows in 16 days—XXL brought Mike straight to them, taking the big ATLien with a taste for the finer things to Manhattan's Diamond District to see what exactly might catch his eye.

"I'm not really big on diamonds and shit, because diamonds in particular are not rare," Mike said of his personal preferences. "But for me, I like gold. Gold was worth something back then, gold is worth something now, gold will always be worth something. I'm into gold—pure gold."

Mike had struck gold already when he began collaborating with El-P last year on his album R.A.P. Music and El's Cancer 4 Cure, and when the two decided to team up earlier this year and make the duo a reality, the result was an album that was as ferocious and technically adept as it was well-received, launching them into bigger venues and allowing Mike to expand on his regular daily wear, which consists of a simple chain with a Virgin Mary pendant around his neck to remind him of his wife, who owns one as well. And while he usually uses his own jeweler down in Atlanta—a man who goes by the name of Lucky Da Jeweler, and who handles the likes of Gucci Mane as well—he quickly found a friend in Eric Aranbayev of Rafaello & Co., a company he'd bought from before.

"These guys came up after Jacob The Jeweler went to jail," Mike said, referring to the prison sentence that sent the founder of Jacob & Company away for two and a half years in 2008, before turning his eyes to the display cases in front of him. "I'm trying to get a big, audacious ring next."

Mike's never been one to wear multiple chains and general drip jewels—he said he stopped wearing the big Eric B. and Rakim-type chains because he couldn't walk the streets with them on—but he knows what he wants when he's performing. "I wear a rope on stage," he said. "I've always had Man Pieces—a nice ring here, a diamond watch. But I just try to have pieces that are gentlemanly. I try to have pieces that translate well to walking around the street with a t-shirt on, or if I put on a suit and my watch breaks off of my cuff really beautifully. You know what I'm saying, an alligator skin band, a diamond face, so it breaks really well."

After leaving Rafaello's—after checking out a giant Atlanta Falcons pendant that was made expressly for The-Dream—Mike walked into Aqua Master Watches and Jewelry, where Izzy The Jeweler (who calls himself the "King of Cubans"—links, not cigars) began trying to talk him into a heavy link chain. "They always tell you the weight first," Mike counseled after checking out a 540 gram gold chain, which worked out to $21,000, before asking rhetorically, "How many shows does this cost?"

After some negotiation—and an understanding that Mike only wanted to drop $10 grand, if he was going to spend at all—Mike walked out with gold on the mind, but looking forward to the end of his tour. "I've really been on tour for two years, so I get to go home, start a radio talk show, got a '61 Impala that me and my cousin are building," he said, laughing. "I'm just doing everything I ever wanted to do, and not waiting on tomorrow. And it looks like I'm about to buy a fuckin' Cuban." —Dan Rys (@danrys)