When the world thinks of Paul Wall, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? It goes without saying but it’s the grillz. And not just any type of grillz, we’re talking about the kind that requires smiles to have blinders.
HipHopDX had the pleasure of sitting with the self-proclaimed “Po Up Poet” alongside his (business) partner-in-crime Johnny Dang, a.k.a. TV Johnny. Together, the two have capitalized on this rapper-friendly notion of jewelry for your teeth, opening their own shop called Johnny Dang & Co. in Paul’s hometown of Houston, Texas. The two entrepreneurs were in town to support Paul Weezy’s latest project The Houston Oiler, which he describes as “something the game is missing.”
“Gold teeth was just something that was popular down in Texas and around the country for a while. Growing up, it was something that you would do. You get a gold chain or watch, or grill, it was a status symbol. Like a trophy: I made it, or I made some money. This is how we celebrate.”
What once was thought to be a fad has now expanded into a multi-million dollar business, with several celebrity clients being on the speed dial. “Any celebrity you see with a grill, you don’t have to ask where it came from. You already know,” Paul Wall humbly suggests. That even includes Hip Hop royalty, Jay Z and Beyonce, who both own custom-made grillz directly from the source.
My teeth gleaming like I’m chewing on aluminum foil/Smiling showing off my diamonds sipping on some potent oil — Paul Wall from “Grillz”
As a youngster growing up, Paul always wanted everything at the cheapest price. For grillz, this meant he would make them on his own, or work with a person who makes them. Insert TV Johnny, who he “When you balling on a budget, or you don’t have means to get what you want, you will find a way to make it work.”
Slab Ridin’: Listen to Paul Wall’s The Houston Oilerright here.
Watch as we discuss everything about Paul’s relationship with grillz, from his very first one, setting the bar with Chamillionaire (solid gold with white diamond cuts on the bottom), making grillz for the dentist, how they started making money, how to clean them (FYI, you’re not supposed to smoke with them on but Paul does), their favorite clients, and what’s it like having $15K in your mouth.