Paul Wall will forever go down in history as one of the biggest advocates for grillz (spelled with a z!). The Houston native has spent his entire music career rapping about jewelry, ice, grillz, diamonds… you get the point. Coming up as a close friend of celebrity jewelry Johnny Dang, Paul is definitely the OG when it comes to hip-hop — creating his own lane and bringing his Southern roots into the mainstream.
This year, he celebrates his 15-year anniversary of his debut album The People’s Champ, coinciding with Red Bull Music to release his 12th studio album titled SUBCULTURE. What inspires him to make music today? The passion, the love, and of course, the ice.
King Ice caught up with Paul via Zoom, who says he usually has 20 different sets of grillz at all times.
In your new song “Ice Man,” you say you dropped a quarter mil on grillz. What’s your most expensive piece?
On jewelry at least for sure. The most expensive ones either got lost or thrown away. [laughs] Those are the ones that hurt too. My favorite set, I threw away one time. Always regret it. When you’re getting new grills made, they might not fit the same as the other ones because your teeth move with time. Retail price is different because we’re paying the wholesale, we’re paying the manufacturers costs. All I got to pay for it is materials. I don’t make it try to be like I got the most expensive set. If it boils down to it, me and Johnny definitely have the most expensive set. We’re only taking into account the cost of the diamonds.
So how much?
I definitely got $30K, maybe $50K. Nothing too crazy. I don’t have the most though, I don’t want the IRS coming after me. [laughs]
Thoughts on rappers getting the diamonds permanently on their teeth? They always end up taking them out.
To each his own. The original people who’d get it permanently were because it was a dental procedure. They might’ve had something going on with their teeth where they needed to put them in permanent. Back in the day, the pull out really wasn’t an option. Some people have bigger, bulky, or jacked up teeth. You put a pull-out on top of that, you’re walking around with crazy teeth. Now, it’s another level where it’s their first set of grills and they’re getting them permanent.
Being somebody who’s sold them for 20 plus years, I’ve seen a lot of people come get them permanent, get them out 6 months or a year later. They take them out and upgrade them. They get veneers in for their job or something legal they’re going through, various walks of life.