Tue 31 Jul 2012
Five days into the 2012 London Olympics and we’re fully engrossed in Chinese synchronized diving, Brazilian volleyball booties, Korean fencing protests, and twitter scandals….
But the Olympic Golden Boy is definitely swimmer Ryan Lochte, who won Team USA’s first gold in the men’s 400-meter individual medley…blowing away the comp, including his superstar teammate Michael Phelps.
And the best part of Lochte’s win was during the award ceremony. After Lochte accepted his medal, slipped on a set of diamond-studded American flag top and bottom grills…and put on a big sparkly smile for history’s cameras!
As bizarre as it may be to see a blue-eyed chlorine-cleaned swimmer from Florida (via New York) with a icy grill…I love the random pop-culture-mashup of it. I don’t mind if Lochte’s style is corny, or if he had bad hair. Or that he’s been struggling ever since that first win. I just love the fact that this guy wore an authentic hood rich hip hop grill at the Olympics. And that he went to the authentic hood rich hip hop jewelers, Paul Wall and TV Johnny, for that grill!
I talked to Paul Wall (one of the nicest guys in the game) about….
-his reaction to seeing his work at the Olympics
-Ryan Lochte’s history of pool-side grills
-and his amazing Olympic offer! Free Grills For All Team USA Gold Medalists?!
Laugh along, after the jump
MissInfo: Could you believe it when you saw Ryan Lochte put on your grill and start cheesing for the cameras with that Olympic gold?
Paul Wall: This is so amazing! I feel like I won a gold medal! Me and Johnny have been travelling together for the past week, watching all the Olympic events. We so pumped up about Team USA already, watching ping pong, basketball, everything. So when we saw Ryan win…and this dude beat Michael Phelps too…and then stunt with that grill?! It was just such an honor for us as Team USA patriots.
Ryan Lochte is reppin’ for the country, reppin’ for the hood, for hip hop fans, for anyone who ever wore a grill.
Me and TV Johnny are so honored to experience this [Lochte] grill hoopla…we decided that any Team USA athlete that wins a gold medal at the Olympics, if you want one, we’re gonna give you a free grill…on the house! If you win gold, you deserve a gold grill!
Miss Info: As a gold-front-advocate, haha, I was just surprised. Especially because this guy has been rocking them for years. They make him look like Riff Raff, but hey…shake things up!
Paul Wall: Even if Ryan wore someone else’s grill, I’m just happy…as a fan of hip hop, and grill culture. The photos are so crazy it’s like someone photoshopped it.
(Olympic champion Ryan Lochte’s $25,000 diamond and ruby grill)
Miss Info: Everyone in the music world is familiar with the grills that you and TV Johnny have been making for years. I interviewed you for my Bling Bling: Hip Hop’s Crown Jewels book back in 2005. And since then you’ve made pieces for Diddy, Kanye, Drake, Nelly, Justin Bieber and countless wholesale grills for other jewelers. So tell me about Ryan’s grill.
Paul Wall: We’ve done lots of grills for athletes, but mostly baseball, football, basketball players, you know. But Ryan and his reps reached out to us through our website (TVJohnny.Net). We offer these kits so you can just make your own mold of your teeth, or you can go to your dentist and have a plaster mold made, just mail it in…and we handle the rest.
We made Ryan an all white diamond grill in the past, but for the Olympics, we did both top and bottom grills with prong-set white vvs diamonds, blue diamonds, and red rubies, all hand set. A grill like that runs about $15,000-$25,000.
Paul Wall: You know, what’s interesting is that as a national trend, grills have been out of style for a while. But in the hood, and down south, they’re still worn, and because we do so much wholesale work for other jewelers, we notice where the demand goes up and down. In the past couple months, there’s been increasing orders, especially for bottom grills. And we just did new pieces for Big Sean, Chris Brown, 2 Chainz, even a set for singer Jill Scott, but that’s for a movie role. It’s like the new wave of younger artists, they’re coming back to grills again.
Miss Info: Maybe because fashion is getting a bit more euro, or almost feminine, this is a way to add something more street.
Paul Wall: Yes! They get to stunt, in a classic hip hop way. In fact, we just did a set for B.O.B, and he was even talking about doing a new “grills” song. Me and Johnny are so honored to experience this [Lochte] grill hoopla…we decided that any Team USA athlete that wins a gold medal at the Olympics, if you want one, we’re gonna give you a free grill…on the house! If you win gold, you deserve a gold grill!
MissInfo: Now all I want is to see the entire women’s gymnastics team in matching purple grills.
Paul Wall’s History of Grillz: Paul counts down his favorite chompers with Mikey Fresh
It’s Raining Diamond-Covered Hublots! Just Ask Rick Ross…and 50 Cent
Riff Raff’s Official “Welcome to Mad Decent” Jewelry #Exclusive
Espy Awards: Amber Rose, Reggie Bush, Bobby Brown, and many fashion fouls