put your money where your mouth is part 2

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Part 2

Dr. Joshua Colkmire Cosmetic Dentistry Sarasota

Diamonds on my neck, diamonds on my grill

In part one of our blog we discussed the qualities, demographics, and a brief history of hip hop culture and grillz. Today we’re gonna talk about what happened after the fall of grillz and how the dead trend made a comeback, hitting the mainstream media through an unlikely source.

While grillz were still worn by hip hop artists into the late 90s, most of them chose to remove their grillz in an attempt to change their reputation into one with a cleaner, less stereotyped look. The trend didn’t die entirely thanks to Dirty South hip hop. If you’re curious, here’s a small taste of well-known artists from each subgenre of hip hop.

Hip Hop Artist Subgenre Example of Popular Song Years Active
Dr. Dre East Coast Still D.R.E. 1984 – Present
Lil Wayne Dirty South Lollipop 1993 – Present
Eminem Midwest Rap God 1992 – Present
Snoop Dogg West Coast Drop It Like It’s Hot 1991 – Present

Despite the imminent death of grillz on the horizon, Lil Wayne and friends had other plans. They decided to bring grillz back and in a big way. Rapper turned jeweler, Paul Wall, teamed up with a jeweler turned watch repairman, Johnny Dang, and the rest is history.

Boy, how you get grill that way/and how much did you pay

If you were over the age of 13 in the early 2000s, chances are you remember Nelly’s Grammy-nominated song “Grillz” about — you guessed it — grillz. Paul Wall collaborated with Nelly to write this song about the currently extremely popular jewelry. With the rise of the hip hop genre, artists of the Dirty South subgenre weren’t throwing aside their cultural roots, but rather embracing the blinged out teeth. In fact, Eddie Neilson, the man who is widely recognized for bringing grillz into hip hop culture refers to this period of time as the “Ice Age” of hip hop and got out of the game himself.

“Ice” is a colloquial term for wearable bling or glittering jewels of any type. Male hip hop artists embraced Wall and Dang’s designs and craftsmanship, making them one of the only major custom grillz producers in the United States. Meanwhile, from hanging out at home to the red carpet, artists started flashing their unique grins wherever they could.

Add the whole top diamond and the bottom row’s gold

If you know even a little something about grillz, you might be wondering why some of the glitteriest teeth in the industry didn’t make the above list. Undoubtedly Lil Wayne, Kanye, and Kodak Black have the most shimmery smiles in music. It’s important to note that while their smiles are often referred to as grillz, that would be incorrect. Lil Wayne and Kanye both have dental implants of diamond teeth — quite the flex, we know — outlined in solid gold. This is considerably more dangerous to your mouth because at least grillz can be removed. Instead, these artists have had the precious stones (that don’t protect against bacteria like teeth are meant to) directly screwed into their jaw bones.

Kodak Black, along that same vein, embellished his grin by embedding diamonds into each individual tooth. Healthwise, this is worse than Lil Wayne and Kanye, because Kodak Black has completely destroyed the enamel and disturbed his gum line. This is the second time Kodak Black has permanently damaged his teeth. The first was when he decorated his teeth with permanent gold lining which had to be removed due to gum disease.

gold up in my, gold up in my teeth

Looking around today, in 2019, both male and female musical artists of all genres, colors, and cultures have embraced grillz. So, how’d that happen? One singular appearance thrust grillz onto international television, making them a symbol of American wealth and fashion. In 2012, Ryan Lochte, an Olympic swimmer for the USA, flashed a custom made, patriotic, diamond grill across the top row of his teeth as he accepted a gold medal. The grill cost $25,000 and caused mixed feelings but everyone became more interested than they ever had before. One designer commented, “I am kind of into the grill. It’s like a tiara for men.”

In our next blog, we’re going to cover how Lochte changed the game for grillz and how to keep your teeth healthy if you own one. Meanwhile, if you’re missing teeth and Kanye has inspired you to get diamond dental implants, we suggest you come in for a consultation first! We want you to have a smile you love and if you’re not planning on marrying a Kardashian anytime soon, diamond teeth might not be your best bet. Contact us today for your cosmetic dentistry needs!

Dr. Joshua Colkmire

Dr. Colkmire’s dental degree comes from NYU College of Dentistry, and he also holds bachelor’s degrees from Lee University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a member of the American Dental Association, the Florida Dental Association, and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is also a part of the renowned Seattle Study Club, a vibrant international network of dentists who meet to share knowledge about how to provide excellent care to each and every patient who comes into their practice.
Dr. Joshua Colkmire

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