Paul Wall: His Music Led to Fame & Fortune
Paul Wall, who started out as Paul Slaton, majored in Mass Communications at the University of Houston, with a minor in music. In time he began branching out and it wouldn’t be long before he became a household name. Clearly, he owes his critical acclaim and fame to his music, he is now better known as a successful entrepreneur and celebrity personality. Years before he and Johnny Dang went into business together, Paul made a name for himself through Grillz by Paul Wall, which was his own company.
A decade ago, in 2007, Paul was actually featured on Nelly’s Platinum hit “Grillz,” which was nominated for a Grammy. This hit song is clearly about grillz and how they’ll transform your persona, social life and mouth, making everything in your life livelier. The lyrics reveal what rap culture considers the ultimate in success. With this in mind, Paul raps the words, “I got the neck wear and the wrist wear that’s captivating, but it’s my smile that has the onlookers spectating.” While, just about everything about Wall appearance is noticeable, his diamond grillz are simply unforgettable.
Although Paul rose through rap, once he began his business ventures, he started using rap more as a promotional device. When talking about his grillz company and how it applied to the hit song, said, “’Grillz’ was simply a commercial for us [lol]. I just love Nelly for it too. The song was a commercial. And that’s just the way it is.” He went on to explain how his music gives him a vehicle for spreading the word on his various enterprises. “[My music] allows me a chance to be here now speaking to you. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t be in New York City. But I am here now and I am speaking to you, and guess what, we’re talkin’ about grillz. It puts a spotlight on my products, the ones I’m down with, that I own and the ones I endorse. The music definitely plays a big part in all of that.”
Paul Wall & Johnny Dang Grillz
Recently, Paul Wall has reached new heights in the grillz industry, forming a partnership with Johnny Deng, a well-known jeweler and pioneer who gets the credit for popularizing grillz. He is also the one that inspired Nelly’s song about diamond-encrusted grillz. Paul and Johnny’s company now supplies gold teeth to audiences from all walks of life, but mostly to those into hip hop. Johnny Dang & Co. officially opened their doors on October 22, 2016; with a retail store in Houston, Texas, the heart of hip hop. They sell fine custom designed jewelry and of course the grillz that they are so well known for.
Paul Wall is now creating a personalized grill for P. Diddy, which has become a much larger project than he ever imagined. P. Diddy had never had a grill before, so he didn’t really have any idea what he wanted. He finally figured out what type and style of grill he liked best, but then threw Wall a curve by asking him to make 15 different versions of the exact same design. His idea was to look at them all side-by-side to pick out the best one. Once Wall created all 15 versions of the same grill, P. Diddy looked at them and decided he wanted them all. Paul said to us, “I had to ask him a couple of times if he really wanted to buy them all, and Diddy told me straight out, ‘It’s like with Burger King – I gots to have it my way.’ ”
The outreach that Paul Wall now enjoys goes way beyond the hip hop community: Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte wears grillz made by Paul Wall and Johnny Dang. After competing in the 400-meter Medley in London, he wore a custom red, white and blue American flag diamond-encrusted mouthpiece in a public appearance. This was one that Paul Wall designed himself. Lochte explained to the crowd, “For those out there who don’t have any idea of what a grill is, it’s essentially a retainer full of diamonds.” He went on to add, “I wear my grill when I’m standing on the podium, which is how I show my personality.” Paul confided that this particular design cost Lochte $25,000 and that he is now creating a grill for Lochte which is costing more than $1,000 per tooth.
Paul Wall’s Future In The Grillz Game
Maybe in the beginning Paul Wall was just a cultural figure representing grillz, simply a name and a face to accompany the return of a fad. Since so many more celebrities are wearing grillz these days, it’s hard to see the fad dying out. Wall has sold grillz to Chris Brown, Meek Mill, B.o.B., 2 Chainz, and Ludacris just to name a few. Perhaps the lyrics being sung in the hit “Grillz” is supposed to be taken for fun and games, for example, when Wall talks about his diamond grillz, that he “he has a ton of ‘ice’ in his mouth so one deep breath could bring on a cold front.” But as time goes on his songs have become more literal now that he is the king of parking lot raps, “my teeth are blowing everyone’s mind giving them chills. I may be George Forman cuz I’m selling everyone grillz.”