A lot has been made about the Ryan Lochte's grill at the Olympics, and Playbook has tracked down hip-hop star Paul Wall, who helped create the now-famous look. The Houston rapper, who worked a recent mixtape with DJ Drama and now is working with DJ Whoo Kid, is one of the pioneers of the expensive mouthware.
What was your reaction when you saw his smile on TV?
"Awesome. Incredible. Amazing. I felt very patriotic. I felt like I was part of the Olympics."
Did he tell you he was going to show them off?
"I kind of assumed he would do that. He has done it before. This now is the fourth set of grills we've made him. One in 2007, one in 2009, 2011 and now 2012. This is what he does. I assumed he was going to do it. I didn't think it would be this big of a deal, but it is. He didn't mention it to me beforehand."
How long did it take for you to create it?
"It took about two weeks, and the American flag design was from Ryan's idea. It's all handcrafted and the gold is set in our workshop in Houston. It's me and TV Johnny doing it."
Think grills are making a resurgence?
"I definitely think there will be. He is putting the spotlight back on it. He's reminding people about them. For some up-and-coming rappers, they already are returning. Big Sean. French Montana. Meek Mill. And we're doing something with 2 Chainz and Chris Brown."
I understand that you're going to give a free gold grill to any Olympic winner?
"We've been so pumped up by this. With all the hype of this grill, we want to get our patriotic on. We want to share the offer to any Olympian. We want to give them that gold grill."
Now how much was the one you did for Lochte?
"Well, the cost can go up to about $25,000 for that kind. We didn't charge him that. We gave him an Olympic discount. We have got to take care of him."