H-Town is getting some serious props on the Olympic Summer Games medal podium thanks to swimming superstar Ryan Lochte, who donned a patriotic mouth grill custom made for the occasion by the People's Champ himself — Mr. Paul Wall.
“For him to represent us and our culture, the grill culture, it’s just shining a light on hip-hop in the Olympics,” the Houston rapper and DJ tells hip-hop magazine XXL. “Everyone’s talking about it . . . I’m just honored to be part of it.
"There’s not too many world-class swimmers wearing our grill.”
Olympic officials were less pleased to be a part of hip-hop history, apparently telling Lochte that he wouldn't receive his gold medal if he wore his mouth jewels, according to USA Today. Easy enough solution, though. Lochte simply waited to put on the grill after he was handed the gold — just in time for the media pictures.
TV Johnny, Paul Wall's grill-making business partner and owner of Johnny Dang Fine Custom Jewelry at the Galleria, says that Lochte's bling is made from 250 hand-set stones.
TV Johnny, Paul Wall's grill-making business partner and owner of Johnny Dang Fine Custom Jewelry at the Galleria, tells CultureMap that Lochte's bling is made from 250 hand-set stones, a blend of blue and white diamonds along with custom red rubies.
"We've done a couple grills for Ryan before," says the jeweler, who has created mouth pieces for Chris Brown and Snoop Dogg as well as original gangster Justin Bieber. "He and his people contacted us to make something special for the Olympics.
"We all tossed around ideas until we came up with the American flag design."
While TV Johnny declines to share how much Lochte's diamond-encrusted grill cost, Wall tells XXL that similar pieces run between $15,000 and $25,000. He also says that the swimmer received an "Olympic discount."
Johnny hopes Lochte's podium look will mark the start of a new trend for athletes.
"We're offering anyone else on Team USA who wins a gold medal a custom gold grill for free," he says. "Just get in touch with us and we'll set you up."