The history! What are grillz and where did they come from?
Updated: Nov 23, 2020
What are grillz? Wiki defines them as In hip hop culture, a grill (most commonly referred to as grills or grillz), also known as fronts or golds, is a type of dental jewellery worn over the teeth. Grills are made of metal and are generally removable. They began to be worn by hip-hop artists in New York City in the early 1980s, and upgraded during the '90s in Oakland. They became even more widely popular during the mid-2000s due to the rise of Southern hip hop rap and the more mainstream pop culture status hip hop attained.
Grillz usually come in a variety of metals, these are predominantly gold, silver or platinum. In some cases these are then inlaid with precious stones such as diamonds! Some are made to be permanent but on the whole they are usually removeable. We are able to produce our premium grillz in a variety of golds from 10-karat right up to 24-karat which features which include being able to tint the gold in a variety of colours such as yellow, white or rose.
As for demographics, grillz are usually most commonly worn by African-American male hip hop listeners aged 18-35 but this is far from set in stone, or shall we say gold! Huge mainstream attention was given to gold grillz at the 2012 Summer Olympics when swimmer Ryan Lochte posed with a grill that showed stones in the design of an American flag. It wasn't his first time wearing them either...
The idea of inserting gems into teeth predates hip hop culture and started in what is now Mexico when the more well-off Mayans drilled pieces of jade in to their teeth! Then later on artists such as Raheem the Dream and Kilo Ali began wearing grillz in the early 1980s!
How did the trend get to New York?
Eddie Plein, owner of Eddies Gold Teeth is given the credit. He was the man who made gold caps for Flavor Flav before doing similar styles for Big Daddy Kane and Kool G. Once he moved to Atlanta he designed grillz for people such as Outkast and Ludacris.
It was the rise of the Dirty South rappers in the 2000s that drew a new nationwide grillz trend, it was during this time that grillz started to appear more and more in hip hop music culture, none more so than the 2005 number one single "Grillz" by Nelly.
Grillz culture is growing more and more with names such as Rihanna and Rita Ora keeping the trend and style in the mainstream.