Bottom Grillz: An Overview
Did you know the richest person in human history had... bottom grills? That’s right. African King Mansa Musa, who was worth an absolutely staggering $400 billion dollars when he died in the 1300’s and amassed his fortune through gold and control of other non-renewable natural resources like salt, loved his gold bottom grill.
Although they’ve been popularized in recent years by celebrities like Kanye West, Kylie Jenner and others, don’t be fooled. Bottom grillz have been around a long time. The bottom grill was popular long before Nelly, Paul Wall and crew decided to make a song about it. In fact, archaeologists date the gold bottom grill as a fashion trend since as far back as 2500 BC.
Everyone from Etruscan societies in 100 AD -that’s modern day Tuscany, Italy- to Mayan warlords and Filipinos from 1500 AD. Vikings rocked bottom grillz in 900 AD. But regardless of geography, one thing remains the same: the symbolism.
In the 90’s bottom gold grillz and other bottom teeth grillz were a huge trend in Tajikistan until the cost of gold got out of hand. In Uzbekistan they were in high demand at that time as well. Whether it’s wealthy Etruscan women and Mayan kings or modern day fashion and rap stars, bottom grillz have always symbolized the same thing: status.
It’s true. The gold bottom grill and other bottom gold grillz are held close to the hearts of us hip-hop aficionados. And for good reason, too. Hip-hop made bottom grillz cool. Motown era musicians back in the 60’s were also fond of their bottom teeth grillz, and even the under age 25 crowd can appreciate the swagger and deft coolness of Motown era musicians.
Hip-hop and the bottom grill have been friends since the beginning. DJ Kool Herc, who’s credited as the founder of hip-hop, if not one of it’s earliest and greatest pioneers, wore bottom grillz. As did Flava Flav and others. And you can’t possibly mention bottom teeth grillz without mentioning Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick and other early rap luminaries.
The bottom grill only got more air time (and a lot more diamonds) by the time the 2000’s rolled around thanks to Cash Money. Birdman, Lil Wayne, Juvenile and crew coined the term “bling bling” and that’s not for no reason.
Their bottom gold grillz and bottom teeth grillz were flooded with stones. Nelly probably didn’t know it when he dropped “Grillz” in the 2000’s, but he would turn the whole world onto the bottom grill and other grills for teeth, making them mainstream. DJ Khaled recently did the same with his grillz anthem “Gold Slugs” featuring Chris Brown, August Alsina, Fetty Wap and others.
Bottom Grillz: Most Expensive Grillz?
The most expensive grillz are worth $152,700 and were created by a Dubai based dentist in 2014. Lil Wayne and Kanye West come in at a close second, with sets valued at $100,000. Lil John’s custom set was valued at $50,000.
For their marriage, Kelis and Nas got matching $36,000 grills. T-Pain has a yellow diamond set valued at $30,000. Paul Wall has a $20,000 set. Riff Raff’s $21,000 shark teeth grills are (probably) the most outrageous while Ryan Lochte’s $25,000 American flag grills were the most mainstream example of a non-rapper sporting grillz.