Amidst a throng of diamonds and teeth, Paul Wall has managed to find some time to jump into the studio once again to work on his sophomore album. Get Money Stay True which hit shelves on April 3rd is expected to put a smile on the faces of his fans.
Having launched a very successful and lucrative business with his custom made grills, Paul has also been busy chopping and screwing the music of his band Expensive Taste which also features Travis Barker and Rob Aston. Becoming both a husband and a father, life certainly has been very hectic since dropping his debut The Peoples Champ back in 2005. But it was obvious in this interview that he definitely had fun getting back into the studio to work on this project.
Talking to HipHopDX.com, Paul Wall explained how one size fits all, his accountability when it comes to conflict diamonds and just why this album was so special to record.
HHDX: You have been busy with the Grill business and the last time we spoke you did state that you were using the music as a promotional tool for the business. How is the company coming along?
PW: It has been great. My website, did you ever imagine that the company would be as successful as it has been?
No, I had no idea, I had never imagined it. We have a strong internet staff that are promoting and marketing us like crazy. I am out there as well and every time I open my mouth, they see the grill and they ask me about it and I am the first one to tell you, grillsbypaulwall.com.
HHDX: Where is your main market or is it the US?
PW: You know it is mainly the US but we sell a lot to Canada and we sell a lot to the UK, so it is actually worldwide.
HHDX: The Japanese are buying into this now as well I was told
PW: Yeah, we have sold quite a few of them out there too. Hopefully with the release of this new album Get Money, Stay True it will get bigger and better and when we release it internationally, even better.
HHDX: The last album wasnt released anywhere but the US though was it?
PW: Yeah, it was just the US but hopefully as this one is being released internationally it will help introduce me to new markets and I cant wait to go over to Japan. My homeboys have been talking about going over there for a long time.
HHDX: I am curious to know about the one size fits all grill though. Is that humanly possible? [laughing]
PW: [Laughing] Basically we have a small size and a large size, the small one being for kids, the other for adults. So it is metal with the stones and it is wax that you boil up like an athletic mouth piece and you put it in then and it fits.
HHDX: Back in the day in the 80s when grills first came out, people talked about the long term effects on teeth, is it still as serious?
PW: Not really now. I mean when the jewelers first started making them, they may not have been as custom as they are now and now they are custom made and we have quite a few dentists that we wholesale to around the world, so we sell a lot of grills to a lot of different places and we wholesale to a lot of different companies.
Probably a generic question but I will ask it anyway, most expensive piece you have made? PW: We sold one to TI for $30,000 and a few to Nelly for $20-25,000.
HHDX: People dont stop at one though do they, if you are into them you seem to have a collection. PW: Yeah I mean Nelly, he is someone who has one in every color and Nelly has quite a few grills, you know he wasnt playing.
HHDX: This is obviously going beyond just being a trend. PW: Yeah it is crazy. Just when I thought it was about to be played out we had a whole different genre of people from all different areas around the world, especially in the US. Now it has caught the attention of all genres, all ages, all races, and all cultures.
Who would be the one person who looked to you to hook them up with a grill that you didnt expect? PW: Brooke Hogan and Hulk Hogan, they really were people I didnt expect to sell too.
With business booming, you have gone back into the studio to make the album, how has that been? PW:
It has been a lot of fun, in fact the most fun I have had ever recording. Me and my boy Keith Harris and my boy Lil Keke, we have just been in there non stop, coming up with the music and having a lot of fun with it.
Obviously things have changed, as since the last album you have gotten married and had a baby, has that effected you in terms of recording? PW: Hmmm... no not really, but it has motivated me to work harder. He comes on the road and my wife comes with me sometimes and it is a lot of fun.
HHDX: What are you working with production wise on the album? PW: Mostly Mr. Lee, he is Texas based producer but then I have a couple of tracks with Travis Barker and then we are working on the Expensive Taste album.
HHDX: Yeah what is going on with that as I know you are all working on individual projects, what about the collective? PW: Oh man we have about 35 songs recorded, me Skinny Rob and Travis Barker and it is a lot of fun doing that too.
HHDX: How did that collective come about though? PW: They were signed to Atlantic and I was up there and we just happened to be in the office at the same time and we met. We had a lot of fun and when they let me hear the music I thought it would sound good screwed and chopped so I went to work on it. We ended up recording and having a lot of fun with it and it was a great experience.
HHDX: Will we get to experience that on your new album? PW: Yeah we have a song called Sliding on that Oil on the album.
HHDX: What is the state of collaborations on the album? PW: Well I have the R&B singer Jon B and of course Lil Keke, Snoop Dogg is on there and Jermaine Dupri. I am looking forward to it dropping man.
HHDX: The last album sold 1.4 million, are you under any pressure? PW: No. I mean there is always going to be another album, and all we can do is try to make it sell good. So we are working with it and holding it down so hopefully it will do good.
HHDX: You take your role beyond Hip-Hop seriously? PW: Yeah I mean Hip-Hop is the most influential genre of music in the world and as an artist in Hip-Hop you have a responsibility to play a part and use the powers that God has blessed us with to go and do some good in the world. I just try to do what I can to make something positive around the world instead of the negative.
I have a non-profit organization called Hope for Houston and I have done different documentaries with different people. I just took a trip to Africa, I was in Iraq to do a show for the troops, and you know to motivate them. In Africa it was for a documentary about the poverty out there. You know I just want to help make a difference out there. We are starting an organization in Sierra Leone to help the people out there who have no running water or electricity. Just use the celebrity to make any difference I can.
HHDX: Talking about Sierra Leone, have you ever come under scrutiny about the diamonds you us for your grills? PW: No, no I havent, not myself but I welcome anyone who wants to scrutinize me, go ahead. It is something that I shouldnt get any type of leeway as I am a jeweler and I shouldnt get excluded so I should get the same as what any other jeweler gets. I would encourage any jeweler to go out there and do some intensive research on where the diamonds you are buying to sell to the public are coming from and I did my fair share of homework to make sure I am not buying any conflict diamonds or supporting an form of illegal activity in the diamond trade. Even people are enslaved to mine those diamonds and we have done our homework to make sure that we are not buying any type of diamonds to encourage that at all.
HHDX: Hip-Hop does a lot of positive work that fails to go unnoticed, does this bother you personally? PW: This is just how people are, you have to accept it. People are always going to find something wrong with you and that is going to be the first thing people bring up, that is life. I just focus on the positive and I have a thick skin and I am the first one to laugh if anything goes wrong. I am the first one to laugh at the jokes even if they are about me. If someone is talking trash about me on the internet I will forward it to my homeboys so they get a good laugh out of it.
HHDX: Beyond the marketing of your grills over the internet in terms of you personally how helpful was the internet to you? PW: It was one of the main things for me as it will spread whatever you have going on. I could put a song on there tonight and you could be in Croatia and the song will be there in ten minutes.
HHDX: Does illegal downloading bother you? PW: No, as that is promotion for any artist. I love it.
HHDX: What are your fans going to get from this album Paul? PW:
It is the best music I have ever recorded in my life and I had the most fun recording it and I love the album and I know that my fans are going to love it. The fun we had recording the album, you are going to see through the music.
Do you think that putting yourself under serious pressure in the studio making an album takes away the fun of it and makes it more a job?
PW: I guess thats how it was for me, it was a job but teaming up with my boy Lil Keke and Keith Harris, it changed from being a job to being fun again and Lil Keke is why I fell in love with Hip-Hop and just working with him reminded me of why I fell in love with Hip-Hop and why I wanted to be a rapper. It just encouraged me to have fun and go out and do my thing and that is what I did with the album. You can hear that through the music.