Eddie Plein is Atlanta’s godfather of grills and the owner of Eddie’s Gold Teeth:
“Our parents, like people in South America, they had golds. I happened to go on a trip to South America where I come from, Dutch Guiana, Surinam. And my tooth broke or something. I went to the dentist, and the idea kinda slapped me. I thought, ‘When I come back to the States, I’m gonna go to dental school.’
“Atlanta was like 10 years later, after I did my thing in New York. I’m the first guy that did Flava Flav’s gold. I’m the first guy who did some of the rappers from then, like Big Daddy Kane. Just-Ice was one dude that kinda put me on the map, too. Whenever he did an album, he used to push my gold.
“In the A-Town, I was able to jump that off again. I had a beautiful market ’cause the A-Town was on the come-up. You had the Freaknik. You had rappers. You had music conventions.
“Years ago, before the red gold came out. Andre from OutKast used to tell me, ‘Make me some coppers.’ I don’t know why, ’cause I would never stoop down to do it. But he just wanted something different. He said, ‘Even if it looks like a penny, that’s what I want.’ Of course, that’s lousy gold. Yeah, that was real strange.
“By 2000, 2001, I started noticing jewelers come out of the woodwork, trying to do gold. Right now, it’s flooded. Things have changed. The last couple years have been about the ‘ice age’, you know what I’m sayin’? Everybody wants ice. And I’m kinda tired of it a little bit. But I put the teeth into hip-hop, you know what I mean?”