While every other rapper is living in the 21st century, getting a shitload of face tattoos or maybe a 10 lb., $410,000, 200,000-carat diamond chain that reads "Big Ass Chain" in big-ass letters, Lil Uzi Vert is sitting comfortably in the 3,000th century, laughing at those peasants. That's because he recently got a $24 million pink diamond implanted into his forehead.
"I’ve been paying for a natural pink diamond from [jeweler Elliot Eliantte] for years now," he tweeted on January 30. "This one Stone cost so much I’ve been paying for it since 2017. That was the first time I saw a real natural pink diamond. A lot of M’s in my face." The tweet included 24 money bag emojis, driving home the message.
Considering Uzi is a huge Japanophile and anime superfan, with a stunning anime-inspired car collection and penchant for dropping anime references in his music, it's not shocking that he'd take another step into body modifying himself into a living anime character. Plenty of them bear forehead gems, including Naruto's Tsunade and Pokémon's Ampharos. And perhaps as another prophecy that he would one day become the Giant Jeweled One, he wore a denim jacket in 2016 featuring Meowth, another forehead bejeweled Pokémon. That said, Uzi's decision to add a multi-million dollar face accoutrement has led to a flurry of questions, including but not limited to: Why? How? And what happens if he runs into a low hanging 2x4? We talked to two professional piercers to help us unpack this whole situation.
Roman Reyes, a 29-year-old piercer at Faded Needles Tattoo and Piercing in Brooklyn, explained that Uzi likely got a dermal piercing, which are extremely popular among scene kids young and old, and rappers including Cardi B, who got three small stones placed on her chest, and Sauce Walka, who got a $250,000 tear-shaped implant on his cheekbone. Reyes has performed dermal piercings on clients, though doesn't consider it his specialty.
"You have to really know how to do it," said Reyes, who's been piercing for three years. "Because if you don't, you will harm the person more. You want to do it sort of quick because you don't want the blood to come up. The longer you take, the more blood will start popping out...if the piercer doesn't really know how to do a dermal, it'll get really swollen and then it'll be harder to get the dermal in."
A dermal piercing requires making a small incision into the skin, after which the skin is gently raised and a flat, titanium bar bearing holes is eased in under the skin. That bar has holes in it onto which the Vision-ass mind stone from the Avengers is screwed in, doable because the rock would have a small screw planted on it. So basically, when the diamond isn't in when, say, Uzi is at the batting cages and or trying to do a pore revitalizing face mask, there will be a small bit of metal rod hanging out of his head. On Uzi, it looks like two incisions had to be made in order to hold up the giant, almost 11-carat gem.
The Eternal Atake rapper had previously posted a photo of the marquise cut diamond being fitted to his head flesh, but on Wednesday, he unveiled a much closer look on Instagram in a video captioned "Beauty is pain." Uzi noted on Twitter that it's the most expensive purchase he's ever made, specifying that his "Bugatti can’t even pay for it ... all my cars together, plus home, this took so long now I can get this money."
When asked why he wouldn't just get the pink diamond placed on a ring like a 90-year-old billionaire with a lot of dead husbands or a famed astrologer, Uzi responded, "If I lose the ring yeah U will make fun of me more than putting it in my forehead ha ha jokes on you ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha... And yes I do have insurance."
Uzi explained during an Instagram Story that the area is swollen and healing, which is why it appears off center. "Y'all keep talking about it's off," he said. "It's ’cause I got a long bar in it so it can move ’cause it's swelling. But when it go down, we gon‘ be right there."
Reyes said the healing process would take three to six months, during which Uzi has to wear the diamond at all times, should only rinse off the area twice a day with saline water, then dab dry with a paper towel, and avoid playing with it. Anything more could lead to infection, and that could get nasty as hell.
Reyes explained that skin could reject the bar and piercing which would lead to oozing puss, redness, and swelling that would have to be treated by removing the diamond right away by slicing into the skin again and taking out the dermal, covering the area, and taking antibiotics. If Uzi's not careful he could develop a keloid, which is an overgrowth of scar tissue that looks like if an alien worm was eating you alive from the inside. (Do a Google image search if you dare.)
"If it doesn’t reject, it’ll be the best YOLO piercing success in the history of piercing," said Matt Mayfield, a piercer at Love Adorned in New York City. "But, the size, weight, and shape of the stone alone isn’t going to lend a hand in the healing process." However, if cared for properly and it heals, Uzi and his otherworldly accessory will be good to go. He can move his forehead freely, do some headbanging, whatever. "It'll be a part of him once it's there and is healed," Reyes said. Even so, Reyes recommends that Uzi not headbutt anyone or anything as that could fracture the skull.
Lil Uzi might also have to worry about theft. Even though he probably has bodyguards, Reyes says that someone could easily rip the diamond out. "The platform under it is holding just a little bit of skin," he said. "It shouldn't be really hard. If you grab a really good and then just pull, or if they punch it, that is very dangerous."
Excuse me, punch it? "Yeah, if a person gets into a fight and they get punched, then that will really be horrible for it," Reyes further explained. "It will really bleed a lot."
But Reyes said Uzi's biggest, more common foes will be the regular stuff around the house. "I had a dermal myself in my arm," he said. "Every time I'd walk into something, or hit it on the edge of the wall, or get it stuck in my towel [it would hurt]. So they really got to be careful, within the first month I'd say. Once it heals, it's not a problem."
Mayfield agrees. "Putting on a t-shirt just got way more tricky, and risky, for Lil Uzi," he said. "Surface piercings need minimal movement to heal properly. Any excess of snagging or pulling is going to cause the piercing to migrate, and once it starts to push out of the skin, the clock is ticking, and eventually the jewelry makes its way out of the skin. With a piercing like this, the best way to keep some skin in the game is to go small, heal, then go big."
Even with the risks associated, Uzi seems beyond ecstatic with his precious stone, even if it could impede him from wearing a cool bandana or could get caught in his blankets while he sleeps. "I’m literally tryna turn into a Diamond," he tweeted. If that's the case, he's one step closer.