Whether you know him as one-third of the legendary rap trio The LOX, as a solo artist from his lyrically superior debut album A Gangster and A Gentleman, or as co-owner of the plant-based chain Juices For Life, Styles P has been entertaining and educating fans for years. Now, with four Juices For Life locations (two in the Bronx, one in Yonkers, and one in Brooklyn), the emcee is proving that the only beef hip-hop needs is on the mic and not the plate. We spoke to Styles P regarding his transition to a plant-based diet and how operating a juice shop for approximately eight years has had a positive impact on his community.
VegNews: When did you adopt a plant-based diet?
Styles P: About four years ago. I started as a vegetarian around 2003, and on Thanksgiving I would break bread with my family and have a little turkey. Then, in 2013, the turkey I ate really affected me. It didn’t sit right, so I did a three-week cleanse and never went back. I became plant-based.
VN: What changes have you noticed since becoming plant-based? What’s been the most enjoyable part?
SP: Everything, all around. My size, temperament, clarity … it’s like I’ve turned back the clock.
VN: What are your thoughts on veganism? Do you feel it has a place in hip-hop?
SP: Hell yeah! I preach balance. It’s in the way you approach people (because) we are all flawed. Our job is to teach, (and) it’s in the way you ask. You say, “I care for you.” Then, they get the message.
VN: Have you converted any other rappers to go plant-based?
SP: I can proudly say that I am a converter. When you see something wrong with a car, you know it’s all beat up or whatever, you try to help people get that extra mileage out of it. Your body is your vehicle, so I tell people about how plants have helped me and all the benefits of it.
VN: What kind of feedback have you received regarding Juices For Life?
SP: It’s been great. People want to be healthy. They want to know how to make healthier choices. Surviving is gangster. If the community is eating right, it leads to bright ideas, betterment, and enlightenment.
VN: What are craft services like when you’re on the road or on video shoots? Is it full of plants, fruit, and vegetables? What do you eat when you’re on the road?
SP: Yeah, definitely. It may have avocado, different nut butters. Sometimes, I’ll hit up a Whole Foods. The Happy Cow app is good. There’s all kinds of vegetarian spots out there.
VN: Late last year The LOX dropped the surprise EP #4NoReAsOn. On it, do you address veganism?
SP: I do. I was like, “Let me drop one from the heart.” I’m always talking about how to heal yourself and spreading what I learned. I use all kinds of natural things like colloidal silver, oil of oregano, juices, and plants. Nobody’s perfect, but I try to promote health. Then you combine that with the spiritual, investing in family, and the future.
VN: Anything else you’d like the people to know about your plant-based journey?
SP: Yeah, I consider myself plant-based. I don’t feel that I deserve the label of vegan yet because I still wear leather, but eventually I want to get to that point. You know you love your dog, and a cow is no different. So, yeah, eventually I want to get to that point.
Cametria Hill is the author of the newly released A Southern Girl’s Guide to Plant-Based Eating: Recipes from the Vegan Soul that Won’t Make You Broke, a plant-based eating and living guide filled with support, advice, and dozens of recipes that show that home cooked Southern vegan food is possible.