"We often talk about generational wealth in our communities. But, I also like to talk about generational health. You can't really get wealthy if you aren't healthy," Lox member and wellness entrepreneur Styles P (neé David R. Styles) shares during our Zoom interview.
One third of the legendary rap trio, the Yonkers emcee has not only given us 15—yes, 15—solo studio albums, six collaborative albums, and a multitude of mixtapes. (This doesn't even begin to touch his decades long discography with his Lox bandmates.) But, he has also dedicated much of his time in recent years to ensuring Black and Brown communities—especially in inner city neighborhoods—are equipped with access to healthy options.
"You can't really get wealthy if you aren't healthy."Styles P
In 2011, Styles P along with his business partners opened their first juice bar location in the Bronx, Juices for Life. Since then, he and his wife Adjua have gone on to launch their health food store, Farmacy for Life—hip hop's first natural health food store—and he has also created his own line of peanut butter called Styles PB&J.
"Seeing the change juicing made in my life, and seeing how more affluent neighborhoods have access to healthy options compared to neighborhoods like those I come from, I knew it was my job to encourage people to put their health and wellness at the forefront," the Lox rapper says. "Hip hop is so influential, and the youth can get so caught up in the flash of it all. But, I felt it necessary to also go back and show that you also have to be in good mind, body and soul to be successful. That starts with what we eat and put in our bodies, and I want to let our people know that."
"Hip hop is so influential, and the youth can get so caught up in the flash of it all. But, I felt it necessary to also go back and show that you also have to be in good mind, body and soul to be successful. That starts with what we eat and put in our bodies, and I want to let our people know that."Styles P
EBONY was able to chat further with Styles P where he discussed his retirement from solo projects, that iconic Verzuz battle against Dipset two years ago, his feelings around Hip Hop 50 and so much more.
EBONY: We're coming off two years since that iconic Verzuz battle between The Lox and Dipset. Take us back through that day.
Styles P: What I remember most is the excitement and magnitude of that day. It was held in New York, in Madison Square Garden, where traditionally the epic battles in rap have taken place. It felt good to be able to represent hip hop in the way we felt most of the world forgot about. We definitely didn't think it would be that huge, though.
For us, we were just focused on showing the youth the importance of knowing your songs, knowing your lyrics and honing in on your craft. We wanted to bring a different effect from all the effects and other stuff that was brought out that day, and it just worked out for us.
You're coming up on your last solo project, although you aren't stepping away from rap entirely. Can you give us any insight on what this final project will look and feel like?
For this one, I want to reach out and work with people whose work I've been fond of. I don't want to give too much away, though. This project, I'm really going to take my time and push myself into some pockets that I normally don't. I'm going to lock in some collaborations to also bring some different sounds, because iron sharpens iron. But also bring some of that same vibe and energy that people expect from me, with an elevated sound. But, I'm not retiring all the way. I'll still do Lox albums and collaborative albums.
I've spent such a large portion of my life putting out content and music for my fans. Compared to some of my peers in the industry, I've put out a large amount of music. But, the pandemic really taught me the importance of relaxing and finding balance. I also just want to focus on some of the other things I have going on. I want to work on my second novel and do some film projects. My wife, Adjua, already has two books, I'm trying to match her, so I'm not the only "fake author" in the house. Also, we're looking to expand the juice brand further as well.
This year, we're celebrating all-things hip hop. How does it feel to pay homage to this genre that means so much to you, especially as an emcee from Yonkers?
Fifty years is not a long time for hip hop, it's literally two years older than me. When you think about where it's gone since it was created, how so many are now tapped into this culture, it's amazing. I'm speechless over how it has influenced the world. To be from Yonkers, the next spot over from the Bronx, it just leaves me speechless, but I'm most definitely honored to be a part of this thing.