Styles P Is Advocating for Health in Underserved Urban Communities

Styles P is driven to make a change in his community. As a rapper himself, the common association between rap and substance abuse is something Styles P says he’s reflected on since opening the doors of his juice franchise, Juices For Life.

Styles was born in Queens but moved with his mother and brother to Yonkers after his parents’ divorce. It was there that he says he observed the proliferation of substance abuse in low-income areas of New York City. More than a mere business opportunity, the rapper – who rose to fame in the mid-’90s as part of rap trio The Lox – was driven to open his first juice bar to fill the gaps in access to healthy, fresh food that individuals from his neighborhood often face.

“If you grew up in the hood, there’s a liquor store on every corner, there’s a fast food place on every corner,” the rapper told Hypebeast. “If you make money and you move to a more affluent neighborhood, you don’t see those same things so frequently.”

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In the early 2000s, Styles was raising a young family with his wife Adjua and trying to be as healthy as possible for the sake of their children. The rapper was also suffering from post-nasal drip and eczema and wanted to shed a few pounds. He began juicing simply as a way of getting more nutrients but was surprised at the immense effect it had on alleviating his ailments.

“You’re not gonna eat two bushels of kale, cucumbers, cilantro, parsley, lemons, green apples all in one take,” he says. “With juice, you can get all the vitamins and minerals that you need, and not be overwhelmed.”

After some time, Styles, who tends to go for green juices himself, took notice of the “detoxing” properties of the juice he was making at home, describing it as cleaning his body out by helping to flush toxins out of his skin.

In 2011, Styles opened the doors of his first brick-and-mortar store in the Bronx, a counter-side shop offering up fruit and vegetable juices, along with wellness shots, protein shakes and smoothies. Not too far from where he grew up in Yonkers, he landed in the Bronx for his first location due to a sheer shortage of healthy food offerings in comparison to the other boroughs.

“[Juices For Life has] evolved with us understanding that people in hip-hop want to live and survive too.”

Returning to the topic of substance abuse in low income communities, both within the Bronx and elsewhere, Styles says Juices For Life “was definitely looking to be on opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s evolved with us understanding that people in hip-hop want to live and survive too.”

The fact that Styles had been juicing for years himself was a major influence in how his business plans unfolded. The rapper was instrumental in curating the menu, sourcing fruits and vegetables and making some of the shop’s first ever juices. A decade plus after the inaugural shop’s launch, Juices For Life has expanded to a second location in the Bronx, a Brooklyn spot and one in Styles’ childhood city – and the home base of The Lox – Yonkers.

Although the detour from rapping to slinging juices may have been unexpected, Styles P notes he “wasn’t worried about being typical, but more worried about what needed to be provided and what he should bring to the table for people.” More recently, he’s collaborated with Adjua to open a holistic “pharmacy” that doesn’t sell medication but rather minerals and herbs.

Through all his current and future business endeavors, from green juice to zinc capsules, Styles has committed himself to promoting wellness, improving access to health resources and overall impacting people’s daily lives in a positive way.
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