‘It Is What It Is When You Are Being Competitive’: Styles P on His ‘Favorite Part’ About The Lox’s Verzuz Battle Against Dipset and Why 2023 Is a Defining Year for Hip Hop

Off the heels of the 50th birthday of hip-hop, David Styles — solo artist and one-third of the exemplary and incomparable rap group The LOX — is grateful for the longevity the game has given him.

Since the ’90s, the New York emcee famously known as Styles P has had a successful career that is undoubtedly stamped in the culture and has continued to blossom outside of music by maintaining his businesses that center his community.

During an interview with Atlanta Black Star, Styles P acknowledged the 50th anniversary of hip-hop as the best year for the genre. (Photo Credit: Danny Hastings)

That’s what makes this year significant and a defining year for the genre, the “Good Times” rapper told Atlanta Black Star in an interview. Hip-hop has allowed many rappers like Styles P to go on decades later to pivot and excel in other endeavors.

Hip-Hop Is My Culture, My Religion, And My Craft, Styles P Says

Aside from 1995, when The LOX came onto the rap scene, Styles P says 2023 is a momentous time because both OGs and new artists are getting their just due.

“I would definitely highlight this year because to see hip-hop celebrated on such a grand stage, which it deserves, has been pretty amazing to see,” he said. “I’m grateful to hip-hop. It’s my culture, it’s my religion, it’s my craft. It’s how I eat, walk, talk, sleep, s—t, do everything. It’s been able to provide me with a beautiful music career, but also be a stepping stone into my other ventures and other businesses.”

The Grammy-nominated rapper was able to use the platform and leverage his stardom to launch several businesses and shift his focus to entrepreneurship in the health and wellness arena. To introduce his community to their medicine cabinet, he founded Juices For Life with his group member Jadakiss and Farmacy For Life dubbed “Hip Hop’s First Health Food Store” with his wife, Adjua.

“It feels amazing because we’re doing more than just music. That feels extremely good because to see where we started, to see where we came from, to see what we made it through, to see the trials and tribulations we went through, and to be able to affect people’s lives positively.”

He continued, “We just took it to the hip-hop outlet and used our voices and reach to make sure we are affecting younger people in the communities that may not be thinking about it.”

Hip-Hop And Brotherhood Shined on the ‘Verzuz’ Stage

Styles P has a diet to not only bridge the gap for generations through promoting a healthier lifestyle but also with bars on the big stage. He and his group members — Jadakiss and Sheek Louch — reignited their flame during their epic “Verzuz” battle against The Diplomats in the summer of 2021.

The event is solidified as an unforgettable night in hip-hop history. The two collectives went head-to-head in front of the world, who tuned in via live stream and in the energetic crowd at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Although the performance exuded hip-hop’s braggadocious and cutthroat nature, it also showed the power of camaraderie in rap on a major platform. At one point, the battle got so intense that fans thought the groups were beefing.

Fans online went crazy after a viral clip circulating on social media showed Cam’ron kicking Styles P during the performance — which they both later cleared up. 

“I mean, it got really chippy, but we got love and a mutual respect for each other, you know; it is what it is when you are being competitive,” Styles P told Atlanta Black Star. “Before it happened… we all mutually agreed that it’s going to get a little nasty.

He continued: “My favorite part was the end of the ‘Verzuz,’ where we all sat there in brotherly love and saluting our city in the hip-hop world. And the fact that we could be competitive New Yorkers… [and] have love for each other. When it’s time to battle, we do what we have to do. When it ends, get back to that brotherhood.

RELATED: Fat Joe Trends After Offering Side-Splitting Commentary on Dipset and Lox ‘Verzuz’ Battle

After elevating in the industry together and successful solo careers, The LOX has nothing to prove. Still, the group’s performance introduced them to a younger audience who may have yet to become familiar with their extensive, well-rounded catalog, work ethic and long-lasting friendship.

“We understood the younger generation may not fully understand who we are, and it was our job to show them just make sure they are on their ‘one-two’ when it comes to the craft. We didn’t know coming out of it that young emcees that were going to start hitting us up like, ‘I’m going to learn my rhymes. I’m not going to rhyme over the words no more,” Styles P added.

“And another thing we didn’t know is that the world would be able to see our brotherhood shine through in the ‘Verzuz.’ The brotherhood comes before the music. The brotherhood comes before the group. And that stood out.”

The 48-year-old went on to say, “To see those who came before me get their flowers and recognition… I would say this has definitely been a beautiful year. For me, literally, every year has been beautiful.”

Still, he points to 2023 as being a year that stands out as “more beautiful,” as he said, “I feel the genre as a whole has been recognized as being one of the most influential genres out. It doesn’t matter where you’re at, what you’re doing, what race, shape, size or background you’re from; you got to f—k with hip-hop because it touches the whole world.”

Last year, Styles P announced his retirement as a solo act, but has been visible for events and festivals commemorating the culture. Recently, the LOX performed at Hot 97’s Summer Jam, and shared the stage with hip-hop heavyweight Rakim.


Back to top