Hip-hop is all about embracing cultures and expressing ideals, sentiments, and even fashions that have yet to fit within the status quo. Hip-hop isn’t only a musical genre—it’s a subculture and lifestyle. Hip-hop is monumentally progressive and forward thinking, and it challenges the powers that be. Artist Justin Bua interprets hip-hop culture in his vivid paintings, which capture some of the most iconic faces in hip-hop.

Vegan for more than 16 years, Bua is not shy about his ideals. Once a fast-food-eating “ghetto kid” from the streets of New York, he was introduced to a plant-based diet by leading nutritionist David Wolfe, one of the world’s top authorities on natural health, and changed his life completely for the better! For someone who believes that “veganism is the ultimate expression of hip-hop,” Bua definitely walks the walk, believing that animals matter and that we have no right to exploit them.

The roots of hip-hop date back to the late 70s in New York, and taste-making icons and peta2 homies such as Russell Simmons and Dead Prez are vegan, proud, and not afraid to discuss the politics behind their dietary decision. Going vegan saves the lives of more than 100 animals per year and makes a solid political statement. Want to make an impact on American culture, much like legendary hip-hop leaders? Go vegan!