David Holiday Styles, better known as Styles P, has been making heads bounce with his smooth rhymes since the mid ’90s. This Yonkers, New York, native first broke out as a member of The Lox in 1998 alongside Jadakiss and Sheek Louch. The group’s debut album Money, Power & Respect was one of the hottest albums when it came out. I still remember rushing to the record store as soon as it dropped.

Styles PStyles P brings that same fire with his latest release, Phantom Gangster Chronicles—Vol. 1. This CD comes packaged with a DVD that features two hours of exclusive stage and studio footage and appearances from Jadakiss, Sheek Louch, Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes, Jim Jones, Young Jeezy, and other big-name hip-hop artists.

Check out what this master lyricist had to say about his music, his health, and more in this exclusive interview with peta2.

Here Styles P is in his own words:

In your opinion, how’s your mix tape, Phantom Gangster Chronicles—Volume I, different from past releases?
I was coming from an angle of being an artist, wanting to play the whole role and act as an artist with different questions and come from different angles ….

Who did you feature in Phanton Gangster Chronicles—Volume I?
I featured Jim Jones, Fat Joe, Young Jeezy, Cassidy, people from the street, my peoples at the 125th Juice Bar, bartenders—trying and thinking and working out a couple different aspects.

Do you have any animal companions at home?
I have three dogs—pitbulls—and I have a Siamese cat. My cat’s name is Miso …. My girl dog, her name is Chloe …. My boy dog’s name is Manny, and my puppy’s name is Cleo.

Do you support adopting animals from shelters? 
Why not? I think that’s cool.

We actually wrote to Barack Obama and asked him to adopt a dog from an animal shelter. Then Michelle Obama went on Entertainment Tonight and was asked about the future puppy. She said that the family really wanted to adopt one from a shelter. 
That’s what we need! … You gotta educate me on more things and then I’m gonna be like the ghetto sponsor of PETA. … Tell … your people they need to call my people. We can work something out.

I hear that you’re a really healthy guy and that you started experimenting with vegetarianism. What started that?
I just wanted to be healthy. I stopped eating pork when I was 12 or 13 and then I stopped eating beef when I was on the “No Way Out” tour …. I was driving by some farm and for at least the length of a mile there’s plain land. I could see mad cows stacked next to one another … like an assembly line. I see those cows and it just didn’t look right.

. . .

Besides that, I’m a father, so a lot of it really started to kick in when I was thinking from a father point of view. I don’t want my kids growing up eating the same bullcrap. I think the better you eat, the better person you are.

Going off what you just said about the factory farm with the miles and miles of cows, did you know that the U.N. just put out a report saying that factory farms are the number one cause of climate change? Factory farms are the worst thing possible for the environment. What do you think about that?
Shut them down! Shut them down! I mean, shut them down! Find something different to do. … If that’s the number one cause … why are they even still open?

Because if they do shut those down, that is a billion-dollar industry that’s losing money.
I know that’s what it boils down to. This country is crazy; this whole world is crazy!

So what’s your favorite vegetarian meal?
[M]ainly, it’s like avocado, rice and beans, or whatever with broccoli or asparagus.

That sounds really good. Do you have any opinion on wearing fur?
I never wore fur. I never owned fur. I never buy a fur.

In the states, we get the majority of our fur imported from China and an undercover investigation was done at a Chinese fur farm. They caught industry workers on film skinning animals while they were still alive, including dogs and cats.
I think that stuff’s screwed up! … It’s screwed up because, I mean, [we] ain’t cavemen anymore. … I think anything that’s alive that gets hurt is messed up. I probably like animals better than people to tell you the truth. I’m like one of them kind of people.

Well, on an ending note, what’s next for you? Anything we can watch out for?
I’m trying to work on this movement called “All Bars.” It’s called “All Bars” because I promote, you know, the juice bar—juice and trying to stay healthy, to avoid the other bars. I’m talking about the jail bars! … Music is really important but it’s also important that we teach the youth how to eat, teach the youth how to exercise and, you know, use their creativity, in one way or another, and, you know, to stay out of jail and to avoid doing stupid things.

[B]eing from the streets, and a credible street rapper, or whatever, you want to say, “I know how it is to be from the hood.” [Some people] don’t know what it is to go to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. So they need to get information at spots they go to …. I’ll probably try to put out a few books or videos and start up my blog. … It really is important for me to promote good health. … If you aren’t eating right and doing the right thing, the children aren’t doing the right thing. And then, it’s like, the next generation isn’t going to come up with the right morals and principals. So with this All Bars foundation, hopefully, we can keep a couple of kids out of jail ….

As you can see, not only is Styles P’s rap game on point, his views are also on point. It feels good to know that even the hardest of rappers can have the biggest of hearts. We love you, Styles P! MuuWAH!