There’s no doubt Yo! MTV Raps played a role in Robert Houston’s hip-hop education. Like many ‘80s babies, the inimitable Doctor Dre and Ed Lover were always awaiting him when he got home from school, ready with the latest Run-DMC or 2Pac video. Now known as Black Pegasus (or Black P if you nasty), Houston has taken those early lessons and applied them to his own career.
Growing up in Colorado Springs gave Houston the opportunity to help build up the once fledgling hip-hop scene. “Colorado Springs was definitely a unique place to start my career but at the time in 1997 and 1998, there weren’t many hip-hop artists or groups representing Colorado at all — just a small handful of names at the time,” Houston tells Bandwagon Magazine. “Because there weren’t many artists or venues booking Colorado hip-hop acts back then, me and my crew F.O.S. started throwing our own shows in Colorado Springs, Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins.
“Our shows started to get packed and venues like The Fox Theatre and 32 Bleu started to book us to open for national artists. We actually became a major driving force in the hip-hop scene in Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins and the Springs, opening the door for local talent to get on concerts in 2000-2003. When I went solo in 2003, I used my show network and battle rap skill to take things to the next level.”
Seventeen years after dropping his debut self-titled album, Houston is still as passionate about honing his craft as he was back then.
“I’m a creative,” he says. “I love to create and always will. As long as I have fans that want to listen to the music, I will always put it out. One day maybe I’ll create for myself in the basement, but I just have a passion and fire inside to create things.”
Houston’s latest full length album, the aptly titled Robert Houston, arrived in 2017. Sparked by his mother’s death, Houston considers it his most personal album to date and the crown jewel of his discography — for now.
“That album got pretty personal at certain moments and it marked a new chapter in my career,” he explains. “Right now, I’ve been recording a ton. I have a new project that was just released called Pandemic Proof. I’m promoting that and working on new content as we speak. I’m also trying to grow my other businesses like my concert promotion company and my recording studio Mount Olympus.”
Pandemic Proof obviously speaks to the current times. The world has been drowning in the COVID-19 pandemic since March, subsequently bringing the music industry to its knees. Like the bulk of touring artists, his career has been dramatically impacted.
“I make a majority of my living throwing events and touring the world as a performing artist,” he says. “Currently, that’s not possible at any capacity. This has made me have to adjust and pivot to the digital world. I’m doing my best to adapt. It’s pretty tricky, but I’ve always been a hustler and an innovator so I’m not worried. I’m just pushing through.” At the same time, he’s keeping his expectations at a realistic level.
“Honestly, I’m not sure how it’s gonna play out,” he adds. “There’s a lot of false flags and misinformation floating around about this virus as well. It’s obviously a real thing, but it’s been weaponized for politics and pharmaceutical corporate interests. I’m one of the people who would rather see herd immunity or viral burn-out accomplished. This vaccine they’re trying to push out in such a short time-span is dangerous in my opinion. There’s never been a vaccination pushed this fast which means it’s probably the least tested. It’s a very complicated and layered issue. I’m hopeful for the best but prepared for the worst.”
As the pandemic waged on this summer, the Black Lives Matter movement was at a fever pitch following the police killing of George Floyd on May 25. Houston, who’s also vocal about important socio-political issues, is hopeful for the future.
“I really believe in the current movement for social justice and equality,” he says. “I believe we’re taking many steps in the right direction and some change is starting to happen. I also believe that the movement has been infiltrated by corporations and political agendas. There have been a lot of provocateurs and people infiltrating the movement to start riots, looting, et cetera.
“I do not condone rioting or looting – especially looting,” Houston continues. “There is a lot of confusion and chaos circulating currently. There needs to be a little more organization. At the end of the day, social justice and equality should bring the people together and create strength in unity, not division. It’s a work in progress.”
For now, Houston is committed to the music, the only thing that seems to make sense sometimes.
“The music means everything to me,” he says. “I put a lot into my writing and focus on being a high-level lyricist. There’s always some type of deeper message in my music for the most part, but I like to keep it entertaining as well.
“I hope it’s relatable to the fans and helps them get through their day; maybe they’ll learn something from it or feel some type of emotional charge. I just want them to be able to vibe at the frequency I’m putting out there.”
Check out the freshly released Pandemic Proof by Black Pegasus, as well as his new single “Zinc Floyd The Law” and the 40yroldfuqboys podcast which releases multiple episodes weekly via the Black Pegasus YouTube channel.