- Robert Houston will mark the release of his newest Black P album with a July 7 CD release show at the Black Sheep.
There's plenty of evidence supporting the quality and breadth of the Colorado Springs music scene, but there's also never a shortage of naysayers. Plus, we live in an era when any argument can be nullified by simply exclaiming "fake news!"
But no matter what your opinion of our music scene as a whole may be, it would be a fool's errand to decry the strength of local hip-hop. Sure, there may be some goofy social media beefs that crop up now and then, but let's be honest ... who among us hasn't found ourselves there? The consistent quality of our homegrown hip-hop performers, both live and recorded — as well as the pedigree of national acts with which they've often shared stages of late — remains a salve against musical cynicism.
Given that, it should be great news for all fans of local hip-hop that one of its most notable figures is making a return to the stage with a brand-new album to celebrate. You can catch Black Pegasus at the Black Sheep this Friday, July 7, as the emcee releases his new LP, Robert Houston, also featuring performances by Wreckless County, Deaf, Vetlyfe, Legacy, Empirical Knowledge, Ray Writer, Juz J and Left E.
The new release is his first since 2015's Flobama, a title inspired by tourmate R.A. The Rugged Man joking about Black P's proper speaking manner being similar to that of Barack Obama. On Robert Houston (which is Black P's real name), he takes a decidedly more personal turn, as evidenced by the album title and tracks celebrating his family.
"I was approaching this album like it was going to be my last, and I wanted to get back to my roots," says the rapper, who began performing and promoting his music back in 1999. "Through all the years on the road and different challenges my career has presented, when my mother passed from cancer in 2010, I found myself lost and uninspired. At that time, I was 30 years old, and I was trying to act like I was still in my 20s with my music and lifestyle. When Mom passed, all that changed; something clicked over. In 2011, I started to begin my transformation as a man."
Spurred by his mother's death, Houston says he began to walk a path of "health through nutrition," a lifestyle change that lifted the "mental fog" in which he was living. By 2013, he found himself inspired to take time writing songs that were more personal and authentic. The new album's title reflects this personal touch, which is illustrated vividly through several tracks.
The track "Robert Houston I" features an appearance by his father, while "Robert Houston II" (so titled after Black Pegasus' full name) is accompanied by a colorful video celebrating classic hip-hop graffiti and B-boy dancing. Most strikingly, the track "Robert Houston III" is an emotional homage to his son, who passed away in June 2016.
"Finding out my wife was pregnant inspired me to finish the album as something to leave behind — a legacy — to be remembered by with the family name," says Houston. "I waited to find out the baby was a boy for sure. Once we did, I completed the album except for one song ... I was waiting for the birth of my firstborn son, and I had planned on writing the final song about him and how he made me feel after I held him at birth."
The emcee describes the song as the most personal and hardest he's ever had to write.
"As you may know from the most recent music video I released, the plan was rerouted, as he passed away in the womb. Even though the worst case scenario happened, I still wrote a song for my boy to complete the album. It's really hard for me to talk about, unless it is with close family and friends, since the wound is still so fresh. For some reason, it was a lot more natural to express myself through song."
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