For years Black Pegasus has been refining his skill and style while juggling the responsibilities of building his empire with his Brass Knuckles Entertainment venture. There’s no mistake that in 2005, Rob Houston (as is stated on his drivers license) will be rolling into the realm of mainstream recognition. And with his great smile, he’ll be grinning all the way.
You see; Black P.’s second solo release Knuckle Up dropped a few weeks ago on January 18 and tickets for the February 3rd release party have been flying out the box office window at Boulder’s Fox Theatre.
The Fox is home to many hip-hop artists from Colorado and beyond, including The Streets from the U.K. that played at the venue in the latter part of 2004. Black P. got a call the day of the show to fill the opening slot, and he was more than happy to make the drive from Colorado Springs to introduce many unknowing fans that night to his refined skills. By the end of his set, they more than knew who this local star was. So it’s no surprise that he returns to the Fox to keep the show going.
The snow had melted a bit on this warmer Sunday afternoon when I got a chance to talk to Black P. about what’s in store for the New Year, his new release, and you.
Kaffeine Buzz: Black P., how’s the solo career rolling out for you?
Black Pegasus: It’s been a journey that’s been keeping me busy, but it’s been going pretty good. It’s been close to two years now. Knuckle Up is my second solo album.
KB: Your original group, F.O.S. [Focus On Skillz] disbanded sometime ago, and I understand that was the impetus for your solo project. Do you wanna throw us some insight on the break-up?
BP: Basically, I’m startin’ to take the music thing a lot more serious. Being at the independent level there’s not a lot of money involved, and because of that some people in the group just decided to work on personal things. You know, you get to that age where you’re like, man, I need to buy a house. I need to upgrade. I need to get a girlfriend or a wife. They just chose a different road. I chose this road. There’s no harm in the relationship. We’re all still cool.
KB: Tell us a little about Brass Knuckles.
BP: That’s the business I started. It’s what I put my first album out on. I’m selling a good amount of records and startin’ to gain a buzz; so we’re using that as the gateway. And then—well, Accumen still do stuff together—but Theory from Accumen is going to release a solo record on Brass Knuckles.
KB: Your new disc has a strong underground vibe, but I know you’ve worked with some pretty huge acts. Do you still see yourself as part of the underground community?
BP: You’re always underground until you get that big label deal or your selling a hundred thousand records. I consider myself part of the underground, but I definitely wanna break through. I wanna live off this. I’m into song writing now, where people can relate to the music. I started out in battle rap, and this disc is more mature.
KB: Who influenced you to get involved in all this—back when you were less mature?
BP: I’ve always respected the pioneers. When I was comin’ up, when I was like 13, it was like, Wu Tang, Boot Camp Clique, Helta Skelta, NWA, KRS One, Public Enemy, Duggie Fresh… I got really lucky to work with some of those people.
KB: Are you touring with anyone big on the new album?
BP: I got an agent out in Cali, and he gets me some drop dates. But right now my producer, Base Jase, and I are focused on regions, like Arizona, New Mexico, Texas…
KB: On the track “Club Killah,” you say DJ’s don’t wanna play your records. Are you more concerned with airplay or live performances; or, do they carry the same importance to you?
BP: The goal is to blow up on a level where radio play is inevitable. It helps, but it’s not necessary. If you have a good work ethic and a plan, and you follow through, you can make any business come through. Radio can help, but it won’t be the downfall either.
KB: You’re known in battle terms as a slayer, but as you mentioned earlier, you’re doing a lot more straightforward songwriting. Did you work toward that transition?
BP: Honestly, yes. There are some battle rappers that I like but you don’t hear about ‘em. There’s other battle rappers that you do hear of. Jay-Z battles a lot in New York. Eminem was a battle rapper. I look to them for guidance. I try to do my own thing and be original; but, I can see what mistakes some battle rappers did, and that’s why they’re not big—and what other rappers did and capitalized on to become big. I’m not gonna sacrifice my art. I like battle rap because you’re writing punch lines, and finding different way to get at people; but I don’t want that to be all I’m about.
KB: Given the egotistical world of rap, you come across pretty unpretentious, which is refreshing. Does that flow naturally for you?
BP: I’m a laid back cat. In the rap world, to get respect, you have to come off like, ‘Yo, I’m hot; I know I’m hot.’ And prove it. I’m laid back. I’m not trying to slap people around. I’m not tryin’ to shoot people up. The hip-hop world is a lot more real than the other entertainment fields. Like, you see death metal; people on stage with all these crazy suits doing crazy things, but when they go home, they’re really smart, intelligent people that just chill out. In the hip-hop world, it ain’t like that. If you say you’re doing certain things, you have to live that up in the streets. People test you a lot more. You will get checked. So I don’t want to portray that thugged out image.
I’m trying to spread more of a vibe of unity. I’m tryin’ to show kids that you can be the biggest thing, you can be the hottest thing; but you don’t have to rap about all these things. Right now, on the Front Range, I am the biggest rap artist through Soundscan or Pollstar; and I just wanna show these kids you don’t have to shoot someone up or sell crack to be the biggest artist. I wanna show kids, yo, I have hot beats; I have skills… I can relate to people in a different manner.
I’ve been through rough things in my life but I don’t glorify it. This is what I done, but I capitalized on it. I learned from it. This is Black P. This is how I do it.
KB: Would you say that’s the biggest point you’re trying to make with your work?
BP: Yeah, and I mean, my beats are hot and my flow is hot; so if you like commercial rap, like Kanye, you’ll like Black P. And if your underground, you’ll like me too, cuz it’s realistic.
To get a taste for yourself by going to the Black Pegasus website at www.theblackpegasus.com; and then on Thursday, February 3 he’ll be performing at the Fox Theater in Boulder for the CD release of Knuckle Up. The show kicks off at 8:00pm and is all ages. Go to www.foxtheater.com for tickets.
This article can also be seen in the February issue of In Flux magazine, which can be picked up at any Independent Records and other locations.