Robert “Black Pegasus” Houston Jr. was born to Robert and Theresa Houston in 1980, and they make an appearance on his latest CD, The Black Mexican (listen to excerpts).
Why the title? Because it’s what he is. Houston’s father is African-American and his mother is Spanish. The intro track on The Black Mexican begins with Houston’s father speaking English and then it’s his mother speaking Spanish.“What a better way to start the record – with my mom and dad… This being called The Black Mexican, I mean they created me, so a really big shout out to them for making me the way I am,” Houston said.
Houston began rapping at 13, over LL Cool J, and said that when he first started out he was into watching what other rappers did and just said what they said.
What really got him into rap though was battle rap, where rappers freestyle rhymes back and forth at each other, Houston said. It was still big back then and they would have little battles on the corner, at the clubs, he said.
“That really got me into it because I was real aggressive; I always wanted to be the best,” he said.
He said he was lucky because while he was growing up, everything that came out was hot, but some of his major influences and inspirations are NWA, Biggie, Wu Tang Clan, Tupac, 2 Live Crew and Public Enemy.
“I grew up in the Golden Era of rap; there wasn’t so much watered down bullshit,” Houston said.
Black Pegasus is an unusual name, Houston said that back then it was all about being creative and he was influenced by Wu Tang and really wanted a creative name. In Greek mythology the winged horse, the Pegasus, represents poetic inspiration and black represent darkness, in short Black Pegasus stands for poetic inspiration for people in darkness, he said.
“I’m always coming outta left field, being kinda creative,” Houston said.
That holds true for his style as well. He describes it as a cross between underground and commercial, just real hip-hop, real rap lyrics, he said.
“It’s not old school, it’s not new school, it’s true school,” Houston said. “It’s hard for me to pinpoint it; I always let the writers try to pinpoint it.”
His sound has a quality to it that’s all its own, with a beat you can dance to, rhymes that actually say something and he has the incredible ability to incorporate Spanish into his songs.
Houston writes all of his own stuff, lyrics, hooks, everything. He writes the singing hooks too, he just can’t sing very well, so they bring in the singers for those tracks.
Houston has been recording professionally since 1999; however no record labels wanted to sign him because he’s from Colorado. So he created his own independent record label called Brass Knuckle Entertainment with the help of partners and a team, he said.
He is on tour in Colorado now and I was fortunate enough to catch his show in Colorado Springs at the Black Sheep on Friday, Feb. 22. He was one of the openers that night for Hyrogliphics.
He has a powerful stage presence and can capture the attention of an entire audience, even the people standing in the back by the bar, who weren’t really paying any attention before he got on stage. You can tell he loves what he does by the way he gets into his songs, dancing along with the beat or making little movements or gestures that coordinate with the songs.
“It’s all about just gettin’ the music to the kids, gettin’ the kids to support it and just havin’ a good time, havin’ good shows,” Houston said.
This is not his first tour; Houston said that he has been living off rap music since 2003-04 and that he’s toured nationally with Hyrogliphics before. He has also done shows here in Colorado with Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, Tech N9ne, T.I. and actually has a show with Tech N9ne and Paul Wall coming up in about a month.
Houston said that the shows with bigger artists are always the most fun because they have the most people and when he first started out it was a little nerve wracking. But he said it’s like a blessing to be able to do what he does.
“The big payoff is doin’ those shows, you make money, and you enjoy doin’ it, and I definitely can’t complain about that, so that’s what’s up,” Houston said.
He said that he still gets a little nervous before he gets on stage, wondering if the audience will like his stuff. He explained everyone has their own embedded fears about being on stage, but that it’s good for energetic purposes.
He didn’t seem nervous as he spit his rhymes with flawless ease. There was energy on stage that was almost palpable. And the chemistry between Black Pegasus and his partner Matt “Drastek” Dare was reminiscent of Tupac and Dr. Dre.
Houston knows how to work a stage, interacting with the crowd and keeping it high-energy the entire time he was up there. Leaving people wanting more and wondering, Why doesn’t this guy have an entire show?