There are people in Houston who wear grills, listen to horrorcore, get “roasted” on cough-syrup-soda. Who are they? A “misrepresented group of individuals who live on the outskirts – both physically and ideologically,” apparently. Photographer Peter Beste tells us more about his project, Houston Rap, an honest, gritty and compassionate comment on an infamous sub-culture.
Why Houston? Is there a personal link with the city or was it simply to do with documenting this specific sub-culture?
I grew up in the suburbs outside of Houston. I got into some Houston rappers at a young age like Geto Boys and Ganksta N-I-P who took on near mythological status in my mind. As I grew up and took an interest in photography, documenting the personal lives of these subjects and their environments seemed like the perfect project for me.
How did you go about getting the images? How did you gain access to these people?
It has been a very long process. I started contacting some of the artists in 2004. Some of them were receptive to me at first, while others were skeptical. (“Who’s this white guy in the hood with a camera!?”) The work was published in various magazines around the world (Dazed and Confused did the first UK spread in 2005), so once I had proof I was for real, doors began opening for me. Of course, at the end of the day, they just want to sell records.
What did/do you want to do with these images?
The final result will be a coffee table photography book. I am collaborating with writer Lance Scott Walker who has been collecting incredible first person narratives from many of the subjects. The book will be out in about a year, tentatively titled Houston Rap.
What else are you up to at the moment?
I am working on getting funding for some new and exciting projects dealing with the paranormal and the occult. If anyone can help out, please get in touch! My first book, True Norwegian Black Metal (Vice Books 2008) is available on my website.