Rapper Bobby Sessions released his latest album 'Grateful' in Deep Ellum recently.

Rapper Bobby Sessions released his latest album 'Grateful' in Deep Ellum recently.

Tyler Clinton

Rapper Bobby Sessions declared himself a "legend from Dallas, Texas" even before his song "Black America" garnered national attention in The Source, XXL, UPROXX and others. 

"Black America" addresses racism and police brutality -- issues that are personal for Sessions, whose cousin James Harper was killed by Dallas police in 2012. 

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But there's aspiration rather than arrogance behind his claim he's a "legend." The gracious Dallas-born and -raised rapper proudly refuses to separate his "legend" from his city.

Sessions just released an album called Grateful at intimate Deep Ellum music venue RBC. Sessions' sophomore album builds upon the concept behind LOA (Law of Attraction), the title of his debut album.

"Grateful is about paying homage to the Dallas legends," Sessions said. "They're the ones who created the platform for me to be able to do what I do."

Mostly produced by Picnictyme, the 10-track album is a product of Dallas from start to finish. Sessions worked with R.C. Williams, a longtime musical director and producer for local icon Erykah Badu, as well as Sikwitit, who's produced some of XXL's Freshman Class cyphers.

Sessions, a former poet who briefly studied philosophy at UNT, noted, "Just because I try my best to maximize how positive I can be, that doesn't mean that I'm ignoring things that are happening around me." Sessions sees himself as a reporter; he often discusses harsh and uncomfortable realities.

"I have white fans that, in their day-to-day lives, they may not be coming across the same information. They're not seeing what I see."

He emphasizes the importance of making music that is dope, not just deep. "If it's not enjoyable to listen to, it's almost pointless to make," he said.

The day after Baton Rouge police killed Alton Sterling, Sessions wrote "La Amistad," a musical history lesson over a smooth instrumental. He spits on the song's hook, "All aboard La Amistad," referring to a 1839 slave ship revolt by a brave group of enslaved Africans. He raps about racism and police brutality, noting Sandra Bland, Eric Garner and "Fifty Shades of Freddie Gray."

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Sessions has perspective, too. On the album's first single, Dallas' own Sam Lao sings, "F*** your first world problems, baby." Be grateful, Sessions urges. When he left his job to fully commit to music, he had just $50 in his bank account

"Leaving with that small amount of money forced me into a state of gratitude," he explained, "because I didn't have any money to lean on."

Having been an actual starving artist, Sessions offers a refreshing sense of freedom, especially on tracks such as "Price Tag," featuring local artist Zyah, and "Dollars & Sense."

"You can't put a price tag on my brain," he said. "You can't put a price tag on on my heart, my soul, my ability to create and be free and express myself."

"At the end of the day, there's still a lot to be grateful for."

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