First Day Feature: D. Horton talks letting his inner-soul shine on “The Lighthouse” LP

They say progress is a process and I truly believe this to be true. Anything worth really having requires preparation and focus on the end goal. Though the journey may not always be picture perfect any dream can still be accomplished. Even when speaking of the music industry this is a true statement.

Look no further than longtime blog favorite D. Horton. Over the years the rhymesmith has given us lyrical pleasantries and a fierce dedication to his craft that is unmatched. On the strength of work like his acclaimed “The Sessions” series, the Columbus, MS native has now found himself aligned with popular Atlanta talent Scotty ATL and his “The Cool Club” imprint. As D. Horton’s star grows just days away from a new project “The Lighthouse”, we caught up with D. Horton to talk about the changes and what to expect from his new music.

The last time we had the chance to sit down and talk was well before The Sessions 3. What’s been new for you over the past few years?

I’ve been in Atlanta just building a foundation in another market. It’s familiar enough to me to navigate but opportunity and resources made it an easy choice after leaving home. Honestly I’ve just been sitting down with certain organizations like Dreamville and others, trying to see if I’m the kind of artist they would be interested in. My biggest niche is telling the world about Columbus and Mississippi. It’s my newfound purpose in the city.

It’s no secret you’ve aligned with Scotty ATL and Tha Cool Club. How did that all come together for those who may not know?

So his partner, creative director, and producer is from the same neighborhood in Columbus as I am. When I moved out here we began to work and Scotty and I organically crossed paths several times. It started off with opportunities as an opener for him and I believe my work ethic stood out to him, something that he is notoriously known for, so he extended his hand to me and I couldn’t be more grateful for what we are building.

What has it been like to learn under someone who has carved such a niche for himself in Scotty?

Artists like Scotty, Krit, Nipsey, Curren$y, Lito and Trip…they operate in a space that I desire to eventually reach. They seem to have a healthy balance between control/ownership and business. They can headline tours with partnerships or they can go on their own. They don’t have to wait on permission. I can’t see myself operating much differently from that because I don’t like to wait on permission. So learning from him has been a life changing experience. I understand things in this industry far more than I did earlier in my career.

With your upcoming project “The Lighthouse” on its way how does your approach change, if at all, being that it’s considered your first release as a signed artist?

My approach only changed when it came to the creative process. I have been labeled as “stubborn” and “uncoachable”. Obviously wherever that came from is not a credible source. I love receiving advice, tips, pointers on things I can change. I just need to trust that my interest and the interest of my fans is the priority before you go hurling changes I should make in my direction. Once Scotty and the label ensured me that was the case, then the only thing that mattered was making the best music I could. That’s what we did. This is my best work.

How does this project separate itself from your heralded “The Sessions” series?

Man…separating myself from “The Sessions” series was extremely difficult for me. Prior to releasing “The Sessions 2”, I felt like I could count the people that supported me (not literally). But soon after that drop, I’m on a national, even international stage. It was new for me and I believe I feared not living up to it so I kept running back. “The sessions” was intimate deep and personal. Heavy verses trying to prove I’m the best rapper alive. Now that I feel I receive the respect I deserve as a lyricist, I want to focus on making grand moments, big songs that can live in movies and all sorts of mediums. That’s what I’m working towards now.

The promo for the project was a very interesting watch. It’s sort of abstract in the way it tells a story without actually going very in depth on it. How would you say what is depicted in it plays into what is done musically on the project?

Oh man it’s my greatest run. I made it like a movie. The Adventures of Mikey and Digit. But have you ever seen a trailer that shows one scene that’s just too revealing and it ruins the element of surprise. I hate that. I think the element of surprise is your greatest tool as a creative. So even though people think they know exactly what this project is about….they honestly have no idea.

You’re someone who has made it well known that you feel you are currently the best rapper alive. How long have you had this confidence in your music and what does it root from?

My first single on the radio was ‘King of the Underground’. Now that was 2014 and obviously I was not the king of any ground but I knew that I was blessed with a gift as a writer, the drive, the fearlessness to say it anyway…praying someone would challenge me. It never happened. When I say that I’m the best rapper alive, I never get any negative feedback. I would say it to Drake, Jay Z, Kendrick, Cole, Krit…I don’t care….if you disagree send me the location and pull up the beat, I’ll write my verse in front of you and we can let the people decide. It roots from my work thought. I’m humble as they come but since 2012 I have dedicated every day of my life to being a writer and I will accept nothing less than the respect I deserve for that.

Now we got the chance to preview a record from the album, “Reflections”. Tell me what you wanted to convey on this one and what made it the one you felt we should preview?

I think it is one of the times I take off this sort of stoic, game face and speak on some demons, desires, frustrations, and things like that. Someone said I was the Kawhi Leonard of rap and it’s so hilariously accurate. Reflections is what I let my closest friends and family in on that I’m sure my fans and supporters would like to know. I felt like it was necessary even more than having catchy metaphors and crazy rhyme schemes.

One thing I notice on the song is the way you bring a different style with some singing on the hook and loosely structured verses. Is this style something that can be looked forward to from the album as a whole?

Very much so….going from rapper to artist. From College Dropout to Dark Fantasy or Reasonable Doubt to 4:44. I don’t feel like the angry underdog anymore. Those that need to know, know without a doubt. I just want to express myself as an artist now.

What would you say is the reflection of yourself from your perspective when you take a glance at D. Horton?

A leader. Fearless. Until I’m alone…that is what this song is about. I can’t seem to make my super powers work on myself. I can speak to a church, a school, a raging crowd yelling every word of my songs. I just want to be able to help heal myself as efficiently as I do others. Sorry if that’s heavy.

You are very purposeful with what you’re saying on this song. It’s almost as if you are talking to one person in particular. Was that what you had in mind in creating it?

Yes. I was talking to the David that nobody sees. The Phoenix out of the ashes. The greatest rapper alive…out of Columbus, MS. I think he is my most overlooked subject so I wanted to speak life into him. Not D. Horton, David.

Are there any interesting or funny stories you have about the creation of “The Lighthouse”?.

I just want to say that I do not believe anyone stole my album art or anything like that. I just want to say that for myself. And even if that is the case, I believe my reward comes from God so there is nothing anyone can do anyway. That’s all I want to say on that.

What else can fans be on the lookout for besides the album, obviously?

VISUALS….We are the new standard, Rey and I. Just keep watching.

Are there any last words you would like to share before we conclude?

There is only one Mississippi. Let’s win TOGETHER!!!

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