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For Massakre, it’s all about the journey of life. Although it wasn’t an easy process to complete, it could be said that writing and recording his first solo album, Reignstorm, was just another stop along that journey. Quinton “Massakre” Horton started writing songs as early as age 13. Snoop Dogg, Tupac and Notorious B.I.G, all of whom were huge stars at the time, heavily influenced his music. Massakre wrote and recorded whenever he could during those early years, but, because he didn’t really know what he wanted to do with the material he was producing, he decided to keep it to himself rather than release it to the public. During this time of modest secrecy he continued to write and record as much as he could through whatever means he had available, sometimes resorting to rigging up a web cam and microphone in his bedroom.
In 2005 Massakre’s journey took a sharp turn when the second floor of his house burned as a result of a fire that evidently started in his bedroom. All the music he had recorded up to that point in his life was lost in that fire. With nothing to show for all of the hard work he had done throughout the years, Massakre had to start over from scratch.
A chance meeting with DJ Epitaph at a Columbia Street West hip-hop show later that year pointed Massakre down a new path, helping him find the direction he needed for his future work. Epitaph had heard about the house fire and wanted to help him out with whatever he needed. The two musicians began to work together and during that process Massakre realized he no longer wanted to write the gangsta rap material he once did because he now had a lot more feelings and experiences to talk about.
“When you up and lose everything it’s hard to explain to people the feelings that you have,” said Massakre during a recent interview. “But the experience definitely brought things out in me that weren’t previously present in my music. That’s why my album, Reignstorm, is a darker album. It’s about all of those things I was feeling right after the fire took everything away from me.”
It was also during this time that Massakre met Jake and Jess Farris from the Hometown Hooligans and was recruited to join the collective, beginning yet another chapter in his life. Through his work with the Hooligans, Massakre began to feel what it was like to be a part of a hip-hop family. Various members have come and gone, but that bond amongst the members of the Hooligans has never been severed. The Hometown Hooligans have now pared themselves down to a close-knit, four-member crew consisting of Massakre and Epitaph as well as Custom Made Smitty and Big AC. “[We’re] a DJ and three MCs,” explained Massakre when asked to describe the group.
“It’s down to the four of us now,” he said. “We all had to make sacrifices to be here, but those sacrifices have made us closer, more like a family.”
When asked about his album, Massakre said that he was “honored to be the first one of the Hooligans to release a solo album, but the album couldn’t have been finished without the work of everyone in our family. I recorded it on my own, which took about a year and a half. I also mixed it myself, which took an additional six months. But [area graphic designer and producer] EDS provided the artwork. Epitaph dropped about 80 percent of the production on the album, and Third Frame’s DJ Spot along with 2RQ picked up the remains. Epitaph is also out there selling it, and Smitty hypes it to everyone that he can.”
When it comes to his music, Massakre knows that what he says may cause some controversy, but it isn’t necessarily meant to offend.
“My words are metaphors and figures of speech,” says Massakre. “When I say I’m going to kill you, I don’t mean it in the literal sense. Don’t get me wrong; when I’m on the mic I feel like I could kill you, but it’s a metaphor for getting rid of the negativity in my life. My whole album is a metaphor. It’s like a storm. It gets heavy and dark and scary, but in the end, when the storm is over, everything is okay.”
As for the Hooligans and the hip-hop community as a whole, Massakre says that “the Midwest needs to step it up, because the South has taken over. In particular, I am talking about Fort Wayne. This year the Hooligans will earn respect or we will take it. One way or another it’s going to happen. Some people are scared to put themselves out there and show people what we are all about. It’s hard to actually live a hip-hop lifestyle, so a lot of people can’t do it. But the Hooligans are living it, and the Hooligans are going to make it happen. And, best of all, we are going to make it happen together.”
You can catch Massakre and the Hometown Hooligans at O’Sullivan’s on Saturday, April 26 to see what may very well be the next step in the evolution of Fort Wayne’s hip-hop scene and sound.