As Don King puts it so eloquently, Only In America can you start with nothing and end up with everything. However, these days it takes more than will and determination. It takes ambition! A will to say “Even if I fall 99 times I will get back up on the 100th try”. I will not give up. But this article is not about me. This is a story of a gentleman that would not give up on his dream to crack the code of what makes certain artists successful in the music business while others fall by the wayside. Horse “El Caballo” Wren is from Detroit Michigan and he had a dream to document the artists journey on film. As Horse attended Bowling Green University, he got around like minded students that got together for a group project called “Street Fame Pt 1.” and surprisingly, they got great reviews. From those great responses, Wren was inspired to mass market the film on DVD following the business model of SMACK, Girls Gon’ Wild and Street Stars Ent. As a person from Detroit..Wren began to move like a hustler and started hand to hand selling the Street Fame brand. Wren caught a wink of luck when he started following a kid from Pittsburgh with a funny name called Wiz Khalifa and as the rapper’s star power grew, so would Wren’s.
Horse is now working in the Dirty South where the Hip Hop movement is in full swing. Navigating between Miami and Atlanta, it took a few phone calls before this interview even took place. In fact, the day of the connection Wren was in a session with one of the hottest producers in the game Metro Boomin. We thought we were going to get a chance to speak with the dope-boy-fresh producer but you know how this game goes…study long…study wrong. Horse El Caballo Wren has been comfortable for years staying behind the scenes but the more he pushes his movie series AMBITION, the more he sees he has to start touching the people. So without further adieu…Ladies and Gentleman…Street Fame Ent.’s Horse El Caballo Wren….
SOHH: So first off, I have to make sure I’m saying your name right, and how did you get the name?
EC: It’s pronouned (L Cab-Bye-You) and haha the spanish people gave it to me based on how I move my product in the streets hahahaha. I guess they equate that to the way a hustler moves keys hahaha.
SOHH: So tell the reading audience what started you on this path of documenting rising artist?
EC: So about 10 years ago there was a show with P Diddy called Making The Band and it documented the inner workings of amateur musicians looking for a way to take their art to the next level. So I was laying on the couch I said to myself, “You know who never goes through anything or at least they don’t show them going through anything? The Boss…The Mogul…they never show the executive struggles to keep their business going. So my first project, you can only go as far as what you have access to, so I started interviewing local rappers with a student film crew where I’m from in the Midwest. From the response we got, I said let me start duplicating this and just put it out there on the street. So I printed up about 2 or 3000 copies and went to work. From there the DVD’s took on a life of their own because other bootleggers started to copy them so the name grew. But I’d say we really started to make noise once we caught on the Wiz Khalifa wave. We caught him at the beginning of his career. We followed him all the way up to when he made the song Black and Yellow. Once we started to cover Shawty Lo…RIP Brutha….that was Pt 3…Street Fame really started moving to where I’d be at a club and people would randomly yell “Street Fame!!!” so from there I knew we had something.
SOHH: Ok so since then you’ve followed a number of artist. If you could shed some light to our viewing artist on what it takes to break into the business and how do they know when they are on the right track?
EC: Ok so when I was filming my movie Ambitious, I followed the careers of Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Roscoe Dash, Raekwon from Wu Tang and Marsha Ambrosia and so many others. However, when you look at the common thread from the interviews you’ll see they all had one thing in common…Excellent Marketing! It was all about marketing. See, if you keep the name out there you keep the buzz going whether the mass public picks up on it or not they can’t deny it. Drake Lil Wayne, Beyonce, Jay Z and now Migos all understand it. Whether you like their music or not…it’s always out front. Are there other artists out there with better music? Of Course, but they don’t have the marketing dollars to be up front…and to get those dollars it takes what?…right AMBITION! I hate to say this but trust me, payola is still real in these streets from the radio to the strip club, they just do it in a more sophisticated way now. You can upload a thousand videos to Youtube and that’s not the same as really getting out here and putting some money behind your name. What did Jay Z say? We can talk, but money talks…so talk more bucks. hahaha But that’s also a direct reflection on the quality of music we are seeing these days.
SOHH: Whoa! that was a very candid explanation. So with your expertise, there is literally a new rapper or singer born every minute. You said it yourself, the entertainment business is THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER occupation in the world. When you are trying to get on with these moguls, what is the secret to get their attention and notice you?
EC: We charge for this info but this is for a good cause hahaha. (I laugh) No really, because I really want to see people about their business. You can get back anything in this world except time wasted. So the First Rule (1) is never ask a music executive for anything that you can do yourself. The day of the spoiled artist is over. You have to put some elbow grease into your career. You have to know, they are used to people asking them for stuff. Second Rule (2) be of value in anyway shape of form. Provide something for that mogul or executive. You’ll be surprised with how far it will get you. A listening ear…don’t ever underestimate buying a drink or getting coffee, babysitting, do what you have to do to build a rapport. The more they HAVE to talk to you the more they WILL talk to you. Ok I can’t say anymore hahahaha. Wait tho! The Last rule and THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE…be polished and ready to go! Do you know how many demos get put on their desk? People that have 10K hours plus at this craft and some people have the nerve to think they are going to mosey in off the street and get a deal? You are in competition with the world, so you have to stand out! Always be polished and ready to go.
SOHH: Last question. With all of your deep connections to the industry, why do you have a very low social media presence?
EC: Because I’m on the other side of the lens. Entertainment execs keep score a different way. As an artists yes you have to be visible to the public. A music business executives visibility is in the credits. *Message What difference does it make of how many followers I have if I’m not getting to the bag? If I went on social media right now and showed you all the celebrities I’ve taken pictures with from T.I. to Russell Simmons, I can do that all day. The goal should always be to love what you do and get to that check. Follow me on MY site LOL Street Fame Worldwide Media. It’s been a pleasure brutha.
SOHH: Likewise. Thank you for dropping those gems and we look to see more music and movies from you sir. Much love to you and Street Fame.