In today’s music industry, rarely do we come across CEOs, executives, and managers that evoke the passion for the artists they represent. Usually, it’s money driven and good for business only. But when interviewing Johnnie Cabbell, I found a man who not only possessed passion and loyalty for the artists he represents, but shows heart for his team and community.
Meet CEO of HAHE and manager Johnnie Cabbell. Cabbell Started HAHE or Hit Afta Hit Entertainment a management, talent booking, and record label company in 1999, helping to bring fame to rappers like Shawty Lo, Pastor Troy, Lil Scrappy and groups such as Crime Mob and D4L. Cabbell wasn’t always a CEO, he started out as an R&B singer and did stage plays at Avondale School of the Arts where he attended. When I asked Cabbell why he chose to get into entertainment and discontinue with singing, he says, “I was tired of being screwed and jerked around by publishing. And this was the only way how I knew it would stop.” Cabbell says he saw himself naturally giving assistance and financial advice to artists, so they began to seek him and this is where he began.
Robert Maddox: What prompt you to get into the music business?
Johnnie Cabbell: Well I started off as a R&B singer and doing stage plays but I saw how we were getting jerked around and screwed by publishing and I didn’t want artists to go through being played. So I began to give advice and artists would want me to continue and they saw how my passion was and it went from there to managing artists like Shawty Lo and Pastor Troy.
RM: How did HAHE begin?
JC: It began in 1999, I started off booking shows for several local and nearby artists. Shows were always ran smooth but after artists saw how I handled business, they would open up to me about problems with their contracts and I would offer advice. So I decided I would take a chance on guiding artists to lucrative careers.
RM: I like how u said your goal for your team is “To keep them from going up TOP.” Could you explain?
JC: A lot of times when artist start out its usually with a smaller management group. And they’re the ones who help take care of them in the beginning. Who endures struggles and issues and who help to bring them success and wealth. And when they began to make it, big management groups such as Violator or Warner Bros will try to come and make offers and take over and capitalize on their success when they didn’t help bring success. So I try to help retain artists with company they started with. To me loyalty is everything, and artists need to remember it’s important to always stay down.
RM: How do you feel “snap” & “swag” has helped defined the south and its music?
JC: I’ve always been a fan of lyricist, but Hip Hop is a variety and if that’s what’s in, I wanna have the hottest group or someone else will.
RM: Do you think these songs and groups are just a trend?
JC: Well everything eventually has to move on. Certain songs and groups are in one minute and gone the next. Certain things and people will evolve, but best believe ill always have the hottest in whatever it is.
RM: Can you speak upon your latest venture HAHTV?
JC: Everyone is on the web now buying music, uploading themselves, getting out there. The web and TV is beginning to be one the ways to promote yourself and business. So earlier this year I closed a deal to make HAHTV a major network. It will feature artists’ music old and new. It will let everybody know what’s going on, who’s coming out with new developments (music and business). And to find more about this go to hahtvnetwork.com and hahworld.com
RM: How important is charity and the community to you?
JC: Very important. You should never forget where you came from especially if you been blessed to give back. I contribute to Hosea Williams Feed the Hungry, and the American Diabetes Association. In 2007, my wife and I started the Blessings In The Sky (BITS) foundation that focuses on building strong communities. We feed the homeless, conduct blanket and back to school drives and donate to the community.
RM: For up and coming CEOs, Execs and Managers, what advice would you give them?
JC: Do your homework, research and network. Reach out to other people who are where you want to be. Be knowledgeable of the business, make sacrifices and surround yourself with the RIGHT people.
RM: Where do you see Johnnie Cabbell & HAHE in 5-10 years and its influences on the south and its music?
JC: Expect to see HAHE and myself the next big Diddy and Jay-Z. Expect to see HAH Enterprises a multi-billion corporation. And always expect to see that same passion and fearless drive for the artists, music and community.
So as you can see this is one entrepreneur who has no intentions of stopping and every intentions on making it happen. Cabbell says staying humble is the key and credits is already amazing achievement to faith in GOD and power of prayer. Cabbell believes in staying true to who you are and always remaining to stay thankful and giving back to the community. As you’ve read, Cabbell has set high goals for himself and his team and by the things he and his staff has accomplished and the passion that I introduced you too, we’re sure to see I lot of hit-makers, trendsetters and enterprising in the years to follow.