Detroit's music history is well documented. From Motown to Madonna, Kid Rock to Eminem, and everything in between, Metro Detroit is a music city to its core.
So it would make sense that a big shot rapper sets up camp and promises to use his experience in the biz to turn your rhymes into dollar signs. Unless he just takes your buck and you're out of luck.
Meet Poetx. He says he works in the music industry and represents artists in a legit way. He claims that he's been a rap recording artist since the 90s.
In this interview with him on his Soundclick, he says he did a show with Tupac. His personal bio says he's been on the mic since he was 16: "Paid my dues, been there, done that. I have the talent, will and determination to do what I was put on this earth by God to do….Make great music. And nobody on this earth will stop me."
Lil Franch is a popular Metro Detroit rapper who's managed on his own to get more than 50,000 Twitter followers and 28,000 Facebook fans. Seeing his popularity, he was contacted by Will Horvath - aka Poetx - and his female assistant. In January, Franch met at the City Edge Bar in Taylor.
Poetx told him that he owned the bar and the Xtreme Entertainment. Thinking he was about to get his break, he gave him $800 and signed a contract. The contract states "Xtreme Entertainment and William Horvath agree to do the following under the conditions of this agreement for one year: Book Lil Franch for the purpose of musical performances within the State of Michigan for the term of one year at a minimum of 10 events to be held at 700-plus capacity venue."
"When I signed with Will, Poetx, he was like 'I don't want any of my artists performing for anybody except me,'" Franch said he stopped playing other gigs and waited for the 10 big shows Poetx promised.
Those gigs never happened.
Some aspiring musicians say not only does he not get the recording deals he promises, he took the money and ran. Musicians like Lyrical Lipzz. She says she gave Poetx $800 based on a guarantee.
"He was going to manage me and promised to book me shows," Lipzz said. "He did none of that, except take my money."
Lipzz, a Detroit rapper, has a story that is almost the same. She was contacted by Poetx, met at the spot in Taylor, and signed a contract.
She paid him $360. She was also promised ten 700-plus capacity venue gigs and got none. She did, however, get some career advice that she called "terrible."
"I was number eight on the charts of Detroit hip-hop before he came along," she said. "I ended up number 239."
Yep, the only gig Lipzz and Lil Franch did for Will Horvath was a non-paying small bar show on St. Patrick's Day.
"He charged a $5 cover fee for anyone who came into the bar," Lil Franch said. "Even the artists that were performing had to pay that $5 to get in."
Then they said Poetx disappeared. He was gone. No worries, Rob Wolchek found him. He lives with his mom at an apartment in Allen Park.
So Rob and his crew went to the apartment to ask him about the venues promised and why they weren't delivered.
"I have personal problems and they all knew about that," Poetx said.
They said they didn't know.
"He changed his number," Lipzz said. "And I haven't heard from him since."
So let's say they did know, why are they coming to Rob?
"I have no idea," Horvath said. "But to be honest with you, this stuff is all going to be resolved within the next 30 to 60 days."
That's quite a wait, considering they've been waiting since January.
Poetx blames any miscommunication on his former assistant, Jamie.
"I tried to get ahold of her to let her know via Facebook and from some other people to please get ahold of me on a different telephone number that I have," he said. "My phone had gotten smashed. And when I tried to contact Facebook to tell them I needed a password to get into my computer, they told me they couldn't give it to me. I had to show them a photo ID.
give it to me that I had to show them a photo id."
So we went to go looking for Jamie. Here's what she said.
"I've never once booked a show for these artists," she said. "They always said 'Where's he at? Where's he at?' it's like 'I got to do this today I got to do that, oh we're waiting on Ticketmaster, waiting on so and so.' There's always an excuse not to do a show."
It appears this isn't Poetx's first foray into the business. He's signed artists and blown off shows before. One from a guy named Phillip Moony.
He filed a lawsuit that said he's losing income from lost shows, performance, and breach of contract.
"He was probably a breached artist, yeah," Horvath said. "It doesn't happen. There are other artists who ..."
Wolchek: "Who are you to just take money from artist and then drop them?
"I don't," Horvath said.
So here's Phil's story: he played in a band in 2009. He was signed to a contract similar to Lil Franch and Lipzz. And then....
"He stopped booking us," Phil said he had no choice. "I sued him."
And he won. Apparently because Poetx didn't show up in court.
"He did not sue me and win," Horvath said.
Poetx says he still wants to represent Lil Franch but Lyrical Lipzz breached her contract and he's not paying her back. Even though he signed a deal in June saying he was paying her back.
So there's two people right now with deals for live shows. When are those going to happen?
"I don't have anything booked right now," Poetx said he will get some shows booked and says he's not in breach of contract.
Poetx did use to perform. The last show he put on was in either 2008 or 2009 - he wasn't sure - but he said he got sick and bought that bar in Taylor. The one that Lipzz and Lil Franch say gave him some cred and where all the contracts were signed.
But there's a problem. According to state records, Mark Brown owns City Edge.
"He acted like he owned it, he was taking people's money," Brown said. "I'm the owner, I've owned it 17 years."
He says Poetx was managing the place but has since been thrown out.
So who exactly is Poetx?
"I'm an artist developer. I've been developing artists since 2001." he said. "I've worked with plenty of artists getting them the numbers that they need to substantiate their claims of buzzworthyness.... "
That's who he says he is. When pushed to give us some of his artists he's worked with that would vouch for him,
"The only local artist that ever did anything big with verifiable numbers came from me and two other sources," he said. "And that artist is no longer here but the bottom line is he did. The artist perished and passed away.
He did not give us a name.
For that - and the other promises he never delivered upon - Poetx has a new stage name: Pathetix. He's also got a new stage in the Hall of Shame!
William Craig Horvath - AKA - Poetx - sent a follow-up email saying he is a sick man with a sick child. He also supplied a list of six people who would vouch for him.
One person, a guy who works for a big-time club said that Poetx booked some shows but said he never followed through or paid any money and never did the shows.
Another one said that Poetx booked shows at his club 10 years ago. Two others - both rappers - said Poetx was a great guy but they paid him money and never got any big time shows either.
Two other names that were given never bothered to call back.