It’s a hell of a story, to say the least…
Born to a single mother in the service with a preacher grandma in his corner, C.S. Armstrong traveled an unbelievable road one step at a time. At 10-years-old, he preached in church as an ordained minister. At 16-years-old, he earned respect in the streets with his fists. At 18-years-old, he enlisted in the military to serve his country. Eight years later, he rolled into New York and lent his voice to one hip-hop banger after another before this wild trip carried him to Los Angeles where Dr. Dre became his “uncle,” Republic Records signed him, and he distilled gospel, blues, hip-hop, and rock into a sound as intoxicating and biting as aged whisky. Streamed millions of times and championed by Billboard, A COLORS SHOW, and more, OnesToWatch claimed, “The music is something to grow old with.”
Now, he tells the story with no filter on a series of singles and his 2021 full-length debut, Shotgun [Republic Records].
“This is the soundtrack to the movie of me coming up,” he explains. “Those elements of me preaching are in the gospel sounds. You hear my hip-hop side from when I got jumped as a kid. You hear the Army side in the guitars. I made sure I touched on every element from my experience. I went into the Army to get the fuck out of Houston. I apply the discipline from basic training the best I can to my day-to-day living. Every day, I spend an hour on my guitar, an hour on my keyboard, and an hour on my songwriting. Now that I have two sons, I try to teach them the same discipline. The routine has put me in this position.”
Due to this routine, he has prolifically built quite the catalog. Post-military, his instantly recognizable vocals shined on Statik Selektah’s “In The Wind” [feat. Joey Bada$$ & Big K.R.I.T] and Bun B, Prodigy, and Remy Bank’s “Where’s Your Leader.” His voice also coursed through Action Bronson’s tastemaker-approved Billboard Top 200 chart-topping Mr. Wonderful, in addition to joining the star on the road. Settling in Southern California, he powered Book’s “Last Man Standing” for the official Call of Duty: WWII trailer and dropped a pair of critically acclaimed independent projects, namely Truth Be Told  and The Blue Tape . His voice echoed on Black Thought’s “We Could Be Good (United)” [feat. C.S. Armstrong & OSHUN] from the critical favorite Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cain & Able.
Along the way, he attracted the endorsement of Dr. Dre after impressing the legend during a session with Los Angeles rapper Thurz.
“I was singing in the booth with my eyes closed, and when I opened them, Dre was at the board,” he recalls. “He hasn’t let me go since. I call him ‘Coach.’ He’s a mentor and advisor to me. It’s family,” he recalls.
Meanwhile, he locks into a West Coast hip-hop bounce during “Own Two” [feat. Jay Rock].
“It’s duality,” he elaborates. “Some people are like, ‘I can do it by myself,’ while others realize they can’t. Jay Rock executed the verse to perfection. He’s talking about those dualities, because the tables do turn. There will be a moment you can’t do it on your own, and you need somebody. We all go through the cycle.”
Ultimately, the story is about to get really good for C.S. Armstrong.
“I’m talking about God, relationships, and time,” he leaves off. “I’m staking my claim to who C.S. Armstrong is. I’m not afraid to show my flaws, because they make the story what it is. I’m a southern ambitious, passionate, vulnerable, and loving black father. I’m a motherfucker who’s not playing around.”