The name C.S. Armstrong will be new to many, but he’s already got the approval of heavyweights such as Dr. Dre. After signing a major label deal with Republic Records in 2020, the rising Houston artist released his debut single “Own Two” on Friday (March 5), featuring a verse from Top Dawg Entertainment’s own Jay Rock.
In a press release, Armstrong talked about the inspiration behind the Mike & Keys-produced song and the TDE rapper’s contribution.
“It’s duality,” he explained. “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.”
Armstrong has a story like no other. After serving in the military from the age of 18, he moved to New York and went on to work with artists such as Bun B, Prodigy, Joey Bada$$, Big K.R.I.T. and Action Bronson. He also soundtracked the official Call of Duty: WWII trailer, released two independent projects Truth Be Told and The Blue Tape and was half of the duo CharlieRED.
Somewhere along the way, Armstrong’s path led to Los Angeles, which is where he met Dr. Dre. The pair met for the first time during a session with Inglewood rapper Thurz, then the rest was history.
“I was singing in the booth with my eyes closed, and when I opened them, Dre was at the board,” he revealed. “He hasn’t let me go since. I call him ‘Coach.’ He’s a mentor and advisor to me. It’s family.”
Most recently, he collaborated with Black Thought on “Welcome to America” off Judas and the Black Messiah: The Inspired Album, and also teamed up with the Roots MC on “We Could Be Good (United)” from his Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane & Able LP.
Armstrong is ready to continue his path with his debut album, Shotgun, which is set to arrive at some point in 2021.
“This is the soundtrack to the movie of me coming up,” he said. “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.”