HCM. How did you come by your stage name?
C-Note. I’m not from the stage; I’m from the streets. I had a policy, I’m only carrying $100 bills. Then I pulled up in my truck at the liquor store, and some old men standing outside hit me up for some dead Prez. When I came out I tossed one of them $100 bill and said, “I don’t fuck with no Dead Presidents, cauz Benjamin Franklin never was a president.” As I was going to my truck somebody seem to holler C-Note, and it kind of stuck around the neighborhood.
HCM. To what or whom do you accredit your sense of style?
C-Note. Style? The Streets! How you live, how you gett’n it. That’s my style; I don’t know nothing else. You gang banging, you robbing, you getting high, you partying, that’s what your lyrics should reflect, YOU! Now we got this thing behind the wall, nobody wants to be no old ass rapper. So we are doing Spoken Floz. Spoken Floz is a hybrid between spoken word and rap. Even though I’m from Los Angeles, you can still call me a day one n**** when it comes to this hip hop. No matter what anyone else tells you, hip-hop is made from four elements, two of which came from behind the wall. Those four elements are graffiti, breaking, DJing, and MCing. Daryl “Cornbread” McCray is the father of graffiti, and learned all about it, and even got his graffiti name while locked up. Kool Herc is the father of MCing, and attributes his rapping style to the Hustlers Convention album by Lightnin’ Rod, aka Jalal Mansur Nuriddin of The Last Poets. Hustlers Convention is based on Prison Toasts, a kind of spoken word long before spoken word. See “Spoken Floz” Prisoners Retake Over of Hip Hop.
HCM. On your current/upcoming album… How did you come up with the concept for this project?
C-Note. Again, it’s how you live, how you gett’n it. Once Upon A Time… is a docudrama of going from the Penthouse to The Big House. Released in 2015 on Soundcloud, it was the first time Spoken Floz had been set to music and published. I’m flowing over a Doctor Dre inspired beat by producer and returning citizen DJ jRiZzz. This track went from the prison to the studio.
HCM. What are some of your greatest challenges as an artist, and what is your greatest attribute when it comes to your work ethic?
C-Note. My greatest challenge as an artist, I’m in prison. PERIOD. My work ethic has propelled me to become the most prolific prisoner artist in the world. Google that. I know these young kids don’t like this word, but “I’m thirsty.” You hear, “I want this hungry rapper, or this hungry boxer,” but you can live without food for about a month, but you can only live without water for 3 days. So the rest of y’all can stay hungry but I’ma stay thirsty.
HCM. What impression would you like listeners to be left with after hearing your music?
C-Note. I go for emotions Bro. That’s my schtick, and I know how to be comedic as hell. I can make you cry, or run out and put a pistol to someone’s head, because your thirst is real. Yousa tired of being broke.
HCM. What are your plans for the near future?
C-Note. Right now I’m looking for somebody to take my 16 bars called The Charade, and turn them into a track. Other artists have been using my voice to talk on their tracks, and I have audio of me reciting poetry that I would like to see have music set in the background.
HCM. Is there anyone you’d like to thank, any shout outs?
C-Note. Yes, I would like to give a shout out to Min. King X, aka Pyefce, the George Jackson of Rapp, and Kim Pollak. They are the directors of the California Prison Focus, a print, and digital newspaper. Pyeface is a returning citizen and an Oakland-based rapper, who has done time with Suge Knight in the feds back in the 90s; they were cellies, and who hangs out with the real Rick Ross, Freeway Rick out of Los Angeles. Since his return as a citizen, he’s been pushing to “Let my people go,” and exposing the public to The Hip-Hop behind the wall. “Hip-hop ain’t dead, Bro. It just went to prison.” Kim Pollak been down with us from day one, for over 30 years as a publisher of the Pelican Bay Information Project, now known as the California Prison Focus, when Pelican Bay State Prison first opened, and California had people stuck in long-term solitary confinement for decades. Also, I hear she is an awesome music video producer.
Connect with C-Note online to find out more details and information about his work.
“Spoken Floz,” Prisoners Retake Over of Hip Hop | darealprisonart
ONCE UPON A TIME…(Spoken Floz, MUSIC VERSION) *WARNING: Hood Explicit | SoundCloud
THE CHARADE (Poem-Audio Version) *WARNING (Hood Explicit) | SoundCloud