Coming from the projects of Benton Harbor, Michigan, Honorable C-Note is now one of the most reliable hitmakers in Atlanta. After a relentless grind, he's ready to tell his story.
Over 15 years into his career, Honorable C-Note is just starting to get comfortable. He's become known as a master of suspense, lending thundering arrangements, or "scores," as he calls them, to some of the best talent in Atlanta, where he's resided for 10 years now. More recently, he's produced monsters for each of the two leading members of the A$AP Mob. His compositions are a recipe for goosebumps -- hearing shrill strings crawl atop a chorus of doomsday horns while A$AP Ferg howls about "bedbugs in the motel" on "New Level" gets me every time.
I spoke to C-Note before he was about to ring in weekend 2 of Coachella with Rae Sremmurd, on whose SremmLife 2 he's expected to appear. "Like three days ago, it hit me -- 'Like, you not tryin' to make it no more!'" he remembers thinking to himself. At times, he needs to remind himself that he's finally achieving the goals he had in mind a decade ago, as his indefatigable approach to making music has provided him with little time to reap his well-deserved rewards.
C-Note was 25 when he moved to Atlanta from the town of Benton Harbor, Michigan, where he'd spent his whole life. "It's a poverty-stricken area," he says of his hometown. "Income per household is like $10,000, so any time you growing up in one of those situations, you know the crime rate is high. Shit like that, you know. My brother got killed when I was 13. It was hard."
He made a name for himself in the Benton Harbor projects as one of the biggest "weed dudes" as well as the one and only beatmaking member of Self Made Records, a local label that moved around the Midwest selling CDs and apparently made decent money doing so. He wasn't content in being the biggest music plug in his hood, though -- he wanted to make it out. And upon hearing Gucci Mane rapping over one of his beats in 2006, he moved to Atlanta on a whim, with just a "pair of pants and a Motif 6." He still uses the same synth today.
A friend of C-Note's had moved from Michigan to Atlanta and passed on a beat tape of his to an employee of Big Cat Records, the label Gucci was with before Brick Squad. Though his beat showed up on a song on 2007's Trap-A-Thon, C-Note wouldn't meet Gucci for another five years.
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