10 Questions for Charlamagne Tha God
5 months ago
MTV and NYC radio personality explains his journey from rags to radio.
Moncks Corner, S.C.'s, Wikipedia entry indicates that the small town is only 5 miles wide, with only five "notable people" hailing from it. That equals to about one "notable person" per mile on average.
Before long though, somebody is going to have to add a sixth name to that list, and that person will most likely be radio personality Charlamagne Tha God.
Born Lenard McKelvey, Charlamagne describes the small town as an intersection of rural dirt roads and corn fields.
"It was real country living," he says, emphasis on "real." "We lived in a mobile home until my father built my mom a house. Matter of fact, my father used to tell me, 'If you see something on the side of the road and you touch it with your hand? If it's cold, leave it alone; if it's warm, it's dinner.'"
Fortunately, Charlamagne, who moved as a child with his family to Moncks Corner from Charleston, S.C., is eating a little better nowadays. He and his co-hosts, DJ Envy and Angela Yee, of the top-rated "The Breakfast Club" morning show on New York's Power 105 radio recently celebrated two years of setting the city's airwaves on fire. When he isn't working there, he's co-hosting a number of shows on MTV and MTV2. These days, you might even spot him in a Champs Sports commercial advertising sneakers.
He's come a long way from living a life of catching charges and working at Taco Bell. While the world may know him as the brash radio show host who isn't afraid to ask both the obvious and the obnoxious questions, there is a pretty inspirational story behind all the mayhem.
Loop 21 caught up with Charlamagne to find out how he made it from Moncks Corner to the Big Apple.
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Loop 21: Forgive us if we sound naive. But, what exactly is there to do in Moncks Corner, and how did you get started in media?
Charlamagne Tha God: There wasn't any media person for me to aspire to be like, but we watched "Rap City" and "The Box" like anybody else. As far as living there, I was a knucklehead. When I was living in Charleston, I was real smart, smart enough to skip grades. My mom was an English teacher. I used to love books. But when I moved to Moncks Corner, I got in trouble. When I was in Charleston, I was around smart kids, but when I [moved to Moncks Corner and] got into middle school and met my cousins who was thugging in the 'hood, I started rolling with them. I ended up going to summer school all through middle school and ... in ninth grade I started wilding out and got into selling drugs.
Loop 21: Can't imagine things went better after that.