Published on May 21st, 2016 | by Dr. Jerry Doby


Charlamagne Tha God: The most talked about purveyor of ‘Uncommon Sense’

Sometime past, I saw a t-shirt with the saying “Danger Educated Black Man” and it caused me to pause and think because, so many are just travelling through life reacting instead of being proactive and speaking up about issues. Charlamagne Tha God is one of those voices that gives it to us raw and uncut, he’s not afraid to speak out and stand on the front line. We hear him Monday-Friday on the celebrated Breakfast Club radio program on Power 105.1 and he’s entered season two of his MTV2 show Uncommon Sense, a platform that is both daring and thought-provoking. We got a chance to speak by phone to discuss his returning show and some of the things that make him tick as a man…outside of show business.

I went back in history and read some of your Dark America articles for The Hype Magazine when you first started out. You were ON them. You’ve been on them forever and you are on them now. You tell the truth. We were on a conference call once and you said, “Good music promotes itself.” You were telling somebody about wasting all that money. I just love your honesty and the way you bring it bro.

I appreciate that brother.

Okay, so congratulations, Season 2 of Uncommon Sense on MTV2. Talk to us about it man, I love the format.

I mean it feels good man. I often sometimes feel like I don’t even appreciate the blessing of the situation. You know what I’m saying? Because when you come from where I come from, Moncks Corner, South Carolina, dirt road, it’s like a lot of things that happen to me are like really surreal, so it’s almost like I’m just going with the flow, I’m just going with the motions, but it’s just like, I’m sitting on a set right now and I’m looking around like, “Yo, I really got a TV show, bro.” You know what I mean? It’s real now. This is Season 2. It’s just like, man, I’m happy, I thank God, I’m blessed that I have this platform to come out here and express my politically incorrect views of potentially dangerous rhetoric and I just can’t wait man, Friday nights, 11 pm, MTV2.

I’m hoping that you spill over to one of the main slots. Because I think that you need some heavier exposure.

I mean that’s the goal. That’s the goal. Everything’s a process. This is another step to something larger. I look at everything in life as grooming. You’ve got to understand that when I get to that next level, I’m going to be ready because of the experiences that I’m getting here. You know what I’m saying? It’s like, for me, it’s just a stepping-stone.

Right now man, from the beginning to the end, from the outside looking in man, how do you see Charlamagne Tha God?

That’s a great question man. I honestly don’t see me. I know that may sound crazy, but I don’t see me and what I mean by that is, like I don’t try to make myself too aware of what’s going on. I’m aware, but I’m not aware. Because I think sometimes people can get lost in who they’re perceived to be, or who their character is, or what their position is. You know what I’m saying? I don’t get lost in none of that. Like at the end of the day I’m just me.

I’m just the same kid who grew up on a dirt road from Moncks Corner, South Carolina, and I really feel like I understand what’s really important in life, which for me is God and my family and as long as I can hold that down and hold my family and friends down the way they need to be held down, everything else is gravy. Like everything that comes with the professional life to me, that’s just an extension of me doing what I was supposed to do in my life personally. It’s like I don’t see myself as some Charlamagne Tha God type, I’m just me at the end of the day.

To me it’s like, you’re like the urban Andy Rooney, from 60 minutes. That guy used to sear people and just really rip situations so you can’t do that if you’re not aware, which means you’re wide awake. You know what I mean? As a media personality, talk to me about the development of urban media, where we’re missing out man, because we’re missing out. You’ve touched on it before.




Yeah, I think we’re missing out just by not being honest man. I think that we’ve got a lot of guys who are in these positions of power in the media, but they’re just scared. They go along to get along. They don’t want to rock the boat too much because they’re afraid that they may get fired and not have those platforms and not have those positions anymore. I’ve always lived my truth in the aspect of I really feel like I’m doing God’s work. I really feel like, when certain things come out of my mouth I’m not just saying things. I literally pray and ask for direction on who should I aim at or who should I discuss today.

Of course you’ve got your frivolous stuff when it comes to pop culture, but I’m talking about when it comes to real issues, real things that are going on in our community, I feel like God is directing my steps when it comes to that. I feel like you just have so many people who are just afraid to speak their mind and tell the truth because they really honestly don’t want to get fired, but you know for me, I don’t have no fear of that because I’ve been fired 4 times from radio already, in my career.

Plus, nowadays, there’s so many other platforms to be heard that you really can’t silence the truth nowadays if you try, so it’s like all these guys that aren’t speaking the truth and aren’t being honest, they’re doing themselves an injustice because we live in an age of transparency. People can see right through you and tell when you are full of shit and tell when you are afraid to speak on certain issues. If you’re afraid to speak on certain things you ain’t doing God’s work. God didn’t put us here for that. God put us here to help. Sometimes you can help with your voice, you can’t use your voice to help, what’s the point?

If you’re afraid you don’t have the conviction. I feel you. I understand what you’re saying. As you pull that outlook together for Uncommon Sense, creatively how do you translate that to the screen for MTV2.

What I say about Uncommon Sense man is the same thing I say about any platform I’m on. We’re either going to continue a conversation that’s already happening or we’re going to start a new conversation and that’s just all I want to do. I want to come up here and I want to just express things and talk about things the way that we talk about things and express things, because I don’t feel like anybody out there and you know everybody’s politically correct, everybody says what needs to be said, you know?

I know everybody said what they think needs to be said, but nobody’s actually saying what really, really needs to be said. That’s why I always said, like when you asked me how do I see myself man, I just see myself as me, because I don’t ever want to get carried away and to think that I’m something that I’m not. At the end of the day, I’m just a human being and I’m a human being with an honest opinion and I always want to bring that honest fan-like perspective to these platforms so I do the same thing with Uncommon Sense.

Is it scary to recognize your importance, because really your voice is important, but like you said, people are afraid of getting fired, they’re afraid of being censored, and you’re not. What do you think about that?

It is scary, but it’s only scary when you realize that your voice is bigger than you and it’s only scary when you choose not to embrace that. When you choose not to embrace it and you’re fighting against yourself that’s when it seems scary. You know what I’m saying? Because it’s like you’re fighting against a natural energy that exist in you. You’re fighting against the universe telling you, “This is what you’re supposed to say. This is what you’re supposed to do, so go do it.” When you ignore that or disregard those feelings, that’s when it’s scary, because you know you’re not listening to your creator. When you’re actually listening to your creator and you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, it’s not scary at all, like you know you’re good. What do they say? Tell the truth, shame the devil, right?

Yup, yup, my grandmother always said that one. That kept it real. What can we expect this season? Do you have any surprises for us?

You know I got my guy, Andrew Schultz; he’s my co-host on my podcast, Brilliant Idiots. I’ve got him on every episode along with Crystal. Crystal from the Reed. Crystal is a young girl who I think is really talented man and she comes from that same cloth of not being afraid to speak her mind. She’s real pro-black, real pro-woman, and I love her for that. You know what I’m saying? I love to hear her express herself.

So you surround yourself by strong voices, such as yourself, and that compliment you.

Yeah man. Even if we don’t compliment each other, I just like the honest energy. I don’t even have to agree with you all of the time, I just like the people who don’t bite their tongue, who aren’t trying to be politically correct, who are un-apologetically themselves. Those are people I like, and we got a live studio audience this year.

Is that nerve-wracking?

Nah, this is good energy. You know what I’m saying? It’s just good to have that energy in the room. When you’re doing your thing and see people enjoying it, or even oohing and ahhing, or not even agreeing all the time, you just like it. As long as you, when you’re evoking an emotion you can just feel it. It feels good.

I’ve listened to your podcasts a couple of times and I think you guys are brilliant, so the difference though, in recording that podcast, it’s just the crew, you got this massive energy, you’re feeding off each other, but then when you get the blessing of getting the feedback from a live audience that has to be extra special?

Yeah it feels good. I don’t try to get caught up in the audience. Like I tell people, that’s one reason I love comedians, but sometimes I hate having them on the panel because they get caught up in thinking they’re doing stand-up and trying to perform instead of just having a conversation. You know what I’m saying? So it’s like, for me I just want to have a real conversation. That’s it.

Outside of show biz man, what’s your schedule between radio and television? Do you even have a chance to breathe and decompress?

Yeah, absolutely, I do that on purpose. I base my life around rest. Like a lot of times, growing up in Hip-Hop, they say things like, “sleep is because of the devil.” If you sleep you don’t eat, that type of *ish, but nah man, I base my life around rest, I base my life around family. When I’m not working, I’m with my two daughters; I’m with my wife. You know what I’m saying? I don’t go to the clubs. I don’t do extra-curricular stuff like just go hang out just to be hanging out. I don’t waste the minutes. You know what I’m saying? I don’t waste the minutes. If I’m not working, I’m at home reading. I’m at home playing, laughing with my daughters. I’m with my wife, out with my wife. That’s what I enjoy doing.

Man bless up for that, much respect and salute. Is there anything you wanted to cover that I may have neglected inadvertently?

Nah, just, you know, Breakfast Club on Power 105.1 FM  (NY), Monday through Friday 6am to 10am you got to check your local listings. Uncommon Sense, every Friday at 11pm on MTV2 and I got a book coming out early 2017 so be on the lookout for that.

What’s the name of the book? What’s it about?

I can’t give the name of it yet. It’s still a tentative title. It’s kind of like a self-help book for the hood. But the only reason I did a self-help book was because, I feel like my life experiences will help somebody. You know I don’t have all of the answers, I just have a story and I just want to tell you my story and if you fu*k with it and you learn from it, cool. If not, I understand that too. It’s like an adult-children’s book.

This is gonna be an epic book if he’s able to have his way on the content. Charlemagne is also one of the faces and spokes people for The Hip-Hop Caucus, a non-profit organization which addresses issues that effect our everyday lives, including politics…throwing an alarm clock in the graveyard to wake up the dead.

Following our “Live Session” with Charlamagne, we lost a complete original in Prince and the industry is still reeling from the loss of this great talent who touched so many. During the April 22, episode of Uncommon Sense, Charlamagne gave his thoughts and shared his experience with the legend. In particular, in the clip below, he recalls the first time they met and his belief that Prince could levitate.

R.I.P Prince Rogers Nelson June 7, 1958, Minneapolis, MN – April 21, 2016, Chanhassen, MN

(Photos and video clip courtesy of MTV and used with permission)

About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.

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