Charlamagne Tha God has made his name known in the hip hop industry by asking the celebs the tough questions — for example, he called Kanye West’s latest release Yeezus “whack” to the rapper’s face before calling him “Kanye Kardashian” — but Charlamagne’s no-holds-barred approach has also deemed him one of the best in the business.
Since the shock-jock host of 105.1’s morning show, “The Breakfast Club” — and host of MTV2’s Charlamagne and Friends — will be emceeing the 2014 Woodie Awards on March 13, here are five things you may not have known about the radio personality.
1. He was born Lenard McKelvey. If you thought Charlamagne was his real name, think again. He was born Lenard McKelvey on June 29, 1980 in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. So how did he get the moniker Charlamagne?
“When I used to hustle,” he told the New York Times, “I called myself Charles because I didn’t want the people who bought crack from me to know my real name. And then when I was in night school, I was reading in the history book about Charlemagne, which is French for Charles the Great.” And no, there wasn’t a reason for the misspelling. “I think I just spelled it wrong,” he said.
2. Wait, but where did “Tha God” come from? “Because it sounded cool,” he added. We have to admit: it does sound pretty cool.
3. He was in an out of jail when he was younger. Not only was he sent to jail after witnessing a shooting from the back seat of a car, he was also locked up twice for possession of marijuana and cocaine with intent to sell. After his third offense, he cleaned up his act and went to night school, scoring an internship at a local radio station.
4. His media idol is Howard Stern. It easy to see the comparisons between Howard Stern and Charlamagne — they’re both extremely opinionated shock-jocks with a penchant for asking the questions others wouldn’t dare approach. His other media heroes include Joan Rivers, Wendy Williams and Bill O'Reilly. According to Charlamagne, he likes "honest, opinionated people, even if I don't agree with them," he told Rolling Stone. "I used to watch interviews and be like, 'Why is he not asking the most obvious question?' That actress is sitting there with a face full of plastic surgery. Why not ask her, 'Why did you do that to your face?'" And sure enough, he did ask that question when Lil Kim was a guest on his radio program.
5. Wendy Williams gave him his first big break. In 2005, Charlamagne met then-radio host Wendy Williams. Soon after, she brought Charlamagne to New Jersey and put him on her show as a co-host. “They told me they couldn’t pay me but they’d get me a place to stay,” he told The New York Times. “I was like, ‘Cool,’ because I recognized the opportunity.” Charlamagne was laid off in 2008, and sadly, he and Wendy are no longer on speaking terms.
Don't forget to join Wetpaint and Viggle for a live Twitter Q&A with Charlamagne Tha God on Thursday, March 6 at 1 p.m. ET. Tweet your questions using the hashtag #ViggleThaGod.