Charlemagne da God is a name you would most likely find in a history book, rather than a name of one of the hottest radio show co-host. This South Carolinian has emerged on the broadcasting dial by capturing hosting duties with Wendy Williams. Fans have quickly learned that Wendy is not the only host with a quick tongue and fist of words. Charlemagne seems somewhat reserved on the radio, but we took time to acquire the emperor’s thoughts on the Nation of Islam, the radio’s song selection, and the meaning of Charlemagne da God.
I wanted to wish you a happy belated birthday; I know your birthday was yesterday?
Charlemagne Tha God: Thank you
How does the man who holds it down with Queen Alize celebrate his birthday? What did the prince of media drink on his physical?
Charlemagne Tha God: I ain’t really big on birthdays, I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness, we don’t celebrate birthdays and I guess I still don’t. Yesterday everybody wanted to give me free food, and I’m a black man, so why would I deny free food? Everybody wanted to give me cakes and gifts and stuff; if it’s free, it’s for me.
I understand you have been in the broadcasting field for six years, how does New York City radio differ from any other state, region, or location you have already touched?
Charlemagne Tha God: It really can’t get no better. I don’t mean that from a talent stand point because talent wise, there are a lot of talented people throughout the country, but the overall New York; this is it, New York is that pool. Like being in South Carolina there might be certain things I was doing on the radio or certain interviews I would get and the ripples may or may not go out throughout the industry. Like throwing a rock in the pond y’all see the ripples, but New York is actually that pond. When I say something or do something it gets to everybody. That is what separates New York City from any market; NYC is really the best market for a lot of different things, radio just happens to be one of them.
I also see you walk heavily under the guidance of the Nation of Islam and the honorable Minister Farrakhan, were you born Muslim? If not, when did the nation call out to you?
Charlemagne Tha God: We are all born Muslim, cause Muslim just means someone who is in submission to the will of God; someone in submission to the will of righteousness. To me, we are all Muslims. I remember being young and my father just having me watch tapes of the honorable Minister Farrakhan. I use to watch him but I wasn’t paying attention, till I heard Biggie Smalls say, “deep like the mind of Farrakhan.” That hit me hard; made me really take notice to what the honorable Minister Farrakhan was saying. Ever since then it has been a natural transition from learning about Farrakhan and then learning about people that came before him like Malcolm X and the honorable Elijah Muhammad of Islam. It was just something I always gravitated towards because Islam means peace. We all want peace.
What advice would you give to the youth coming up? Or rather, what overall message would you send out there to today’s younger generation?
Charlemagne Tha God: I would want the youth to know that they have to pay attention to everything that came before them. You have to pay attention to the older generations because the older generations posses what many of today’s youth lack; values, morals, spiritual script. I don’t think the younger generation has these because the gap between the generations has not been bridged. I think the older people are not teaching the way they used too. Like when I was coming up I had my father in my head. My mother, my grandmother, my aunts, my uncles, the neighbors and just everybody took time out to induce some type of parental and disciplinary figure in my life. I think that the younger people just have to learn from the old, that is why the bible says “old men for counsel, young men for war.” But these young people are not seeking the old people for counsel anymore and the old are not preaching like they used too, that’s a problem with society today.
Now where do you see yourself as well as your career in the next seven years? How do you plan on enriching, broadening, or changing the media game? What sets you apart from any other coming up in this field?
Charlemagne Tha God: I’m honest; I don’t have any other ulterior motive other than being honest. I feel like I’m a public servant. This is where a lot of radio personalities, DJs, and Newscasters get caught up. I guess these media figures have to play it ‘politically correct’ because they are not really opinionated people or they are just in it for the money/fame. But as far as me and what I do, I’m just here to be a public servant for the people. I’m a public servant like how Jesus was a public servant, like how Malcolm X was a public servant, how Martin Luther King Jr. was a public servant. I’m in it for the people; I’m here to serve the public. I’m not here to get caught up in my own ego. Jesus was the sun of God but you didn’t see him walking around with swollen hand, walking around like, “I’m the son of God”, nah, he was here for the people. I’m here to do the same; I’m gonna change the game by just being honest and not drinking the Kool Aid.
What does Charlemagne listen to on his down time?
Charlemagne Tha God: Eric B. & Rakim “Paid In Full” album, Raekwon “Only Good For Cuban Linx”, I listen to my own artist Lou XIII. I listen to a lot of South Carolina music. Like right now I’m listening to my man Pazo, he’s from South Carolina and my man Mac A Don, he’s from South Carolina too. But everyday it’s Eric B. & Rakim’s “Paid In Full” album, that is my theme song.
Is Charlemagne a distinctive name historically or just a given name? What is the meaning or origin?
Charlemagne Tha God: When you sell drugs and be on the block, you don’t ever give a fiend your real name; so when I was in that business, I use to always tell the fiends my name was Charles. I used to smoke a lot of chronic so they used to call me ‘Charlie Chronic’. When I was in night school, got kicked out of regular school, I started reading history books and I started to grow and evolve and study and stuff, wasn’t trying to live that street life anymore, I ran across a Roman Emperor named Charlemagne. Charlemagne stood for Charles the Great. I was like wow, I dig the name. Plus, he was into spreading religion and education and the name of his empire was the Carolinian Empire, so it just all made sense. I’m from South Carolina, I’m a Carolinian, that’s my empire. Charles the Great Charlemagne was concerned about spreading religion and education; he was a mighty educated warrior, just felt like a fitting title.
Do you think radio shows try to focus only on the negative rather than the positive? Do you think people should hear a multitude or variety of stories?
Charlemagne Tha God: I was talking about this with somebody earlier. In general, I think life and the industry focus on the negative more than the positive. I feel like people don’t understand because the reason radio stations don’t play a lot of positive music is because positive music don’t make any money. I hate to say it but it’s just that simple. The only way more positive music or music with socially redeeming values is gonna get played on the radio is when that music can make money, this business is a machine. Those corporate executives and the people that run these machines want the bottom line, The Almighty Dollar. They’re not thinking about the upbringing of our people, they’re not thinking about enriching our youth; they’re just selfish dudes who care about the money, the almighty dollar. That’s why public servants and glitches in the matrix such as myself come into play.
Do you ever wonder how certain songs make it on the radio? What songs would you consider to be garbage?
Charlemagne Tha God: You want me to start naming whole play list? “Laffy Taffy”! I don’t understand that record. “Laffy Taffy” bothers me. Everything else after “Laffy Taffy” I don’t really care about, but “Laffy Taffy” puts the nail in the coffin as far as the rap game is concerned. As far as the music industry is concerned, It had to of been a unified decision that execs came up with to show people how powerful they are. They made a wack ass record that everybody in the country listens to and they get what they want, the Almighty Dollar.
—— By: Interview by Ble George