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For the last fifteen years, Lenard “Charlamagne Tha God” McKelvey has carved a unique path through the world of media. In 2006, he left Moncks Corner, South Carolina (which is roughly an hour from James Island, a.k.a. the Charleston, South Carolina suburb where Tha God’s Honest Truth with Lenard “Charlamagne Tha God” McKelvy executive producer Stephen Colbert grew up) to begin his radio journey working with Wendy Williams. Four years later and Power 105.1 FM assembles its Breakfast Club, with Charlamagne Tha God joining forces with DJ Envy and Angela Yee to put the pressure on Hot 97. The show went on to impact the culture, but also took on the greater cause of bringing larger conversations to the people, hosting the likes of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.
Alongside Charlamagne’s Breakfast Club explosion has been a host (pun intended) of television work. The man who calls himself the “Prime Minister of Pissing People Off, the Architect of Aggravation, and the Ruler of Rubbing People the Wrong Way” was also finding himself as a voice people wanted to hear weigh in on the situations of today. By the third season of his MTV2 series Uncommon Sense, Charlamagne tells Complex that the direction of the series “was more politically driven. It was me by myself and it was just more politically driven. Next thing you know, they’re having talking head segments on MSNBC about the Charlamagne caucus, and how all of these presidential candidates got to come through and sit down and talk to Charlamagne on The Breakfast Club, and Meghan McCain on The View saying the best interviews in the political cycle and the best questions are being asked by Charlamagne. It was just interesting how that just came about.” It made sense that, at some point, Colbert—who’d started to regularly feature Charlamagne on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert would be receptive to a project from Charlamagne where he’s giving his honest truth about the social issues being debated on our timelines and playing out in the news on a regular basis.
Ahead of the premiere of Tha God’s Honest Truth on Comedy Central, Charlamagne Tha God hopped on Zoom to speak on his journey. Not just his journey of becoming a television host, but The Breakfast Club’s journey to the Radio Hall of Fame. Charlamagne also gets candid about the work he’s done on his own mental health, and how that change has played into how Tha God’s Honest Truth has evolved, as well as how that particular journey informed the upcoming Mental Wealth Expo that he put together for World Mental Health Day (Oct. 10) in New York City.
Alongside this conversation, you will see exclusive images from the set of Tha God’s Honest Truth. Charlamagne called on Nigerian artist Laolu Senbanjo (who’s worked with everyone from Beyoncé to Alicia Keys) to bring a unique vision to life. Nah, seriously: the Jack Morton-designed set is inspired by the inside of a Cadillac Escalade (deadass) and is covered in art that features a mixture of Yoruba patterns and Nigerian symbols that Senbanjo calls “Afromysterics” with callbacks to Charlemagne’s South Carolina roots
This may not be the Charlamagne Tha God interview you were expecting, but this is the Charlamagne Tha God interview you’re being given. And, for some, maybe it’s the Charlamagne Tha God interview you need. And that’s Tha God’s honest truth.