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Charlamagne tha God

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Charlamagne tha God
Charlamagne tha God crop.jpg
McKelvey at the 2019 Montclair Film Festival
Lenard Larry McKelvey

(1978-06-29) June 29, 1978 (age 42)
ShowThe Breakfast Club (co-host)
Station(s)Power 105.1
Time slot6:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
CountryUnited States

Lenard Larry McKelvey (born June 29, 1978), known professionally as Charlamagne tha God, is an American radio presenter, television personality, and author.[1] He is a co-host of the nationally syndicated radio show The Breakfast Club with DJ Envy and Angela Yee, all of whom were inducted in the Radio Hall of Fame in 2020 for their work on the show.

Prior to his work on The Breakfast Club, he worked as a radio personality for several radio stations and also spent time as second mic on The Wendy Williams Experience with [[Wendy Williams on VH1. He is the founder of the Black Effect Podcast Network,[2] and was featured on Guy Code, Guy Court and Girl Code. He was also a VJ for The Week in Jams with DJ Envy and Sofi Green. In 2015, McKelvey began hosting the MTV2 show Uncommon Sense.

In the shock jock tradition, one of McKelvey's personal mantras is "bite my tongue for no one"[3] and was called "hip-hop's Howard Stern" by Rolling Stone.

Early life

McKelvey was born to Larry Thomas McKelvey, a Jehovah's Witness-turned-Muslim[4] and his wife, an English teacher and Jehovah's Witness,[1][4][5] on June 29, 1978.[6] He grew up in Moncks Corner, South Carolina[7] where as a teenager he was arrested twice for possession of marijuana and cocaine with intent to distribute.[8]

In 2001, he was accused of sexual assault after a party. He denied having sexual relations with the accuser and cooperated with authorities, providing DNA evidence which failed to show any evidence that he had sex with the victim.[9] The sexual assault charges were dropped and he later plead guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, for he received three years' probation.[10][11]

McKelvey was arrested after being a witness in a shooting where he was an occupant of the vehicle. His father refused to pay his bail money, and McKelvey remained in jail for 41 days. Eventually, he called his mother, who paid for his bail and McKelvey was released.[8] After being released from the county jail, he began attending night school[8] and graduated from Berkeley High School.[12]


Early career in radio

McKelvey started his career in radio as an intern for Z93 Jamz in Charleston. He also spent time in Columbia with WHXT.[12] He left South Caroline in 2006 to become second mic to radio host Wendy Williams.[12] He developed the stage name of Charlamagne, taken from his pseudonym as a drug dealer, "Charles," and created a new persona based on Charlemagne, who ruled much of Western Europe as part of the Carolingian Empire.[1] He added "Tha God" because it "sounded cool."[8]

His forward questioning and interviews of hip-hop and R&B artists on radio raised his public profile but also caused rifts between himself and the guests of the show. The show was taken off the air in 2008 and he was laid.[8] Relations between Charlamagne and Williams deteriorated, though he has stated numerous times on the show The Breakfast Club that he views Williams as a mentor, and the two reunited in 2019.[13]

In 2008 he began hosting the morning show for 100.3 The Beat in Philadelphia. He was fired by the station in 2009, a few days after airing an interview with Beanie Sigel who released a diss track about Jay-Z, both of whom were former rappers for Roc-A-Fella Records. Speculation in the media was that Jay-Z was behind the firing of McKelvey due to the interview.[14] He returned to Moncks Corner to live with his mother for about a year prior to being offered a position with WWPR-FM to co-host The Breakfast Club.[15]

2010-2016: The Breakfast Club and television

In 2010, McKelvey became a co-host on The Breakfast Club, alongside DJ Envy and Angela Yee on WWPR-FM in New York City, New York, along with its national television simulcast on Revolt.[1] The show was started by Power 105.1 to compete with Hot 97, one of the most popular hip-hop morning shows in New York. He was brought in as a co-host due to his radio experience and knowing "how to get to the edge and not go over it."[15] Once part of the show, he gave himself the title "Prime Minister of Pissing People Off, the Architect of Aggravation, and the Ruler of Rubbing People the Wrong Way."[16]

In 2011, McKelvey began serving as a cast member of Guy Code, a comedy television show on MTV2 that talks about a special code of conduct just for men. The show ended in March 2015. He also starred on the MTV2 show Charlamagne & Friends.[1] He co-hosted MTV New Year's live from Times Square in both 2013 and 2014, and in 2015 he was a correspondent for the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards pre-show.[17][18][19]

In 2014, he was called him "hip-hop's Howard Stern by Rolling Stone."[1] The following year, he began hosting Uncommon Sense with Charlamagne tha God on MTV2.[20][21]

2017-present: Book writing, podcast, and Radio Hall of Fame

In 2017, his book Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It, which he called "a self-help guide for the hood,"[3] was published by the Simon & Schuster imprint Touchstone. Steven Kurutz of The New York Times gave the book a mostly positive review, describing Black Privilege as "a street-smart self-help guide" with typically blunt advice offered in eight different principles.[22] The book was ranked sixth in the May 7, 2017, New York Times list of best-selling hardback non-fiction.[23] McKelvey's second book, Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me was released on October 23, 2018.[24]

In 2019, he became the host of Emerging Hollywood, a YouTube series from The Hollywood Reporter. On this show, he speaks with Hollywood professionals to discuss various political topics. His past guests on the show include Trevor Noah and Jameela Jamil.[25]

In 2020, McKelvey founded the Black Effect Podcast Network in partnership with iHeartMedia.[2] In August 2020, he and his Breakfast Club co-hosts, Angela Yee and DJ Envy, were inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.[26] With fellow MTV2 personality Andrew Schulz, he hosts The Brilliant Idiots podcast on Combat Jack's Loud Speakers Network.[27][28]

In August 2020, McKelvey and his Breakfast Club co-hosts, Angela Yee and DJ Envy were inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.[29]


  • South Crack: The Album (2008)


Year Title Role Notes
2009 Kiss & Tail: The Hollywood Jumpoff Himself
2011–2015 Guy Code Himself Stars in along with Lil Duval
2011 This Thing of Ours "Shottah"
2012 Hip-Hop POV Himself
2012 Hood State of Union Himself
2013 The Week in Jams Himself Host in along with DJ Envy & Sofi Green
2013 Girl Code Himself
2013 Guy Code Honors Himself A one and a half-hour show that honored the superheroes and villains from the 2013 Comic-Con in San Diego, California
2013 Charlamagne & Friends Himself 2013–Present
2013 Guy Court Himself
2013, 2015 Wild 'N Out Himself 3 episodes
2014 Ride Along Cop Cameo appearance
2015 Catfish: The TV Show Himself 1 episode
2015–present Uncommon Sense with Charlamagne Himself Host
2015 Empire Himself 1 episode
2017 Grow House Black Jesus Acting debut
2017 Bodied Hunnid Gramz
2020 Dave (TV series) Himself 1 episode


  1. ^ a b c d e f Vozick-Levinson, Simon (February 5, 2014). "Meet Hip-Hop's Howard Stern: Charlamagne tha God". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Spangler, Todd (September 9, 2020). "Charlamagne tha God Launches Black Effect Podcast Network With iHeartMedia". Variety. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Charlamagne Tha God Calls New Book, Black Privilege, a 'Self-Help Guide for the Hood'".
  4. ^ a b "CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD". January 1, 2018.
  5. ^ "Charlamagne tha God has book coming next spring". AP NEWS. November 1, 2016.
  6. ^ "Five Things You Didn't Know About Charlamagne tha God". TVOvermind. March 10, 2018.
  7. ^ Lehrman, Jessica (May 3, 2016). "Tha God of Radio". Vulture. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d e Bernstein, Jacob (December 11, 2013). "Charlamagne Tha God: Keeping a Hot Seat Warm". The New York Times. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  9. ^ "'I Never Sexually Assaulted Anyone' ... DNA Tests Proved It". TMZ. July 12, 2018. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  10. ^ Zimmerman, Amy (July 26, 2018). "Inside the Disturbing Rape Allegations Against Charlamagne Tha God, Hip-Hop Radio's Biggest Voice". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  11. ^ Shilliday, Sarah Jones,Beth (July 12, 2018). "Charlamagne Tha God Raped Me When I Was 15, Alleges Jessica Reid — Now I Demand Justice". Hollywood Life. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  12. ^ a b c Schechter, Maayan (June 13, 2019). "SC native Charlamagne is changing the 2020 conversation one candidate at a time". The State. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  13. ^ Bennet, Jessica (November 5, 2019). "Wendy Williams and Charlamagne tha God reunite after squashing 10-year feud". Page Six. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  14. ^ Alexis, Diamond (March 20, 2018). "That Time Jay-Z (Allegedly) Got Charlamagne Tha God Fired". BET. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Jacobson, Mark (May 2, 2016). "The God of Radio". Vulture (New York Magazine). Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  16. ^ Charlamagne Tha God, 1980- (April 18, 2017). Black privilege : opportunity comes to those who create it (First Touchstone hardcover ed.). New York. p. 219. ISBN 9781501145308. OCLC 958459919.
  17. ^ "MTV Is Ringing in 2014 with the "Girl Code Presents: New Year's Code" Special Starting December 31 at 10:00 P.M. ET/PT". The Futon Critic. December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  18. ^ "Ring in 2015 with 'MTV's New Year's Eve 2015' Hosted by Victoria Justice & Charlamagne". TV by the Numbers. December 11, 2014. Archived from the original on February 27, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  19. ^ "Music: Listen to Free Music, Watch New Music Videos | MTV Asia". Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  20. ^ "The Breakfast Club Host Charlamagne tha God and Tyga Land Their Own Shows on MTV2". Music Times. April 17, 2015. Archived from the original on August 2, 2015.
  21. ^ "Charlamagne puts his 'Uncommon Sense' to good use on TV and social media". Cynopsis Media. July 5, 2015.
  22. ^ Kurutz, Steven (April 17, 2017). "Charlamagne Tha God Puts His Straight Talk in a Book". The New York Times.
  23. ^ "Hardcover Nonfiction Books - Best Sellers". The New York Times. May 7, 2017. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  24. ^ Charlamagne tha God (2018). Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me. Atria Books. ISBN 978-1501193255.
  25. ^, HipHopDX- (May 3, 2019). "Charlamagne Tha God & Trevor Noah Explore Racial Diversity In Hollywood & Beyond". HipHopDX. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  26. ^ Saint-Vil, Sweenie (August 17, 2020). ""The Breakfast Club" inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame". Revolt. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  27. ^ Ng, Philiana (December 4, 2013). "MTV2 Renews 'Charlamagne & Friends' for Season 2 (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  28. ^ Robertson, Iyana (February 5, 2015). "Let Charlamagne tha God and Andrew Schulz Sort Through Your Issues of Race in Hip-Hop". Vibe. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  29. ^ Saint-Vil, Sweenie (August 17, 2020). ""The Breakfast Club" inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame". Revolt. Retrieved January 16, 2021.

External links