Few people can hold their own in an interview. Even fewer can survive the spotlight shining on Charlamagne Tha God. Notorious for his straightforward attitude, he recently branched out of radio and entered the more hallowed halls of late-night television with his new show, Tha God’s Honest Truth With Charlamagne Tha God.
The Radio Hall of Famer is dispensing justice on television the same way he has on radio. The show is a blank canvas on which the world is colored through Charlamagne’s lens as he produces and hosts.
Charlamagne, aka Lenard McKelvey, has come a long way from his hometown of Moncks Corner, South Carolina. From struggling on the streets to kick-starting his career in radio at Z93 Jamz, he’s remained hungry for more. His legendary show with DJ Envy and Angela Yee, The Breakfast Club, defined culture and secured a place in hip-hop history in 2020 when it was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.
Tha God’s Honest Truth has received acclaim from all across the entertainment industry. “He’s speaking to an audience that’s not always represented in late night,” says Nina Diaz, president of content for MTV Entertainment Group, which oversees programming on Comedy Central. “Younger audiences are more diverse as a population. If we want to be important and culturally relevant, that’s who is defining and making the culture.”
The weekly show has adopted a style that’s fresh, relevant, and carries Charlamagne’s signature style of delivering hard truths packed in easy-to-digest nuggets. The episodes, which are segmented into three parts — “I Call Bulls–t,” “Let’s Unpack This,” and “Tha God’s Final Word” — flow effortlessly. “I Call Bulls–t” is where Charlamagne delivers his ruthless judgment on viral news and the hypocrisy found in it. “Let’s Unpack This” introduces Charlamagne’s main guest, who is usually relevant to the theme of the show.
Celebrities, politicians, artists, and musicians have all braved Charlamagne’s interview seat. At The Breakfast Club, he interviewed the likes of Hillary Clinton and then-presidential candidate Joe Biden, while in his new show, Vice President Kamala Harris recently made an appearance. Charlamagne is no stranger to politically driven processes. In a recent interview with Complex, Charlamagne spoke about his days with the MTV2 series Uncommon Sense.
“By the third season, it was just me. It’s so interesting how God works because even the third season of Uncommon Sense, [it] 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.”
From sparring with Kanye West to being likened to hip-hop’s Howard Stern, Charlamagne’s interview style is tactful yet respectful, tough yet empathetic. Never one to shy away from asking questions others avoid, Charlamagne’s made a name for himself by putting people in the hot seat. His recent interview with Harris was splashed all over social media. It started when Harris made a remote appearance on Tha God’s Honest Truth and was faced with a hard-hitting question from Charlamagne. “I want to know who the real president of this country is: Is it Joe Biden or Joe Manchin?” Charlamagne asked. It took several seconds for Harris to regain her composure, and an aide tried to shut down the interview before she fiercely replied.
The motive behind Charlamagne’s question was simple yet brave. Hidden beneath its layers was a fear that’s widespread among many Americans — does President Joe Biden have the political resolve to fight for legislation such as the Build Back Better Act? Its fiercest opponent, Sen. Joe Manchin, a centrist Democrat from West Virginia, has been an obstacle to key portions of Biden’s agenda and recently pulled his support from the bill.
This is Charlamagne at his finest. He’s earned a reputation for bringing important conversations to the people. A similar interview took place with Biden in the run-up to the 2020 election, in which Biden famously told the host, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.” (A Biden aide tried to end that particular interview, stating Biden was out of time.)
Most recently it was Travis Scott who sat down with Charlamagne to discuss the Astroworld tragedy. The interview aired on Dec. 9 on Charlamagne’s YouTube channel. Scott spent nearly an hour going over the events that led to the devastating night. This time, however, Charlamagne was not his usual rambunctious self. He listened carefully and made sure his behavior remained reserved for much of the interview.
Charlamagne has earned his place in the pantheon of the world’s most influential TV personalities. He’s been raising the alarm while interviewing political figures and has also shed new light on the lives of countless celebrities including Ed Sheeran, Kanye West, and Pete Davidson. Charlamagne is the voice to be heard for everyone seeking the truth delivered in a parcel of humor.