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July 6, 2012

Charlamagne Tha God: Mouth from the South

Hip-hop’s loudest voice is a South Carolina-born radio host working at one of New York City’s hottest stations. He comes back for a party Friday.

LOUD AND CLEAR: Hip-hop’s loudest voice doesn’t belong to the boisterous Waka Flocka Flame or to the luxury rapper Martin Louis the King Jr., more commonly known as Kanye West.

Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Diddy and even Jay-Z don’t have the volume or resonance of Charlamagne Tha God, the South Carolina native who has the most cacophonous tone in hip-hop.

Charlamagne, a co-host of “The Breakfast Club,” the morning show broadcast on New York’s Power 105.1, resonates because, unlike most of the rappers interviewed on the show, he keeps it real.

He stands by his words. Charlamagne, who will be a star at his own birthday party tonight at Jet Nightlife in the Vista, has always had a lot to say. Jet, formerly known as Club XS, is at 700 Gervais St. Tonight’s party is basically the club’s debut under new manager, Myron Chinn.

Since he’s been on “The Breakfast Club” (the show debuted in December 2010), alongside DJ Envy and Angela Yee, it seems that just about everything Charlamagne says on the air makes news — or, at the very least, gets views on WorldStarHipHop, an aggregate website. Last year, the show was ranked No. 3 on The Source magazine’s Power 30 rankings.

Recently, Charlamagne has made news because of his word wars with two hip-hop legends, Funkmaster Flex and Busta Rhymes. Charlamagne is a radio personality who likes to jab and irk.

Here is a top 10 list of Charlamagne’s career thus far.

1. MTV personality. Charlamagne has extended his brand from radio to TV. He’s currently a star on two MTV-produced shows: “Guy Code,” which returns for a second season to MTV 2 on July 17, and “MTV’s Hip-Hop POV.” He’s a contemporary Sway. (Another MTV/SC connection: Tiffany Williams, a Columbia native and University of South Carolina graduate, is the executive producer of “Hip-Hop POV.”)

2. Instagram photos. His entertaining Instagram account (@cthagod, which is the same as his Twitter handle) is for hip-hop heads, sneaker heads and people who want to see music stars posing for post-radio interview photos.

3. He has endorsements from Adidas and Rocawear. That’s a giant sneaker company and the clothing line started by Jay-Z.

4. Beef with New York’s Hot 97 DJ’s Funkmaster Flex and Peter Rosenberg. Radio station wars are legendary in New York, and Charlamagne is in the middle of the current feud. Let’s face it, he brought the gasoline and is fanning the flames. Charlamagne has been poking at Flex, who he calls Grandfather Flex and Flex Hogan, but the beef boiled over after last month’s Summer Jam concert. (A quick recap: Rosenberg dissed Nicki Minaj, who then backed out of the performance. Flex went on stage and made threats about ending careers.) “The Breakfast Club” took shots at Flex, giving him the not-so-coveted Donkey of the Day. Charlamagne’s online response to the slurs Flex used is hilarious.

5. Donkey of the Day. When stars trip up, they get this award, which is essentially Charlamagne having a three-minute, on-air roasting session. Wale and Lil Wayne have been DoD. The most unflattering was reserved for Flex.

6. Working with Wendy Williams. Williams, a former radio queen, picked Charlamagne to be her co-host of the nationally syndicated “The Wendy Williams Experience.” The show was taken off the air in November 2008 and Charlamagne moved on to host mornings for 100.3 The Beat in Philadelphia. He was fired in November 2009 after airing an interview where Beanie Sigel explained his Jay-Z diss track. Speculation was rampant that Jay-Z was behind the station deciding to “move in a different direction,” as Charlamagne posted on Twitter to announce his firing.

7. New York arrest. Not Charlamagne, but his father. Leroy McKelvey was arrested in September for allegedly using a stun gun at an NFL stadium. The news made headlines on ESPN and in the New York Post.

8. Pusha T haircut. How many hip-hop fans have wanted Pusha T to get rid of the braids? When the rapper appeared on “The Breakfast Club,” Charlamagne brandished clippers. He didn’t get a chance to cut Pusha T’s hair, but his reasoning was sound: singers such as Trey Songz became more well known once they let go of the braids.

9. Busta Rhymes beef. Last Friday night, Charlamagne and Busta, according to several websites, got into a heated exchange at Melanie Fiona’s party in Los Angeles. Both were in town for the BET Awards. According to the websites, which included MediaTakeOut, Busta Rhymes confronted Charlamagne over negative comments that Williams said about him years ago — before Charlamagne was on her show.

10. “Concrete Jungle” on WHXT-FM Hot 103.9. Charlamagne started his career as a local DJ, and Columbia hasn’t heard anyone like him since. Though he’s miles away from here, he never misses a chance to mention where he’s from. “I am South Carolina,” he said in a video responding to Flex. “If the state could talk, it would sound like me.”

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