Cthagod what up,
It’s been a minute. I know I just saw you at your Atlanta book signing, but we didn’t really get to talk. The bookstore staff gave us instructions to be brief since you had another event to attend immediately after. So after you signed my book, I was out. Still, it was good to see you, brother.
My cellphone crashed about a year ago, and I lost your new number. That’s why I haven’t hit you up in a while. And I can’t remember the last time I saw you. It’s weird because you’re still a part of my daily life. I watch your Breakfast Club interviews on Youtube, I listen to your Brilliant Idiots podcast, I watch your MTV shows and I try to catch any interview you do.
We go way back. I’m talking Myspace Top 8 Friends days. 2003, 2004. And before that, 2000-2001, I remember hearing you on the radio in Charleston. I still remember the first time I interviewed you. I was the Editor-In-Chief of Urban Pages, a Charleston, SC based magazine that I helped build from the ground up (opportunity comes to those who create it, right?) Back then I was just trying to write myself into the culture. Trying to write my way off a dirt road. Trying to write my way into a better situation.
I guess that’s why we clicked. Two country boys from South Carolina dirt roads, you being from Moncks Corner and myself from James Island, who grew up listening to Nas, Biggie, Wu Tang and Mobb Deep, reading The Source and XXL, and trying to find a place in the culture through media. You were doing radio, while I was doing print.
Even back then you were a beast in your field. You were on Hot 103.9 in Columbia, SC. You hadn’t had huge success yet, but you knew it was coming.
In the first interview we did, you said, “I don’t feel like there’s a better radio personality than me in the country. I feel like I’m the best kept secret. It’s just a matter of time and everyone keeps telling me that.”
Those were boastful words for a radio jock in one of the smaller markets in the country, but when you said those words, I believed you.
Your story is well documented. And through the ups and downs, hirings and firings, I’ve been following you, reaching out, showing love and supporting the best I could.
I never doubted you. I knew this day would come. You’re a radio and TV personality at the top of your field, and you’re about to be a best-selling author.
You’re so famous, I started to question if I knew you personally. When you started promoting your book, you were everywhere, The View, Sportscenter, Dr. Oz, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Larry King Live and your own show Uncommon Sense.
You were on TV so much, I started tripping. There’s no way I could personally know someone that famous. My mind started going crazy.
Do I really know Charlamagne Tha God? Did we used to hang out in Columbia? Were we thick as thieves? Did I go to college with his wife? Did he help me get a job with Ozone Magazine? Were we published in magazines together? Were we nominated for awards in the same categories? Did I tell him Drake was next to blow and he told me, “Drake is for girls, Kappas and metrosexuals, and I can’t get into him.” Did he tell me to listen to Maino’s album, but I said, “I’ve never been to jail and I can’t relate.”
I questioned our whole relationship. I started feeling schizophrenic like Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind. Did I make everything up? I was confused.
It got to a point where I googled our names together to see if anything would pop up. I found a XXL column you wrote in 2010 about a conversation we had. You basically threw me under the bus in the article, but I was just relieved to find my name next to yours. (Sidenote: I think we had a miscommunication in that conversation, but we’ll talk about that some other time).
Back to your book signing. I had to come. There were so many times you came to my events, parties or whatever else I had going on, I had to come out to support you. There were 300 people at the Georgia Tech book signing and I sat in the back.
I just wanted to see you shine, and I needed that energy.
People love you. I’ve never seen so many black people line up for a book. It felt like I was standing in line for a new pair of Jordans or something. I stood at the back of the line and waited an hour for you to sign my copy.
The crazy part is when I got to the front, I was nervous. Don’t ask me why. But in the back of my mind I wasn’t sure if you’d even recognize me. I wasn’t sure if you’d changed. I wasn’t sure how this was about to go. Like I said, I was tripping!
To my dismay the first thing you said was, “Rope! Why didn’t you just hit my phone?”
You almost looked disappointed in me.
“Man, I lost your number,” I replied.
“I’ll give you my number right now,” you said as I pulled out my cell.
At that moment I think I got starstruck. It was surreal. It was like seeing a dream manifest right in front of my eyes. Looking at your life, knowing how over the years you’ve shared your dreams with me, it was a beautiful thing to see all of those dreams come to fruition. I look at your life and I know God is real.
You were right. And I’ll say this again. When you were 24-years-old you told me you felt like the best radio personality in the country. I believed you. Twelve years later, you’re exactly that. That’s God’s work.
“How’s the family?” you asked as I walked away from your signing table.
“Everyone is good,” I answered as I exited.
Thanks for asking, too. That’s love. My daughter is about to turn 4, my son is 18 months and my wife is great. I love being a family man. And it’s crazy how our lives parallel to an extent, because I know you do, too.
I remember when you were a “young savage.” To see you embrace being a husband and a father is amazing. You influence a lot of people, so that’s important. Keep that up.
I wish we could have chopped it up longer, but we’ll talk.
When I got to the car, I checked my phone to make sure your number was saved. At that moment I realized this whole time I already had your number. I don’t know why, but I thought you changed it. But it never changed. You still have an 803 number. That’s a South Carolina area code. You never changed.
They say when a person has success, it’s the people around them that change. It wasn’t you that changed, it was me.
Damn. I apologize for that…
I know you don’t need anyone else kissing your ass or telling you how great you are, but you said it yourself in your letter to T.I., “When something is great, we need to show respect to that greatness, especially while the person is still alive.”
So, understand you’ve always been a legend to me. You make me feel privileged to have grown up on a dirt road and be from South Carolina.
Black Privilege is befriending a kid from Moncks Corner, SC, and watching him grow into an icon.
A few years back you told me, I inspire you more than I know. That blew my mind because you’ve been inspiring and empowering me since I met you. I didn’t get it then but I get it now.
That was your way of telling me, “Remember who you are.”
I always saw me in you, but I was too blind to realize, you saw you in me. You’ve been telling me this the whole time.
I have Black Privilege. I didn’t catch what you were saying until you put it in a book.
Appreciate the support. You were right,
(Charlamagne Tha God’s Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes To Those Who Create It can be purchased via Amazon here):