Book Reviews

Black Privilege by Charlamagne Tha God -Book Notes, Summary, and Review

Black Privilege - Charlamagne Tha God

Get it on Amazon

Rating: 7/10

Date of reading: 15th – 23rd of July, 2017

Description: How to live as a poor African-American in the South, have a long, potty mouth and still succeed in life.


My notes:




“Honest about myself. Honest about my opinions. Honest with whomever I’m talking to.” ( :8)

“I’ve been a bully (and been bullied). I’ve been a drug dealer. A so-called thug. A so-called nerd. I’ve been to jail a few times. I’ve come within inches—on more than one occasion—of fulfilling my father’s prediction for Darnell and all the other knuckleheads in our town: broke under a tree, dead in the ground, or rotting in jail.” ( :8)

“As someone who has been fired countless times, I can promise you there are no “losses” in life, only lessons. From getting let go from Taco Bell (by my own sister no less) to getting canned from Wendy Williams’s show to every single time I’ve been fired, a short time later I’ve always landed in a better position. As long as you don’t compromise who you are, no matter how many pink slips you get, there’s always going to be something better out there for you. Learn how to trust what I call “divine misdirection.”” ( :9)

“Remember shit is the best fertilizer; it’s what helps the flowers grow.” ( :10)


It’s Not the Size of the Pond but the Hustle in the Fish


“Geographical location doesn’t determine what kind of success you will have, but your psychological position always will. How are you going to make waves in a bigger pond when you haven’t even learned how to cause a ripple in the pond you’re in? When you stop complaining about where you are physically and start focusing on where you are mentally, that’s when you will start to transcend your circumstances.” ( :12)

“In other words, the place where you were born, or the circumstances you were born into, don’t have to define you. You can be born in a Moncks Corner, but have a New York City mind-set. You can grow up in a housing project in Chicago, or a trailer park in Louisiana, and still have the mentality of someone who was raised in LA.” ( :20)

“Too many people who grow up in a proverbial small pond fall into the trap of believing that they’ll never achieve success where they’re at. As a result, they end up settling. “What’s it matter that I dropped out of high school? There are no good jobs around here anyway,” they’ll rationalize. “So what, I got a baby before I got a degree?” they’ll say. “It’s not like my mother went to college either. . . .”” ( :20)

“How was I sure of it? Because all the incredible books I was reading and inspirational music I was listening to told me so!!!” ( :21)

“Pizza Hut and the idea was every time you read four books, you would get a free personal-pan pizza.” ( :21)

“People don’t realize how a man’s whole life can be changed by one book. —Malcolm X” ( :24)

“With hip-hop and books empowering me, the excuse “I’m from this small-ass town” simply wasn’t going to be a good enough reason for me not to make it. I’d learned that from Malcolm X to Method Man, from Louis Farrakhan to the Notorious B.I.G., so many of my heroes had grown up in circumstances as bad, if not worse, than mine. If you let society tell it, none of them should have achieved what they did.” ( :24)

“Or if you mainly read self-help books, check out a historical novel.” ( :25)

“ne of the best books I read recently is Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, a guide to how to get your story across on social media.” ( :25)

“He was born in Russia and as a kid moved to New Jersey, where his parents opened a liquor store. He did poorly in school (OK, maybe we do have something in common) and spent most of his time helping out around their shop or selling baseball cards. After college, he took over the family business and, through a combination of social media savvy, aggressive pricing, and all-around hustle, transformed it from a $3 million to $50 million business in just over five years. Gary doesn’t look like me, he didn’t grow up in a trailer, he wasn’t raised in the same religion as me, hell, he didn’t even start off speaking the same language as me, but his story still spoke directly to me. It motivated the shit out of me to keep hustling every day, and when I interviewed him on The Breakfast Club and my podcast The Brilliant Idiots, a lot of people said they were some of our most motivational episodes ever.” ( :25)

“If one person that looks like you made it, then you can too. —Gary Vaynerchuk on The Brilliant Idiots” ( :26)

“While it’s important to rise above your roots and transcend your circumstances, it is also key that no matter where life takes you, you must never get detached from those roots. You can go from swimming in the smallest pond to controlling the oceans like Poseidon, but if you lose touch with your core, you’re gonna find yourself adrift. Make no mistake about it, Moncks Corner is my core. And as any real trainer will tell you, when your core isn’t strong, everything else is going to fall apart.” ( :27)

“When the roots are deep there is no reason to fear the wind. —African Proverb” ( :28)

“rch and remember how you felt as a young man or woman. If your relatives aren’t around anymore, close your eyes and talk to your grandma, or your grandfather, or the auntie who raised you. Celebrate that the street you might live on now is nicer, but also embrace that dirt road you grew up on. Appreciate that all your power emanates from that dirt and that you wouldn’t have it any other way. You’ll probably shed a few tears, but they’ll be empowering. Not painful.” ( :29)


(Pick Your Passion, Poison, or Procrastination)


“”Destiny is not a matter of chance, it’s a matter of choice.” That’s a quote from the nineteenthcentury American orator William Jennings Bryan.” ( :30)

“That’s why if you take one thing away from these stories, don’t let it be, “Man, Charlamagne was bad when he was a kid.” Instead, let it be, “As bad as he was, Charlamagne still managed to turn it around.”” ( :31)

“Then remember that all these other young thugs out here, no matter how lost they might seem, can make similar changes in their lives. As long as they accept responsibility for their decisions. Just like I did.” ( :31)

“I can honestly say in elementary school I was everything I want my own kids to be today: a funny, hardworking, respected nerd who loved learning. Appreciated by the teachers and popular with the other kids.” ( :31)

“One of their favorite games was knocking off my glasses. It was as if my glasses represented everything—good grades, white friends, and a bright future—that they hated. I once read that during the cultural revolution in China, wearing glasses often got people killed because they were a symbol of elitism. My cousins didn’t know nothing about China, but they instinctively had a similar reaction to me wearing glasses.” ( :34)

“Staring at the broken glasses on the sidewalk while my cousins laughed at me, I realized I was tired. Tired of being bullied. Tired of not having friends. Tired of always looking over my shoulder. “Fuck this smart shit,” I told myself. “I gotta be down with them guys if I’m going to survive.” This time, I wasn’t getting my glasses fixed. My days as Mr. Magoo were over. I was casting my lot with my thug-ass cousins. Which is when the real bullshit began.” ( :34)

“Fun Fact: Berkeley Middle School is where TV host Stephen Colbert’s brother Jay Colbert used to teach seventh-grade social studies. I remember thinking Mr. Colbert was cool because one day he and some other teachers came to school with their clothes on backward and performed “Jump” by Kris Kross.” ( :35)

“In the movies, after the son spends ten days digging ditches, he realizes the errors of his ways and gets his act together once and for all. It would have been nice if that’s what happened, but my life wasn’t following a movie script. I sincerely wanted to do better, but it still wouldn’t be long until I screwed up again.” ( :39)

“Darnell actually gave me props. “I always respected that when I ran up on you, you didn’t lie about what you said,” he told me. “I liked that you owned it.”” ( :43)

“Calvin had Berkeley County BOOMING until 2007, when the feds finally caught him unloading three thousand pounds of coke. That’s a street value of over 100 million dollars—newspapers called it the largest bust in South Carolina history. So when I say there was a lot of coke in the streets, I’m not exaggerating.” ( :45)

“After a couple of weeks of fifty-dollar slabs, I graduated to a “quarter spoon.” It was basically seven grams of crack that, when split up correctly, would earn you about a hundred dollars off every gram of crack you produced. So if you spent $250 on your initial pack, with a little bit of cooking, you could end up earning around $600 to $700 for your trouble. Not bad for a high school kid.” ( :46)

“Once, during a stint in night school, I was reading a book that mentioned the famous French king Charles the Great, or Charlemagne, as he was known in French. I learned he was a renowned warrior but also was famous for spreading education and religion. That sounded very cool to me. Since I was already going by “Charles,” I figured why not spice it up and start calling myself Charlemagne?” ( :46)

“”Lenard McKelvey,” I mumbled. “Oh,” he replied. “We got a warrant for you.”” ( :48)

“”Man, if you don’t shut your dumb ass up! God wasn’t looking out for you, he was looking out for the cop!”” ( :49)

“Everything good that happens to you is because of God; everything bad that happens to you is on you because you made the choice not to recognize the power of God in you. It was your choice. That’s why I hate when people say they “found God.” Man, God was never lost. You were. There was never a missing person’s report out for our creator.” ( :49)

“”You’re paying for your own lawyer this time!” my father scolded me. “What?” I shot back. “I only got caught because they had a search warrant for you!” “Yeah,” he replied. “But you shouldn’t have had anything in the house anyway. This is on you!” That’s what our relationship had deteriorated to: a father and his teenage son arguing over whose fault it was that they’d both been arrested on the same day.” ( :51)

“Every lecture, every threat, and every pep talk was based around the simple principle that life wasn’t just happening to me. I wasn’t being pulled along by some invisible force that I had no control over. No one forced me to sip a forty at recess. No one told me to punch that kid in the cafeteria, or to smack the other kid with a lock. No one made me walk up on that Jeep. Just as no one forced me to sell weed to Chad, or start hanging with the dope boys at Jerrell’s. Each and every one of those situations resulted from a choice that I made. He beat that concept into my head (figuratively and literally) until I finally came to understand it as fact.” ( :51)

“”Pinkett-Smith-Winfrey-Knowles-Carter”” ( :52)


Fuck Your Dreams


“Deuteronomy 14:8, which states, “And the pig, because it parts the hoof but does not chew the cud, is unclean for you. Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch.” When I asked how come then we still ate pig, he replied, “Well, that’s from the Old Testament. We think if you pray over the food, it’s fine to eat.” Being the smart-ass that I am, I said, “Well, the Bible also says you shouldn’t have sex before marriage. So if I pray over the pussy, then I can fuck it, right?” Sounded like a perfectly logical question to me, but I do remember him squeezing my hands extra tight when he prayed with me later on that night.” ( :60)

“like Denmark Vesey.” ( :63)

“Once I was in the room, I never tried to muscle my way onto the mic, but I made my presence felt. I’d crack little jokes to keep Willie loose, cut out newspaper articles for him to talk about, pass him notes on funny things he could say about artists, and generally keep the energy upbeat. After a few months of playing the background, people began to notice I was having a positive impact on Willie’s show. Ron White, who was the music director at the time, approached me at one of the station’s outdoor events. “I hear you popping up now and then on Willie’s show,” he told me. “Would you be interested in having a spot on air yourself?” he asked me. “Hell yeah,” I quickly replied.” ( :64)

“African-American DJs like Petey Greene in DC and Frankie Crocker in New York City.” ( :65)

“”Listen, Charlamagne, I know your dream is to be a famous rapper, but fuck that dream. You’re just not that good. “You are, however, great at being a radio jock,” he continued. “Focus on that instead. And if you still want to be involved in hip-hop, learn the behind-the-scenes skills of running a label. Because it’s never going to happen for you as a rapper. You need to dead that dream.”” ( :65)

“Thankfully Dr. Evans woke me up, but not enough young people have a presence like that in their lives. Instead, they spend years and years chasing their “dream” of being a rapper, even though the world keeps telling them it’s not for them. It really breaks my heart to think of all the people who could have been great engineers, architects, doctors, and lawyers but never even considered those dreams, let alone chased them. All because the entertainment game looks so glamorous.” ( :66)

“”So if anyone gets up on this stage tonight and is anything less than the next Jay Z or Nicki Minaj, please boo the shit out of them. Please hurt their feelings. Please make them feel so bad that they’ll never think of wasting their time on rapping again and will head right back to the library where they belong. Maybe then they can find the cure for AIDS, or figure out a new way to grow crops like they’re supposed to, instead of wasting their talents on this played-out dream.”” ( :67)

“”You’re an amazing artist,” I reminded him. “That’s why I don’t like seeing you conform to such a gimmick!” “It might not be for you,” Musiq shot back. “I don’t think it is, dog,” I replied. “I don’t think it’s for you either. . . . I don’t want you to feel like you’re not appreciated as Musiq Soulchild. Because you are appreciated!”” ( :68)

“Sometimes you have the right dream but the wrong approach. If that’s the case, then you still need a de-motivational speech. I had to give one to T-Pain when he came on a show I was hosting in Columbia, South Carolina. T-Pain was promoting his debut single “I’m Sprung,” which featured him using the auto-tune program he’d end up making infamous.” ( :68)

“”That’s the dumbest shit I ever heard in my life.” I almost always show respect for my elders, but that comment had me hot. “Don’t dream too big,”” ( :69)

“This is why it’s critical that you be able to tell the difference between someone telling you “Fuck your dreams” in order to get you on the right path or simply telling you “Fuck your dreams” because they’ve already given up on their own. I trusted Dr. Evans because I knew he had taken the time to observe me, to see what I was capable of. Plus, he was an accomplished individual in his own right. He was someone who strove to get the most out of life. Someone who chose pursuing passion over procrastination. Those are the types of people you want to listen to.” ( :69)


There Are No Losses, Only Lessons


“I did learn one thing that day: no amount of classroom instruction can ever match the experience you’ll get from actually performing a job.” ( :72)

“he station learned that when you have a hot radio personality, let that person cook instead of trying to dampen their flame. You see, after I was fired, over the next year, the station’s numbers fell off so hard that the parent company eventually had to switch formats. When it was all said and done, nobody had a job.” ( :77)

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. —Winston Churchill” ( :77)

“I was “just a local radio personality in Columbia,” I fired back that “My mouth is going to take me farther than your butt.”” ( :80)

“night Kev took me out to dinner and made me an unexpected offer. “Wendy is looking for a cohost, but she doesn’t want a comedian,” he told me. “She wants someone funny, but they should be edgy, too, and preferably from the radio world. We think that person could be you.” Then he added a caveat. “We can’t pay you. But we can offer you a place to stay in Jersey for free while we figure things out to see if it works.”” ( :84)

“It might have looked like I was taking losses, but I refused to adopt a loser’s mentality. A true winner values their integrity no matter what the fallout. If I had compromised my integrity and said sorry, maybe Chris Connors would have put me back on the air five days a week. Then maybe down the road he would have decided I was a good “company man” and given me a full-time position. I would have won security, but I would have lost so much more.” ( :84)

“got renewed in 2007, I was given a full-time salary of $70K a year. For someone whose sole income had been hosting parties in Columbia for $400 or $500 a pop, it felt like a windfall.” ( :85)

“So I decided to keep my black ass home and watch our daughter while Mook Mook went to work every day for a blood lab in Manhattan. Now, for a lot of men, that situation would be the very definition of a loss. Going from a high-profile job to running a daddy day care while his woman goes out and brings home the turkey bacon. Not me. I consider those days to be one of the highlights of my life. The reason is simple: it helped me build a lasting bond with my daughter.” ( :86)

“This period in my life is a prime example of the principle that returning to your core doesn’t always have to entail taking a physical trip. Very few things will center you and recharge your spirit like caring for your child.” ( :87)

“I was supremely confident, even in the face of unemployment, dirty diapers, and eviction notices that I was going to be able to write my own ticket again. I just didn’t know where it would take me.” ( :87)

“Why would you want to make an enemy out of Jay?” he asked. “I’m not trying to make any enemy out of anyone,” I explained. “I’m just trying to put good content on the air.” Obviously there was no right answer for me to give, so he got to the point: “Sorry, but we’re moving in another direction. We’re going to have to let you go.” For those keeping score at home, that’s Radio Industry: 4, Charlamagne: 0.” ( :89)

“Instead, I told Boogie, “Thank you for the opportunity,” and walked with him to my office, where he had to make sure I didn’t grab anything valuable on my way out. He had nothing to worry about. I just picked up my Wayne Dyer “Power of Intention”” ( :89)

“I just got fired from 100.3 The Beat in Philly, I tweeted. Salute to Philly. I hope you all enjoyed” ( :89)

“me the past 6 months.” ( :90)

“were worried about getting on Jay’s bad side. No matter what really happened, I’m more than happy to have “the greatest rapper alive got me fired” on my résumé. Having people think, rightly or wrongly, that your interview made Jay Z pick up the phone is not a loss.” ( :90)

“I have politically incorrect views and potentially” ( :90)

“dangerous rhetoric. So when you’re someone like me, there’s always a chance you can get fired.” ( :91)

“Then one morning I woke up next to my girl and had a moment of clarity: I knew that I couldn’t make any smart decisions where I was at; I need to make those decisions back where I was from. It was almost the inverse of those old Rakim lyrics. I needed to reconnect with my core before I could make the right decision about my future. And my core was Moncks Corner.” ( :91)

“”Look at you, you used to be with Wendy and had a radio show in Philly,” she gloated. “Now you back living at home with Mama.” It was intended to be a low blow, but what she failed to mention is that while I was moving back in with our mother, my sister at that time had never even left. “This is temporary for me,” I reminded her. “But it’s permanent for you.” I know that’s a harsh thing to say to your sister, but I like to think those words had a positive impact on her as well. Because after that she did move out of my mama’s house and is currently living in Atlanta—with our sister. She’s trying to better herself.” ( :92)

“were still interested in me. Every few weeks I got offered a new gig, but the market or the situation never felt quite right. I could tell the program directors were shocked when I’d tell them “No, thanks.” After all, I was living back in South Carolina and collecting unemployment. Who was I to be choosy? But I was supremely confident that God was about to give me something greater than what those stations could offer.” ( :92)

“God Jewel: When someone offers to help you, tell them exactly what you want. Don’t beat around the bush. If you’re not crystal clear about what your ask is, chances are you won’t get anything.” ( :93)

“everyone agreed that was a great look. The final deal was that 50 percent of the money would be split between my company, Stupid Dope Moves Inc., and Lil’ Ru’s company, Presidential, with the other 50 percent going to Shotty/Asylum. Swizz didn’t even ask for a cut, even though he’d made the music and set up the meeting. He was just happy to give a new artist a shot.” ( :94)

“The next week I was listening to Hot 97 and Envy played “Nasty Song.” My dog! I texted Ru. Envy’s got “Nasty” on Hot 97 right now!!!” ( :94)

“Fuck You!!! You got me fucked up, Ru texted me right back. It’s on site when I see you. U got people thinking we in business together, ruining my life. Now I can’t even do the deal with Def Jam because of you. When I saw that text, I was devastated. I literally had to sit down and collect myself. “Damn, all I did was help,” I thought. “I gave this kid the shot of a lifetime and now it’s ‘fuck you!’?”” ( :95)

“The greatest was that you can never—even if the situation blows up in your face—hurt yourself by helping others.” ( :95)

“The same with Envy. You know how many people ask him to play their record every day? Today we’re partners on the biggest hip-hop radio show in the country, The Breakfast Club, but Envy didn’t know me from Adam back then. He didn’t have to help me. But Envy is a giver. So when you go on Instagram and see his big mansion, fleet of fancy cars, and, most important, his beautiful family, know that’s how he got to where he is today. Just like Swizz. They got all that through giving.” ( :95)


Put the Weed in the Bag!


“I’ve never forgotten that. If you want to see a person’s true character, watch how they treat people who seemingly can’t help them. I’ve seen so many folks lose my number or stop returning my e-mails after I get fired. In the words of 50 Cent, “These industry niggas ain’t friends, they know how to pretend.”” ( :97)

“later my contract came through and I found myself part of the station’s all-new morning show The Breakfast Club.” ( :98)

“Spending a year in Moncks Corner waiting for the right opportunity had been hard, but in the end it had proven to be the right choice.” ( :98)

“Too often we’re given bad advice on what it takes to get from where we are to where we want to be. We’re taught that the only accurate sign that we’re moving toward success is making money. We get caught up sweating the results instead of embracing the process. Even though embracing the process is the only way you’re ever going to get what you want out of life.” ( :99)

“Yet I ended up spending a year and a half working for Wendy for free. I didn’t earn a dime from the show during that period. But I don’t feel like I wasted a single second.” ( :100)

“This is what many kids today fail to understand: you’re supposed to be busting your ass for “nothing” when you’re in your twenties. And sometimes even your thirties. That doesn’t mean you’re being exploited. It means you’re building up the skills, connections, and reputation to eventually build a platform of your own.” ( :101)

“As Mack’s internship was winding down, Cadillac decided to take a job in Boston and started filling out his new staff. I wanted to help Mack out so I sent Caddy an e-mail saying, “You should give Mack a job up there, man. Nothing’s going to be opening up for him at Power any time soon and the kid deserves a shot. He put in the work.” Caddy had seen it with his own eyes, so he hired Mack as his associate morning show producer in Boston. Mack hadn’t even finished college yet, but he still found himself in a major market making good money. Again, all thanks to the initiative and hustle he demonstrated as an intern.” ( :102)

“didn’t know when to fall back. I kept bugging and bugging her until finally she turned to me and in an icy voice said, “Please get the fuck out of here with all that mixtape shit. I couldn’t care less. Take that nonsense to my husband.” As soon as she said it, I knew I’d been doing too much too soon.” ( :103)

“I was recently talking about this with Joseph Kahn, the director of the movie Bodied, which I appear in. The film is set in the world of battle rappers, and there was one real-life rapper in particular whom Joseph really wanted in the film. He told me he offered the guy $70K to appear, but this rapper’s mentality was “If they got seventy thousand, then they got one hundred grand. That’s what I want.” Joseph explained that $70K was all he had in his budget, but the rapper wouldn’t move until he got that extra thirty. Eventually the movie studio got tired of trying to convince him and went with another rapper, who was willing to do it for fifty. It’s too bad, because the first guy lost an opportunity to show a movie audience just how great a battle rapper he is. If he had done it for $70K and killed it—like he undoubtedly would have—he’d probably get $100K for his next movie. Maybe more. But because this guy was so adamant about getting that extra $30K he was sure they were holding out on him—and they probably were—he ended up blocking his own blessings.” ( :104)

“I’ve said it before, but I’ve got to say it one more time for the people in the back: there is no book, no cheat sheet or secret formula that’s going to allow you to skip over any rung on the success ladder without putting in the work first.” ( :107)

“Tiffany Williams from MTV eventually saw it and was impressed enough to invite us into the building for a meeting. Once we were inside, the rest was history. But we created that initial traction ourselves. No one put us on, or gave us a break.” ( :108)

“was Pitbull. I first met Pitbull in Miami around 2000,” ( :110)

“I can still remember hanging out there one night and telling Abebe that I did radio back in South Carolina. “Oh man, then you should check out this guy who’s on air part-time on Friday and Saturday nights. He’s dope,” Abebe told me. “He’s going to blow up one of these days.” “What’s his name?” I replied. “DJ Khaled,” said Abebe. So if you only know Khaled because of his Snapchat or his songs with Drake, understand he’s another example of a guy who’s been out here putting the weed in the bag for years and years.” ( :110)

“”Because I think you’re a corny rapper.”” ( :110)

“When Pit heard that, he got very serious. “Man, you know where you at? You in Miami, baby, this the 305. . . . One day you’ll regret talking like that.” “Whatchu mean?” countered Bless, thinking that Pit was threatening him. “Don’t you know I’m DJ Bless?” It might have sounded like Pit was trying to punk Bless, but Pit later told me that wasn’t the case. He explained what he was trying to say was, “One day I’m going to help put Miami back in the spotlight and you’re going to regret passing up on the opportunity to have been part of it.” And you know what? He was right. He is a superstar today, and I’m sure Bless wishes he’d given him that beat.” ( :111)

“”This dude’s at the bottom right now, but he’s gonna be something someday.” He just had that combination of charisma and work ethic that made him stand out despite his surroundings.” ( :111)

“d T.I. put in the work is why I get frustrated when people speculate on the shortcuts artists allegedly take to become famous. If you let Twitter tell it, every successful artist is the beneficiary of a conspiracy theory. “Oh, you gotta sell your soul and perform gay acts to get on now,” someone will say. Or you’ll see tweets like, “You can’t get a deal nowadays unless you in the Illuminati.” It would be comical, except a lot of people take it as fact.” ( :111)

“On my own. I didn’t partake in any secret Illuminati initiation ceremony where I had to sacrifice a hamster in front of Jay Z, Beyoncé, Kanye, and Rihanna. Nor was I sworn into a secret cabal of gay music executives. If you believe in that sort of shit, ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know what else to tell you. But just know that while you’re making excuses about your favorite artists’ success, someone else is out there putting the weed in the bag and creating opportunities for themselves.” ( :111)

“way,” I told her. “You should have one goal: get in the building. Or in your case, stay in the building.” ( :112)

“Saige understood the value in what I was saying and took the job. It only paid her ten or eleven bucks an hour, but once she was in the building, she made a point of stopping by and visiting her old friends at The Breakfast Club every day. A few months later Envy decided he needed an assistant, saw Saige, and gave her the job.” ( :112)

“I work 40 hours a week; how am I supposed to have time for an unpaid internship on top of that? I know a lot of young people feel that way, so I had to break it down for her mathematically.” ( :112)

“Don Miguel Ruiz’s books on Toltec wisdom,” ( :113)

“So let’s say you sleep at least six hours a night, or forty-two hours a week. That still leaves you another forty-plus hours that could be spent pursuing your passion. I can hear some of you now, “Well, what about my social life? What about time with my friends?” Fuck your social life, fuck your friends, and while I’m at it, fuck your feelings, too. If that’s what’s important to you, then spend time with your friends. But don’t expect to be successful, because if you’re truly passionate about your career, then that’s where you need to dedicate those extra hours.” ( :113)

“”Man, I fuck with you because you’re focused. No matter what we doing out here you still take your ass to school. That’s some real shit.” See, like I said: real friends, even those who sell crack, will understand.” ( :113)

“It wasn’t easy dragging soil around or stacking boxes all day and then heading to the radio till the middle of the night. But I was more than happy to do it. If I could make legal money and pursue my radio dreams at the same time, then I was going to pack as much into those 168 hours as possible.” ( :114)

“Notice that I didn’t allocate any time in my schedule for socializing, or just hanging out. I’d say out of my week, 95 percent of my waking hours are spent either working on my career or with my wife and kids. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The question is, are you willing to put in those” ( :114)

“kinds of fifteen-hour days if it means getting closer to your dreams? Are you willing to get up at 3:45 a.m. and go to bed at 11:00 p.m. five days a week?” ( :115)

“Just like I find it insulting when people say I must have joined the Illuminati, or be gay, to achieve my success. Trust me, if all you had to do to be Will Smith was give an old movie exec a” ( :117)

“blow job, there would be a lot of Will Smiths running around out here (unless of course Will’s head is just that fire). But there aren’t. Because success like the kind Will has enjoyed only comes through putting in thousands and thousands of hours’ worth of work and sacrifice.” ( :118)


Live Your Truth


“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t going away. —Elvis Presley (Though, to quote the great Chuck D, “Motherfuck him and John Wayne.”)” ( :119)

“When you are completely honest about yourself, there is very little people can say about you that’s going to have a negative impact. It’s hard for a person to slander you about something you’ve already revealed to the world. As I like to say, “No judgment or opinion formed against you shall prosper when you live your truth.”” ( :120)

“I was molested by my cousin’s ex-wife when I was around eight years old. I should call her out by name, but I won’t. So let’s call her Linda. She was probably in her late twenties or early thirties at the time and was supposed to be watching me after school when my grandmother wasn’t around. All Linda needed to do was feed me snacks and make sure I didn’t get into any trouble,” ( :120)

“but for whatever twisted reasons, she added making me suck her titties and giving me head to our activity list.” ( :121)

“I can’t say I was traumatized by the sex, because the truth is I liked it. When she told me, “If you tell a soul about this, I’ll never let you do it again,” I damn sure kept my mouth shut. But clearly this wasn’t a healthy situation.” ( :121)

“crueler toward each other. Nothing—and I mean nothing—was off-limits. If your mother was having an affair, that was fair game. Father strung out on crack? Fair game. Your uncle is living out of a van ’cause he lost his job? Fair game. Your sister’s baby has Down syndrome? We had jokes for that, too.” ( :122)

“but he never did. “It’s a constant reminder for me of how I grew up . . . when I was young and dumb.”” ( :123)

“What’s my ‘however’?” If you don’t feel like it’s your personality, it’s gotta be something else.” ( :123)

“If you would not be laughed at, be the first to laugh at yourself.” ( :124)

“The dude isn’t trying to be anyone but himself. He’s blind in one eye, so when it was time to name his production company he called it Right Side Blind. I love that. Laugh loudly, laugh often, and most important, laugh at yourself. —Chelsea Handler” ( :126)

“Andrew is the exact opposite. We can be in a room full of people and he’ll calmly (and loudly) announce, “Okay, I’m gonna go take a shit. I’ll be back in a few.” Then he’ll look around for a newspaper or book and proudly waltz to the bathroom.” ( :127)

“We’ve all got that one thing, or even a few things, that the world might perceive to be flaws. It’s inevitable. The key, as DJ Khaled would say, is not wasting your energy trying to cover them up. If you’re uptight about something, the best thing you can do is be completely candid about what’s bothering you.” ( :127)

“Try it. Pick something that you’ve always been self-conscious or guarded about and start sharing it with the world. If it’s physical, show it. If it’s emotional, share it. I’m confident you’ll see that, far from making jokes at your expense, people will be sympathetic, even supportive. And most important, you’re taking all the power out of it. At the end of the day, everyone respects honesty. When you free yourself of all the insecurity and anxiety that’s been weighing you down, you’ll be shocked at how high you can soar.” ( :127)

“As a tax-paying, law-abiding citizen with a child, I handled that situation exactly the right way. How you should do, too, if you find yourself in a similar situation. I have zero shame saying that. Why would I stand my ground and try to fight four complete strangers? I didn’t know what those guys had planned for me if they’d caught me, and I wasn’t about to find out.” ( :129)

“”Every time you get on this microphone, you have a fundamental choice,” she once told me. “You’re either going to be ‘of the industry,’ or you’re going to be ‘of the people.’ ” She went on to explain that if you are representing the people, then you will give your honest opinions on situations, instead of the politically correct stance. When you’re of the people, you will ask the questions that the fans want to hear, instead of the talking points the publicists would prefer you stick to.” ( :131)

“I couldn’t just tell the truth about how I felt about the industry. I had to start telling the truth more about myself too. So I told the listeners about how I was having a hard time making the transition to New York. How lonely it was to be up here without friends or a place of my own. How I felt like a fish out of water, struggling to figure out how to catch a bus or ride the subway. How discouraging it was to go on Wendy’s site and read that most of them wanted to send me packing.” ( :133)

“I believe one of the reasons Kanye has been so emotional about his career is because he feels like he doesn’t have anyone keeping it real with him. When I hear Kanye rant, I hear someone searching for truth. Someone hoping at least one person will give him an honest opinion.” ( :136)

“When all you’ve been getting is preapproved validation, hearing the hard truth can mess your head up. I’m sure that’s how Kanye felt. All the more reason he needed to hear it. If the people closest to you won’t be real with you, how else can you improve? How else can you push yourself? How else will you know when you’re playing yourself?” ( :137)

“Yes, I was a scumbag. But I was an honest scumbag. That doesn’t absolve me, but I do think it’s better that somebody be with me knowing exactly what I am than be with me for what they think I am.” ( :139)

“”Well, were you at least taking it?” I asked. I did not want to imagine her screaming and making faces while she’s getting dicked down by this freak of nature. “I hope you weren’t flinchin’ or nothing.” “Hell no,” she replied. “Not at all. I handled it.” “Good,” I reassured myself. At least she took that dick like a champ and he didn’t make her scream.” ( :140)


Give People the Credit They Deserve for Being Stupid


“You are getting better or you are getting worse. You never stay the same. Banner at the San Francisco 49ers practice facility” ( :144)

“I just heard about how Bob Pittman, the CEO of iHeartRadio and one of the most important people in media, went to Burning Man festival out in the Nevada desert. That means it’s likely he didn’t shower for a week and was so covered in dust he looked like an extra from Mad Max. He’s also sixty years old and a multimillionaire. Maybe even a billionaire?” ( :144)

“too loyal to their Day Ones. Look, if you see those Day Ones when you’re around the way, by all means give them a pound. Ask them about their folks, or how their sister is doing. Grab a drink with them and spend an hour laughing about all the BS y’all used to do. Then keep it moving. Unless they’ve demonstrated that they’re evolving, do not rely on them for inspiration. Do not use them as a sounding board when you’re trying to make an important” ( :146)

“decision. If they’re still stuck in the same place where they were ten or fifteen years ago, they’ll never point you in the right direction.” ( :147)

“Not long ago I found myself having the privilege of sitting in a room with Jay Z when Beyoncé happened to come in. I noticed she made a point of walking up to everyone and saying hello. Even me. Can you imagine Beyoncé walking up to you and saying, “Hi, I’m Beyoncé.” In that moment, I understood why she’s been so successful. Forget about her singing and dancing ability or her great beauty: I saw that she had tremendous manners and understood the importance of showing respect toward everyone she met. That moment cemented my commitment to introduce myself properly and showing” ( :155)

“My grandmother might have “only” been a lunch lady in Moncks Corner, but she really did understand a fundamental rule of getting ahead. When you meet someone, not only do you not know who they are, just as important, you don’t know who they’re going to be. That guy sitting in the corner not saying much might not be a big name today, but he could wind up being a very big deal five years from now.” ( :156)

“But let’s say you had taken the time to show them respect and introduce yourself. “Great to meet you, Kanye. Where are you from? What do you do around here?” Who knows where those conversations could have led. Maybe to a friendship. So when they were popping, when they were the hottest producer in town, they would have given you a beat, or produced a song for you when everyone else was begging to work with them. Simply because you took the time to show them that respect way back when.” ( :156)

“When you make the mistake of thinking you know it all, you’re going to shut yourself off from so much wisdom. I see talented people fall into this trap all the time. They experience a little success and then think their talent is enough to carry them the rest of the way to the top. If they meet someone who doesn’t seem as gifted, or skilled, as they are, they’ll dismiss that person’s advice out of hand. But here’s a little secret: there are a lot of people out there whose main talent is their ability to coach.” ( :157)

“But here’s a little secret: there are a lot of people out there whose main talent is their ability to coach. Phil Jackson wasn’t a star as an NBA player, but he’s probably the greatest coach in the history of the game.” ( :157)

“. Providing instruction, vision, and guidance is his gift. Imagine if Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen had ignored Phil just because he wasn’t an All-Star when he played in the league. They would have missed out on so much wisdom and might have never won all those rings.” ( :157)

“Cadillac blessed me with so many gems during our time together, but probably the greatest was teaching me the “Law of Ten.” It states that when a media personality puts an opinion or an idea out into the world, three people will like it unconditionally, three people will hate it unconditionally, and four people will be on the fence about it.” ( :158)

“”They’re not interested in your ideas. They just get off on attacking you.” Instead of exhausting precious energy on the three people who already hate me, Cadillac coached me to focus on the four people who are undecided. “Those are the people who are worth your effort. The other ones are already a lost cause.”” ( :158)

“We don’t talk that often anymore, but she knows that if she ever needed anything from me, I would be there to hold her down. That’s how I am with my real friends.” ( :159)

“That was the case the first time I went down on my friend. I though I was putting in real work, but she stopped me in mid-slurp and told me straight up, “Charlamagne! You do not know how to eat pussy!” A lot of men would have gotten upset in that moment. Not me. Like I said, I’ve always prided myself on being extremely open to constructive criticism. Even when I’m standing on the verge of getting it on.” ( :159)

“The Ultimate Kiss. The first half was dedicated to teaching men how to eat box correctly, while the second half instructed women how to return the favor. I studied that book like a student” ( :159)

“cramming for a test until I was sure I had the technique down.” ( :160)

“Another important moment came when I was hanging out with the legendary record executive Kevin Liles at a five-star resort in the Bahamas. We got on the subject of marriage and I told him about how I wasn’t sure I’d ever tie the knot. “I can’t tell you whether to get married or not,” he said. “But I can absolutely tell you that you need a good woman to share your experiences with. You can find plenty of women to take to a place like this, but over time you’re going to start feeling like a piece of crap. Jump-offs are cool, but wouldn’t you rather be sharing this beauty, this experience, with someone you really care about? You need to look for that person.” I knew he had just dropped a jewel on me. I also knew I didn’t have to look anywhere for that woman. She was already right under my boonky nose. I made a vow to myself right there, “I’m not going to live like this no more. . . .”” ( :162)

“”Then I would get down on my knee,” as I got down on my knee. Then I pulled the ring out and she knew what was happening. Instant tears. I asked her to marry me. And she said yes.” ( :162)

“And being my true soul mate, the next words out of her mouth were: “You have no idea how good I’m going to suck your dick tonight.”” ( :163)

“The other day a guy who goes by @marcmarc330 tweeted me, Your journey has been crazy to watch. You’ve evolved but you haven’t changed. That’s dope. #Salute. I hit him back and wrote, Best tweet I’ve got all week, but it’s really one of the best tweets that I’ve gotten, period.” ( :163)


Access Your Black Privilege


“author Christian D. Larson, who wrote, “Believe in yourself and all that you are and know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.”” ( :166)

“The most overwhelming evidence that you’re special is that you’re here at all. Fellas, next time you’re about to bust a nut, shoot it on your lady’s stomach and then really look at that puddle of semen. Consider all those squiggling sperm on her belly. Each one of them had one mission and one mission only: find its way into an egg and create a life! At that fateful moment your daddy decided to shoot up your mama’s club (that’s my expression for ejaculating inside a woman), out of the millions of sperm he let loose, YOU were the only one who accomplished its mission! A single winning sperm out of the 250 million that are in each nut.” ( :167)

“Despite all of that, however, in the words of Maya Angelou: You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still like air I’ll rise.” ( :167)

“difficulty.” When you blame yourself instead of the white man, then you’re actually being optimistic.” ( :168)

“I know some of you probably think I’m downplaying, or underestimating, the power of White Privilege. That’s never been my intention. Remember, I was raised a poor black male in South Carolina. I lived in a trailer. I sold drugs. I was kicked out of two high schools and did time in jail twice before I was eighteen. I had a big nose and a funny name (okay, a few). My face had several shades. I know what it means to be counted out. To be overlooked. To be profiled. I’ve experienced all those things. And continue to experience them to this day.” ( :169)

“I don’t care what your economic condition is; I don’t care where you were born. If you tap into the power of God in you, then you can make it out of any situation. Faith plus hard work can change any circumstance. Do you understand what I just said? Faith plus hard work can change any circumstance. Belief in God is essential, but you still have to put the work in, too. If I tell you that one day you’re going to hit the lottery, you can’t just sit around and wait for those numbers to come up. You have to actually get up, go out there, and play the lottery.” ( :169)

“The Lion King when I talk about Black Privilege. They think I’m crazy. That I’m a coon. A sellout. That what I’m saying can’t be done. To that I reply, “Man, shut the fuck up forever with that pessimistic bullshit!”” ( :170)

“When Simba protests that he doesn’t know how to go back and find himself, Mufasa tells him, “Remember who you are. You are my son and the one true king. Remember who you are. Remember, Remember, Remember . . .” Now when you saw that scene with your kids in the theaters, you loved it, right? Maybe you even cried a little bit because it touched your soul. That’s the kind of belief you need

Check out more book notes at How I Read 90 Books In The Past 2 Years By Reading 20 Pages A Day


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