One of the new Kanye West songs you appear on is “See Me Now.” How did that collaboration come about?
I just think Kanye believes that I’m one of the guys that still has the voice…I’m still that go-to-guy. Call Uncle Charlie and he will deliver for you. You hear all the stories about him being an egomaniac, but Kanye West is more than that. He’s an incredible producer who is driven, ambitious, humble and yes, he’s also the guy that is arrogant and speaks his mind.
That’s an understatement.
Well, he’s not going to sit at a dinner table and repeat something that he heard and look like an idiot. He’s going to speak from the heart. That guy is the best right now.
Will Kanye be producing any tracks on your new album?
Hopefully, yes. We worked on a lot of songs. ‘Ye told me, “Let me put my hand on your new album.” And I was like, “Sure” [laughs]. I’m still finishing up my album, but we are on a tight deadline. I’m not afraid of anything, musically. I’m making music for the younger generation and the older generation. I’ve been cutting songs by myself and with some young producers. I have this kid named Wiley, who is out of the ATL. There’s Gregg Pagani, who produced my last hit “There Goes My Baby.” Babyface also wants to come to the table, again. And of course, Kanye wants to do some things. I’ve gotten blessings from a lot of people.
On a serious note, you have been very active in the fight against prostrate cancer, a disease that you were diagnosed with in 2008. You have since been cancer free. Talk about your work with the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the importance of African-American men being tested.
I am blessed to be cancer free right now. I teamed up with the Prostrate Cancer Foundation to have a platform to speak from. I want to really educate everyone about this disease, but especially African-American men. 1 in 6 Americans will develop prostate cancer, but 1 in 3 African-American men will develop prostrate cancer. We are two times more likely to die from this disease than any other ethnic group. Black men have to understand that they need to get to the doctor and know their family history. They need to know if their grandfather or father battled prostrate cancer. I remember the feeling that I had when this brother walked up to me when I was Atlanta and said, “Uncle Charlie, I want to thank you, man. I remember when you came out and said you had prostrate cancer and you urged all the brothers to get a check up. I took me and four of my brothers to get tested and we all had prostrate cancer.” He thanked me for saving his life. But I’m just a messenger. Still, it makes me feel good that some of these brothers are listening.