When speaking of R&B royalty in the game, the ranks don’t get too much higher than living legend himself, Charlie Wilson. Starting alongside his brothers, Robert and Ronnie, in the soul-singing 1970s funk trio known as The Gap Band, the Tulsa native would help create some of the greatest soul records of our time, including “Burn Rubber on Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me),” “Early in the Morning,” “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” and the fan-favorite classic cookout mainstay, “Outstanding.”
His solo career in the early ’90s and 2000s proved to be no different, garnering a whopping 13 GRAMMY nominations, two NAACP Image Award wins and multiple chart-topping singles and albums alike across Urban AC/Adult R&B verticals over the past three decades and counting.
If that’s not enough, he’s now become the certified “uncle” of the Black music industry with many of today’s hitmakers in hip-hop and R&B utilizing him for chart-topping features — remember the viral remix of “Sweet Yamz” that gave Fetty Wap a slight comeback in 2022? A few other good examples include his recent work with Don Toliver, Nas, Aminé, JID and most notably Tyler, The Creator with the lead single to his GRAMMY-winning 2019 album, IGOR.
All of that said, you’d be surprised to find out that Charlie Wilson is just now getting his official star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
…better late than never, we say!
The ceremony was just as star-studded as the star plaque itself, with industry friends, contemporaries and successors alike all gathering to join Wilson for his special day on Hollywood Boulevard this past Monday (January 29).
More info from the historic-music-event-in-the-making below, via Variety:
“In many ways, it’s remarkable that Wilson, 70, is around to receive his Walk of Fame honor on Jan. 29. After singing lead in the Gap Band alongside his brothers Ronnie and Robert and reeling off a long string of R&B smashes in the ’70s and ’80s, Wilson spent several years in the early ’90s homeless and battling addiction. He was also diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008, treated successfully, and now serves as a spokesman for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
But in the ’90s, Wilson’s career entered a new chapter, first as a featured vocalist on records by a new generation of hip-hop artists, and then as a full-fledged solo star. He has received 13 Grammy nominations, a Soul Train Icon award, a BET Lifetime Achievement award and has a dozen No. 1 singles on the Urban AC charts. Over decades, Wilson — who has collaborated with the likes of Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell — became not only one of the signature voices of funk’s golden era, but one of the final links to that classic, soul-drenched sound.
Wilson even has a new single called “Superman,” out on his longtime manager Michael Paran’s P Music Group label. ‘‘Superman’ is sort of my story,’ says Wilson, ‘because I’ve been through so, so much. So many ups and downs, so many physical things, so many operations, so many crazy things. But I’m still here, and I’m still making No. 1 records.’”
Take a look below at more photos from Charlie Wilson’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremony, including appearances from the aforementioned Tyler, super soul producer Babyface, rap’s favorite uncle Snoop Dogg and even — yeah, he showed up, too! — Ye:
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