Roxanne Shanté

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Roxanne Shanté
Birth name Lolita Shanté Gooden
Born (1969-11-09) November 9, 1969 (age 46)
Queens, New York City, New York, U.S.
Genres Hip Hop
Occupation(s) Emcee
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1984–present
Labels Pop Art Records
10/Virgin Records (Ireland, UK)
Breakout/A&M Records
Cold Chillin’/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records
Livin’ Large/Tommy Boy/Warner Bros. Records
Associated acts Biz Markie
Big Daddy Kane
Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo
2 Deep
Steady B
Marley Marl
Mr. Magic
Roxanne Shanté Twitter

Roxanne Shanté (born Lolita Shanté Gooden; November 9, 1969) is an American hip hop musician. Born and raised in the Queensbridge Projects of Queens, New York City, Shanté first gained attention through the Roxanne Wars and her association with the Juice Crew.

Early life and career[edit]

She was interviewed in the 1986 Dutch documentary Big Fun In The Big Town.[1]


By the age of 25, Shanté was largely retired from the recording industry. She continued to make occasional guest appearances and live performances, as well as mentor young female hip-hop artists. She did the latter by making a cameo appearance on VH1's hip hop reality show Ms. Rap Supreme and gave rap-battle strategies to the finalists of that show. She also took part in a series of Sprite commercials during the late 1990s. She returned to performing, and in 2008, her song "Roxanne's Revenge" was ranked number 42 on VH1's 100 Greatest Hip Hop Songs;[2] she re-recorded the song the following year.

Biographical claims[edit]

It was reported by Blender in 2008[3] and more extensively in a New York Daily News account in 2009,[4] that Shanté earned a bachelor's degree from Marymount Manhattan College and a master's and Ph.D in psychology from Cornell University, and that a quirk in her recording contract obligated Warner Music to fund her college education. These were not new claims by Shanté; she spoke on the subject at length on the Beef II documentary, which was released in 2004.[5]

However, an investigation by lawyer and journalist Ben Sheffner for Slate magazine found no evidence of Shanté's claims. She was never signed to a Warner Music label, but was under contract to the independent label Cold Chillin' Records, which was in turn distributed by Reprise/Warner Bros. Records from 1987 to 1992. Academic records indicate that she attended only three months at Marymount Manhattan College. Shanté never earned any degree and she is unlicensed by New York State officials to practice psychology or similar disciplines. Shanté told Sheffner that she held a diploma and attended Cornell under a pseudonym because of problems with domestic violence, but she was unable to substantiate these claims.[6]

The Daily News subsequently ran a five-paragraph correction stating Cornell "has now informed us that it has no record of Shanté ever attending the school," that "Warner Music Group now claims it never had a contract with Shanté—only a distribution agreement with her label," and that "after refusing to return numerous calls and e-mails during the preparation of this article, Marymount now states that Shanté attended the college for less than one semester."[4][7]

"Do I apologize? Yes, I do. But I am not asking for your forgiveness," Shanté said. "I am sorry about a lot of things that I should've done differently. There were quite a few things that have been exposed with that article; the fact that I never received any royalties, the fact that I did go on to attend college (even if no Ph.D. was acquired), and the fact that at 14 years old and coming straight from the group home, I went on to create a career that even after 20 years of not making a hit record, was still pulling headlines. To be called Dr. Roxanne Shante was, and is, a privilege. But with that privilege comes pressure. I also had to live and talk like someone with a doctorate -- not an easy task at all. I had to make sure that people felt healed and inspired after speaking with me. So, yes, I apologize to all those who applied themselves and put in all the hard work that is required to acquire a Ph.D. I admire you all. But don't discredit all the hard work and sacrifices so many others have also done to also reach their goals."[8]




  • "Roxanne’s Revenge" (1984)
  • "Queen of Rox (Shanté Rox On)" (1985)
  • "Runaway" (1985)
  • "Bite This" (1985)
  • "I'm Fly Shanté" (featuring Steady B) (1986)
  • "Def Fresh Crew" (1986)
  • "Pay Back" (1987)
  • "Have a Nice Day" (1987) (UK #58)
  • "Go On, Girl" (1988) (UK #55)
  • "Loosey's Rap" (with Rick James) (1988)
  • "Sharp as a Knife" (with Brandon Cooke) (1988) (UK #45)
  • "Live on Stage" (1989)
  • "Independent Woman" (1990)
  • "Go On Girl" (1990) (re-issue) (UK #74)
  • "Big Mama" (1992)
  • "Straight Razor" (1992)
  • "What's Going On" (with Mekon) (2000) (UK #43)
  • "Yes Yes, Y'all" (with Mekon) (2006)




  1. ^
  2. ^ "VH1's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs". Retrieved 2010-03-02.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  3. ^ Reilly, Dan. "Life After Rock: Roxanne Shanté",, December 8, 2008
  4. ^ a b Dawkins, Walter (September 2, 2009). "Rapper behind 'Roxanne's Revenge' gets Warner Music to pay for Ph.D". Daily News. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  5. ^ Sheffner, Ben. "Roxanne Shanté speaking about her 'Ph.D.'"
  6. ^ Sheffner, Ben (2009-09-02). "Roxanne's Nonexistent Revenge: Heard about the rapper who forced her label to pay for her Cornell Ph.D.? It never happened". Slate. 
  7. ^ Daily News, "Correction", September 4, 2009, p. 33
  8. ^ "ROXANNE SHANTE REVEALS BREAST CANCER BATTLE". The Boombox. 2009-11-02. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  9. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 494. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.