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Roxanne Wars

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The Roxanne Wars were a well-known series of hip hop rivalries during the mid-1980s, yielding perhaps the most answer records in history. The dispute arose over a failed appearance at a radio promotional show. It was an iconic moment for hip hop in that it was probably one of, if not the first ever "rap beef" between two artists.[1] There were two Roxannes in question, Roxanne Shanté and The Real Roxanne.


In 1984, the hip-hop trio U.T.F.O., produced by the R&B group Full Force, released a single titled "Hanging Out", which did not do well. However, it was the single's B side, "Roxanne, Roxanne", a song about a woman who would not respond to their advances, that gained much attention and airplay.

Soon afterwards, 14-year-old Lolita Shanté Gooden walked outside a New York City housing project called Queensbridge, when she heard Tyrone Williams, disc jockey Mr. Magic, and record producer Marley Marl talking about how U.T.F.O. had canceled an appearance on a show they were promoting.[2][3][4] Gooden offered to make a hip-hop record that would get back at U.T.F.O., with her taking on the moniker Roxanne Shanté, after her middle name. The three took her up on the idea, with Marley producing "Roxanne's Revenge". The single was released in late 1984, taking the original beats from an instrumental version of "Roxanne, Roxanne". It was confrontational and laced with profanities, but was an instant hit that sold over 250,000 copies in the New York area alone. The original issue of the "Street Version" was recorded on tape in Marley Marl's apartment, entirely free-styled by Gooden in seven minutes and in only one take. The recording was pressed onto 100 copies which were rushed out onto the streets to combat U.T.F.O.'s "Roxanne, Roxanne" release. Select Records claimed copyrights on the instrumental which led Pop Art Records to negotiate an agreement where all future copies of "Roxanne's Revenge" would feature a different track. It was subsequently re-released in early 1985 with new beats, re-rapped and the obscenities removed.[citation needed]

Following this, U.T.F.O. and Full Force decided to release their own answer record. While not directly aimed at Roxanne Shanté, this record featured Elease Jack, who took on the moniker of The Real Roxanne (and was soon replaced by Adelaida Martinez).[5] This also was a hit, but it may have also produced an undesired result: while there had been answer records before (such as the semi-disco song "Somebody Else's Guy" and "Games People Play"/"Games Females Play"), they usually ended with the second recording. But in this saga, with a third record in airplay, a whole new trend began. Roxanne Shanté responded back by releasing "Bite This" and "Queen of Rox (Shanté Rox On)". The airwaves so became occupied with the "Roxanne" records that other MCs decided to get into the act. Over the next year, anywhere from 30 to over 100 answer records (according to different claims) were produced, portraying Roxanne's family, or making various claims about her. The ones that were more well-known were the following:[citation needed]

  • "Sparky's Turn (Roxanne, You're Through)" by Sparky D[6]
  • "Roxanne's Doctor – The Real Man" by Dr. Freshh,[7]
  • "Do the Roxanne" by Dr. Rocx & Co.
  • "The Parents of Roxanne" by Gigolo Tony & Lacey Lace,[8] which answered both U.T.F.O. and Sparky D. It drew references from both "Roxanne's Revenge" and "The Real Roxanne" as if both represented the true Roxanne.
  • "I'm Lil Roxanne" by Tanganyika,[9] was a record by the then young artist named Tanganyika stating that she was the younger version of the original Roxanne.
  • "Yo, My Little Sister (Roxanne's Brothers)" by Crush Groove[10] (no connection to Krush Groove), which answered U.T.F.O., Sparky D, and Dr. Freshh.
  • "Rappin' Roxy: Roxanne's Sister" by D.W. and the Party Crew featuring Roxy,[11] which reuses several lines from "The Real Roxanne" and attacks both U.T.F.O. and Sparky D.
  • "Ice Roxanne" by Little Ice[12] Another record answering Roxanne Shanté by a young female, who citing a line in "Roxanne's Revenge" tells Roxanne to "make up her mind" if she wanted a man or not.
  • "Roxanne's a Man (The Untold Story—Final Chapter)" by Ralph Rolle,[13] which claimed that Roxanne was actually a man who had been raped in prison, and then having "lost his manhood", turned himself into a woman after his release; and insulted U.T.F.O. for not realizing this.
  • "The Final Word – No More Roxanne (Please)" by the East Coast Crew,[14] the final record that told the world to end it all. East Coast Crew contained regulars from the '80s USA Network TV show Dance Party USA.


  1. ^ "Roxanne Hip-Hop Inspired Speak Easy". Grey Coffee. July 19, 2022.
  2. ^ "Roxanne Shante Biography". OldSchoolHipHop.Com. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  3. ^ "Roxanne Shanté | New Music And Songs |". Mtv.com. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "Strictly Business: The Roxanne Wars". Strictlybusinesshiphop.blogspot.com. May 19, 2011. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  6. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved July 30, 2016.[dead YouTube link]
  7. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved July 30, 2016.[dead YouTube link]
  8. ^ "Gigolo Tony and Lacey Lace The Parents Of Roxanne". YouTube. November 5, 2010. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  9. ^ "Tanganyika - I'm Little Roxanne". YouTube. October 28, 2009. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  10. ^ "Crush Groove - Yo My Little Sister (Roxanne's Brothers)". YouTube. May 16, 2009. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  11. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  12. ^ "Little Ice (2) - Ice Roxanne (Vinyl)". Discogs.com. March 7, 1985. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  13. ^ "Ralph Rolle - Roxanne's a Man (The Untold Story) (Streetwise 1985)". YouTube. September 9, 2009. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  14. ^ "The East Coast Crew - The Final Word - No More Roxanne (Please) (Vinyl)". Discogs.com. 1985. Retrieved July 30, 2016.

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