Roxanne Wars

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The Roxanne Wars is a well-known series of hip hop rivalries during the mid-1980s, yielding perhaps the most answer records in history. It arose from a dispute over a failed appearance at a radio promotional show. 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 was walking 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 their appearance at a show they were promoting.[1][2][3] 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 very confrontational and laced with profanities, but was an instant hit that sold over 250,000 copies in the New York area alone. Legal action followed, and it was re-released in early 1985 with new beats and the obscenities removed.

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).[4] 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. The airwaves were so occupied with the three "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:

  • "Sparky's Turn (Roxanne, You're Through)"[5] by Sparky D, a feisty female who criticizes Roxanne (Shanté, in particular) for being disrespectful toward UTFO, and for being too young, both for them to pursue, and to be an MC. Even though the record defended UTFO, they were reportedly not appreciative of this additional unauthorized response. It was after this that the saga really took off.
  • "Roxanne's Doctor-The Real Man" by Dr. Freshh,[6] who also insulted Roxanne for having no class.
  • "Do the Roxanne" by Dr. Rocx & Co.,[7] which created a dance based on Roxanne. (Referred to Shanté's "cracky wacky voice", as Sparky D had described it in her record). A rare instance of a record in the series not aimed at dissing someone.
  • "The Parents of Roxanne" by Gigolo Tony & Lacey Lace,[8] which answered both UTFO 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 relation to Krush Groove), which answered UTFO, 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 UTFO 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 UTFO 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 80's TV show on the USA Network "Dance Party USA".
  • "No More Roxanne" by Zelee Groove and OSE - a completely different song from the above.
  • "Roxanne's Baby" by The Overnite Bandits. Record with chorus going "Roxanne's knocked up". A British group, presumably, as a London address is given on the label.
  • "Roxanne's Dis" by The Invasion.s
  • "She Died" by Rocksann. Record saying "she died - of too much rap".


In due time, the "Roxanne" trend had run its course, and a sort of moratorium was called on new Roxanne acts (some later records even called for this). The response records finally died down; however, the battle continued amongst its core group of players:

  • UTFO added another response of their own; "Roxanne, Roxanne, Pt. 2: Calling Her a Crab",[15] also aimed loosely at Shanté, in which they took back all the compliments they had given to Roxanne in the first record, give out insults instead, and claimed to have never really liked her in the first place.
  • Roxanne Shanté issued her follow-up record "Queen of Rox",[16] which told the story of "how she got so fresh," and faced "a little bit of hassle from UTFO about saying that I'm Roxanne," and then takes a jab at the Real Roxanne ("Yeah, I seen (sic) that girl—she got a face like a man").
  • In "Bite This", Shanté dissed other MCs, including "the Real Roxanne, Sparky D, and all the other Roxannes imitating me."[17]
  • Then, there was the one-on-one battle between Shanté and Sparky D: "Round 1 - Roxanne Shanté Vs. Sparky Dee." The album cover had a picture of both women challenging each other wearing boxing gloves.[18]

The biggest successor to the Roxanne war was The Bridge Wars, in which Roxanne Shanté, as a member of Marley Marl's Juice Crew, was loosely involved. The Bridge Wars attacked the entire Queensbridge area. The tables were then turned, because this time it was a hit record produced by Mr. Magic and Marley Marl that garnered a response (MC Shan's "The Bridge"), sparking off a whole new battle saga.

It was in the midst of this battle, in the song "Go On, Girl",[19] that Roxanne Shanté dropped the name Roxanne, and was thereafter known only as Shanté. (The opening line says "it's '87, y'all, so no more Roxannes . . . "). Likewise, The Real Roxanne dropped "Real" from her name, and went by the name Roxanne, and was even addressed as such by Shanté in the track "Big Mama",[20] in a reference to their past battles. This lasted until her 1992 track, "Roxanne S*** Is Over", where she relinquishes the name Roxanne for good, and dubs herself Jo-Anne With The Plan. The album this was released on, Go Down But Don't Bite It, however, was her final record. Shanté likewise retired from the business a few years afterward.

Other response records[edit]

  • Anthony - Roxanne Is A Man[21]
  • Blowfly - Blowfly meets Roxanne[22]
  • DJ Spin Kut - Roxanne Girls Mega Mix 2[23] —(Clips from the various records mixed together)
  • Doctor JR Kool - Rap Your Own Roxanne[24] —(Electronic instrumental dance record)
  • DW & The Party Crew (feat. Roxy) - Roxy (Party Crew Records 1985)
  • G-Mann - Roxanne (Is My Girl)[25]
  • J.J. Fad - Anotha Ho[26]
  • Korner Boyz - The Saga Of Roxanne[27]
  • Maggotron - Planet Detroit vs. The Roxanne Plague[28] —(Mostly an electronic dance track)
  • Mix-Trix 4 - Roxanne Can You Feel It?[29] —(A DJ mix record featuring the "Roxanne Roxanne" beat with many other raps from the time)
  • Potato Chips - Roxanne's Real Fat[30]
  • Ricardo & Chocolate Boogie - Do It Ricardo (Roxanne's Man)[31]
  • Rocksann - She Died[32]
  • Starrlite - Watch Out Roxanne[33]
  • The Invasions - Roxanne's Dis[34]
  • The Invasions - Roxanne's Man[35]
  • The Overnite Bandits - Roxanne's Baby[36]
  • Zelee featuring Osé - No More Roxanne (Roxanne No More)[37]


  1. ^ "Roxanne Shante Biography". OldSchoolHipHop.Com. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  2. ^ "Roxanne Shanté | New Music And Songs |". Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Strictly Business: The Roxanne Wars". 2011-05-19. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  5. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  6. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  7. ^ "Doctor Rocx & Co - Do The Roxanne (Part Two) 1985". YouTube. 2010-08-30. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  8. ^ "Gigolo Tony and Lacey Lace The Parents Of Roxanne". YouTube. 2010-11-05. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  9. ^ "Tanganyika - I'm Little Roxanne". YouTube. 2009-10-28. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  10. ^ "Crush Groove - Yo My Little Sister (Roxanne's Brothers)". YouTube. 2009-05-16. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  11. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  12. ^ "Little Ice (2) - Ice Roxanne (Vinyl)". 1985-03-07. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  13. ^ "Ralph Rolle - Roxanne's a Man (The Untold Story) (Streetwise 1985)". YouTube. 2009-09-09. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  14. ^ "The East Coast Crew - The Final Word - No More Roxanne (Please) (Vinyl)". Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  15. ^ "UTFO-Calling Her A Crab (Roxanne Part 2)". YouTube. 2010-05-05. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  16. ^ "Queen of Rox (Shante' Rox On)-Roxanne Shante'". YouTube. 2014-08-22. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  17. ^ "ROXANNE SHANTE-Bite this". YouTube. 2014-08-22. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  18. ^ "Round 1 - Roxanne Shante' vs. Sparky Dee". YouTube. 2014-08-22. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  19. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  20. ^ ""Big Mama" by Roxanne Shanté". YouTube. 2014-08-22. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  21. ^ Anthony - Roxanne Is A Man. YouTube Video. Retrieved on 2012-01-06.
  22. ^ Blowfly - Blowfly meets Roxanne Retrieved on 2013-01-01.
  23. ^ DJ Spin Kut - Roxanne Girls Mega Mix 2. YouTube Video. Retrieved on 2012-01-06.
  24. ^ Doctor JR Kool - Rap Your Own Roxanne. YouTube Video. Retrieved on 2012-01-06.
  25. ^ G-Mann - Roxanne (Is My Girl) Retrieved on 2013-01-01.
  26. ^ - JJ Fad - Anotha Ho. YouTube Video. Retrieved on 2015-03-06.
  27. ^ Korner Boyz - The Saga Of Roxanne Retrieved on 2013-01-01.
  28. ^ Maggotron - Planet Detroit vs. The Roxanne Plague. YouTube Video. Retrieved on 2012-01-06.
  29. ^ Mix-Trix 4 - Roxanne Can You Feel It? Retrieved on 2013-01-01.
  30. ^ Potato Chips - Roxanne's Real Fat. YouTube Video. Retrieved on 2012-01-06; reretrieved on 2013-01-01.
  31. ^ Ricardo & Chocolate Boogie - Do It Ricardo. YouTube Video. Retrieved on 2012-01-06.
  32. ^ Rocksann - She Died. YouTube Video. Retrieved on 2012-01-06.
  33. ^ "Rox and Roxanne: Just-when you thought it was over" Retrieved on 2013-01-01.
  34. ^ The Invasions - Roxanne's Dis. YouTube Video. Retrieved on 2012-01-06.
  35. ^ The Invasions - Roxanne's Man Retrieved on 2013-01-01.
  36. ^ The Overnite Bandits - Roxanne's Baby. YouTube Video. Retrieved on 2012-01-06.
  37. ^ Zelee featuring Osé - No More Roxanne. YouTube Video. Retrieved on 2012-01-06.

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