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Roxanne Shanté

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Biography

Roxanne Shanté (born Lolita Gooden) was walking outside a New York housing project called Queensbridge when she heard three men talking about how the trio U.T.F.O. had canceled their appearance at a show they were promoting. Gooden offered to make a rap record that would get back at U.T.F.O., who'd previously recorded "Roxanne, Roxanne," a song about a woman too stuck up to notice them. The three -- Tyrone Williams, disc jockey Mister Magic, and producer Marley Marl -- took her up on the idea, with Marl producing "Roxanne's Revenge." The song was confrontational, sneering, boastful, and even borderline obscene, and it spawned 102 additional answer records. Eventually U.T.F.O. threatened to sue Shanté for using their B-side as the musical foundation. She settled with them and recut the song with a different, though related, track. Shanté's fortunes were thin shortly after the heyday of "Roxanne, Roxanne," though she did share a number one R&B and a Top Ten pop hit with Rick James in 1986, "Loosey's Rap." Shanté retired when she was 25 to focus her attention on obtaining a higher education. She went on to receive a Ph.D. in psychology, eventually running her own practice and building a family in New York. She stayed involved with the entertainment industry by being a mentor to young, female rappers and taking part in a series of Sprite commercials that highlighted freestyling hip-hop artists. ~ Ron Wynn
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