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U.T.F.O.

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Biography

U.T.F.O. was a Brooklyn, NY-based rap group, comprised of the Kangol Kid, Doctor Ice, the Educated Rapper, and Mix Master Ice. The quartet first met as dancers for Whodini, before forming U.T.F.O. (which stood for "Untouchable Force Organization") in 1983. Early on, the group referred to themselves as "the Village People of Rap," due to the fact that each member possessed a specific image (Doctor Ice was the "Hip-Hop Physician," Educated Rapper was a college student who wore a suit and tie, Mix Master Ice assumed the persona of a ninja since he would "cut things up" on the turntables, and Kangol Kid got his name due to his affinity for always wearing Kangol-brand hats). Signing to the Select label in 1984, U.T.F.O. scored a massive hit single right of the bat with "Roxanne, Roxanne," which struck such a chord with the burgeoning rap scene that it spawned countless "response" songs by other artists, including "Roxanne's Revenge," "The Real Roxanne," "Roxanne You're Through," "Roxanne's Mother," "Roxanne's Brother," "Roxanne's Doctor," and perhaps strangest of all, "Roxanne's a Man" (in addition, several female rappers adopted the "Roxanne" name themselves, including Roxanne Shanté and The Real Roxanne). 1985 saw U.T.F.O. issue a self-titled full-length debut, which included their own "Roxanne, Roxanne" follow-up, "Calling Her a Crab (Roxanne Part 2)," which failed to match its predecessor's success; as the group toured alongside such fellow influential rap acts as Run-D.M.C., Kurtis Blow, the Fat Boys, and Newcleus, on a 30-city venue tour called the New York City Fresh Fest. For U.T.F.O.'s sophomore effort, 1986's Skeezer Pleezer, the Educated Rapper took a brief leave of absence, before returning for Lethal a year later; an album that was criticized by the group's original following due to its stylistic shift to more racy material (although the anti-drug title track featured a musical contribution from heavy metallists Anthrax, which predated Anthrax's more renowned collaboration with Public Enemy by several years). But after two more releases, 1989's Doin' It! and 1990's Bag It & Bone It, U.T.F.O. decided to call it a day. In the wake of their split, Doctor Ice issued several solo releases (including such titles as Mic Stalker and Rely on Self); while a 20-track hits collection surfaced in 1996, The Best of U.T.F.O., and a two-for-one CD release of Skeezer Pleezer/Lethal was issued in 2000. ~ Greg Prato
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