Obscure Roxanne battle records fortnight part 1: The Primer

Ah, it all seems so long ago now. Before the South Bronx / Queens beef really jumped off, rap’s first real battles on wax were the Roxanne Wars. Strange, really, when Roxanne never really existed. It’s not like UTFO came out and dissed a specific girl. However, they did manage to piss off Mr Magic and Marley Marl by reneging on a concert appearance they’d scheduled (as Mr Magic related to us recently), so they recruited Lolita Gooden for an answer record under the name Roxanne Shante. The rest is history, with UTFO hiring a ‘Real Roxanne’ and everyone and their mother getting in on the act. There are some crazy estimates about the numbers of Roxanne records released, with a few unreliable sources claiming over 100. The truth is nearer 30. We haven’t got them all – yet – but we’re gonna drop a few a lot of you haven’t heard. And, at the end of the fortnight, we’ll stick all the tracks in a folder for you to download, along with a label/cover collage. Aren’t we nice?
We start with the basics, a b-side to a UTFO track that no-one was really feeling. Despite their moderate success, UTFO aren’t much loved by even the most ardent mid-80′s rap fiends. ‘Beats and Rhymes’ was okay, but the Full Force production on much of their work put them at the tame end of the spectrum at a time when hip-hop beats were becoming fantastically, offensively hard. Still, ‘Roxanne, Roxanne’ is a highlight, full of quotables, many of which would be bastardised in answer records and quoted right back at them. It’s hard to pick which version of ‘Roxanne’s Revenge’ is better, Marley Marl keeping both resolutely gutter and scratching up a storm in the background. The vocals on the ‘Vocal Version’ are more polished, but the ‘Street Version’ does kick in with Mr Magic’s trademark ‘A World Premiere…’ jingle. Oh, and no-one got deaded, wet-up or so much as slapped over all this beef. Let that be a lesson…

UTFO - Roxanne Roxanne

UTFO – Roxanne, Roxanne

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Real Roxanne

The Real Roxanne – The Real Roxanne

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Roxanne Shante - Roxanne’s Revenge

Roxanne Shante – Roxanne’s Revenge (vocal version)

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Roxanne Shante – Roxanne’s Revenge (Street version)

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15 Responses to "Obscure Roxanne battle records fortnight part 1: The Primer"
  1. Reply country bumpkin January 14, 2008 10:06 am

    this is one of my favourite era of Hip Hop, I remember hearing a lot of the ‘roxanne spin off records, but don’t have many of them so looking forward to hearing some obscure ones. The worst record to come out of all this was the cover versions LP with a girl on the front who was a model and not even either of the roxannes (can’t remember the title, I had it as a kid but it has long gone. Me and my mate went halves on it (we were poor 12 year olds!) and we took it back and swapped it for an electro LP when we found out it was cover versions…what was the point of that?)…

    My fave is probably ‘Queen Of Rox’, but roxannes revenge was amazing…I heard that came out on another label before Pop Art, but never seen it on one, surely fatlace would know if it did?

    Once again an excuse for Fatlace to show off their promo’s..and why not!

  2. Reply country bumpkin January 14, 2008 10:08 am

    ps. I LOVE UTFO…I even like ‘hanging out’ and that 1st LP was dope, ‘Leader Of the pack’…classic…’please insert another record or your party will be terminated’…and ‘bite it’…brings back memory’s of Mike Allen’s show and being a kid playing those tunes on the box in the park. Real old school memories.

  3. Reply country bumpkin January 14, 2008 10:10 am

    What old school head didn’t listen to ‘Alice’ by Full Force? Was it only me that liked that corny sh*t as well as the harder stuff?

  4. Reply Drew Huge January 14, 2008 10:39 am

    Ah, you mean ‘The Complete Roxanne Story’. Complete vinyl rip of that coming up as part of all this hoopla. There were a few pressings of Roxanne’s Revenge, the first was a real lo-fi effort limited to about 100 copies, it’s pressed from a tape of her rhyming more or less off a jacked beat. A true rarity.

  5. Reply country bumpkin January 14, 2008 14:57 pm

    wow, I bet greenpeace has that one. Rare indeed. Would love to hear that.

  6. Reply country bumpkin January 14, 2008 14:58 pm

    even the Concept sent it up on Mr DJ didn’t they? Haven’t heard that since I was a kid.

  7. Reply Dan Large January 14, 2008 16:17 pm

    Drew’s actually the Roxanne aficionado, he’s even got Roxanne by The Police on acetate

  8. Reply i the t January 14, 2008 16:18 pm

    i swear all shante’s bars are off the dome ?

    shit don’t even make sense half the time and when it did it was completely babyish. when i was young this never occured to me but now starting to wonder.

    blessings for the audials still..

  9. Reply flex January 17, 2008 21:44 pm

    so what was the first press of the “street version” of roxannes revenge”? you know the one that has her just straight rhymin of the utfo inst? I have a pressing on RAP records that I got back in 85. I didn’t know that same version was on the pop art record….

  10. Reply tRoY February 29, 2008 17:42 pm

    ROXANNE-SHANTE I LOVE…I ALSO HEARD THAT THE ORIGINAL STREET VERSION OF ROXANNE REVENGE WUZ 6 MIN. LONG

  11. Reply Christian October 28, 2008 08:56 am

    “Yes, you are now rockin’ with the best. Can I get a hit, Howie?”
    Please, could anyone point me to the record that starts with this from the REAL ROXANNE? I have an old cassette and can’t seem to find the original. After fast a capella rap from her, drums kick in with more rhymes, then some “Rabbit Kicks The Bucket” jokes from another rapper. Thanks …

  12. Reply Drew Huge October 28, 2008 11:14 am

    Yeah mane, that’s ‘Bang Zoom (Let’s Go Go)’ by The Real Roxanne feat. Howie Tee. They even performed it on top of the pops

  13. Reply Christian October 28, 2008 12:46 pm

    Thanks, Drew

  14. Reply Edword February 6, 2009 02:48 am

    Way back I had a pile of Roxanne records. I would go to the record shop every week and look for more, I think I sold the whole bunch for like 20 buck back in like 88.

    Here some that I think I can remember
    Roxanne, Roxanne
    the real Roxanne
    Roxanne Shante
    Roxanne’s Revenge
    Roxanne’s a man
    Roxanne’s doctor
    Roxanne vs Godzilla

    I’m know I had at least 12 diffrent ones, I can’t wait to here them again!!

  15. Reply dustbury.com » A real Roxanne July 2, 2011 15:43 pm

    [...] was barely a year old when the Roxanne Wars broke out, so take the title here with several grains of [...]

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