Real Name: Lolita Shanté Gooden
D.O.B: November 9 1969, Queens, NY, USA
Label: Cold Chillin' Records
Roxanne Shanté is one of the most destructive female MCs in hip-hop, paving the way for the women’s liberation in the culture of male dominance and stirring up an ants nest within the community battling with other crews in the process. Shante is a real hard-hitting pioneer in the game, the pre-eminent mistress of battle feared by most peers at that period. The catalyst force behind the infamous early ‘80s inter-borough warfare called the ‘Bridge Wars’. The Revenge was swift but debilitating to those caught in her crosshairs. For this Shante remains an influential diva of the second generation in rap.
Discovered by producer and radio DJ Marley Marl at the tender age of 13, Roxanne displayed an extraordinary ability to freestyle entire songs instantly. First showcased on her famous track, "Roxanne’s Revenge" as it was recorded in one take. The battle track came about after the group U.T.F.O. had promised to support Mr. Magic and Marley Marl’s radio show on WBLS and instead went across to rival station KISS-FM with DJ Red Alert with two tracks, the second being the one in controversy, "Roxanne Roxanne" a song about a girl who refused to give any play to the guys. (This has been mistaken for being specifically the Roxanne in context.) Offended by the track, Marl insisted on retaliation, with Lyrical ghost-writing of a young MC Shan and using the instrumental for Roxanne Roxanne, Marl put Shante into the recording booth to perform ‘Roxanne’s Revenge’. The profane and unrelenting confrontational hit was passed onto rival radio jocks who crammed the single on air before it was released on the market. This eventually sold over 250,000 copies in New York alone and is now a classic battle track for enthusiasts. This instantaneously blew up Roxanne’s career although the brightest compliment paid to her was through the 100 plus return battles from artists answering to her ghetto-sass rather than U.T.FO.’s original track. This period in 1983 was called the Roxanne Wars. Shante had established herself as a fearsome member of the Juice Crew and was recognized as the Queen of Queensbridge, New York.
After being sued for using the backing track for U.T.F.O.’s production team Full Force’s "Roxanne Roxanne" Marl had re-recorded the single with a different beat and slightly less disparaging lyrics by Roxanne. The single was released in ’84 with the original as the b-side. This is the track future audiences are more familiar with. A year later alongside producer Marley marl, signed up with Cold Chillin’ Records Shante recorded several more singles but declined to concentrate on a full length album. She returned to school and performed on tour with the Juice Crew. Her second successful single was released in 1988, a sarcastic hit "Have a Nice Day" co-written by fellow Juice member, Big Daddy Kane with venomous lyrics aimed at biting the new females joining the ranks of the rap game, Queen Latifah and MC Lyte. Fans salivated for more material from Rox’ but this wouldn’t come until 1989 when her début album, Bad Sister dropped the streets.
In 1990 she worked with R&B legend, Rick James for the hit, "Loosey’s Rap". 1992 saw Roxanne changing her alias to simply Shante, separating herself from Marley Marl’s production unit on most tracks and recording her follow-up album, The Bitch is Back still released on Cold Chillin’ containing more bitter battle tracks dissing female MC’s Latifah, Lyte and new west coast mistress, Yo-Yo on an all-out abusive track called ‘Big Mama’.
After her second LP, Shante had begun scrapping over royalties and pay-cuts and a pregnancy and decided to walk away finally at the age of 25 with the occasional guest appearance and collaboration with hip-hop artists. Away from the music industry she has attained a Ph.D in psychology and has opened a successful practice. She is residing back in Queensbridge, married with one son. The Queens mistress had gained endorsement from Sprite soft drink appearing in several advertisement campaigns during the late ‘90s.
- 1989 Bad Sister
- 1989 Def Mix #1
- 1992 The Bitch is Back
- 1996 Greatest Hits
- 1984 Roxanne’s Revenge
- 1985 Queen of Rox
- 1985 Runaway
- 1985 Bite This
- 1988 Have a Nice Day
- 1989 Live on Stage
- 1992 Big Mama