The Roxanne Wars



The Roxanne Wars is a well-known series of hip hop rivalries during the mid-1980s, yielding perhaps the most answer records in history. The dispute arose over a failed appearance at a radio promotional show. There were two Roxannes in question, Roxanne Shanté and The Real Roxanne.

There were a number of players involved in this war.


  • Roxanne Shanté
  • U.T.F.O
  • The Real Roxanne
  • Sparky D
  • Dr. Freshh
  • Dr Rocx & Co
  • Gigolo Tony & Lacey Lace
  • Crush Groove
  • D.W. and the Party Crew featuring Roxy
  • Ralph Rolle
  • Doctor JR Kool
  • Anthony
  • Tanganyika
  • DJ Spin Kut
  • Maggotron
  • Potato Chips
  • Ricardo & Chocolate Boogie
  • Rocksann
  • The Invasions
  • The Overnite Bandits
  • Mix-Trix 4
  • Korner Boyz
  • Zelee featuring Osé
  • The East Coast Crew 

The whole thing started off simple enough.  In 1984 U.T.F.O released the Single "Hanging Out"

UTFO: Hanging Out


The single did not do very well.  It was pretty much a giant flop, which was shocking because it was also produced by Full Force.  While the main single didn't do very well, The B-Side however started picking up a lot of steam and was starting to get airplay on some NYC hip hop radio stations.  The B-Side was a song called "Roxanne, Roxanne".

The song was an afterthought that they threw together quickly. It was written about a girl a few days early that was rejecting the advances of some of the UFTO members at a club.  The song started blowing up.

Meanwhile, over in Queen, 14 year old Lolita Shanté Gooden was over in the Queensbridge Housing Project. She over head Tyrone Williams, disc jockey Mr. Magic, and record producer Marley Marl talking about how they were pissed off with UTFO. The 3 had been promoting an upcoming concert for UTFO which they backed out of at the last minute.

  • Roxanne Shanté

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."

 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 in the New York Area. The original issue of the "Street Version" was recorded on tape in Marley Marl's bedroom, entirely free-styled by Gooden in seven minutes and in only one take. The recording was pressed onto 100 copies which were rushed out onto the streets to combat U.T.F.O.'s "Roxanne, Roxanne" release. Select Records, UTFO's label,  claimed copyrights on the instrumental which led Pop Art Records to negotiate an agreement where all future copies of "Roxannes Revenge" would feature a different track. It was subsequently re-released in early 1985 with new beats and the obscenities removed

Most people aren't even aware of the original version since it was never played on the radio. Most people are only familiar with the latest cleaned up version that was distributed to radio stations around NYC. (You can listen to the original "street" version HERE)

The "Real" Roxanne
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).

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. Roxanne Shanté responded back by releasing "Bite This" and "Queen Of Rox (Shanté Rox On)". The airwaves became occupied with the "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.

Concert Poster
It started to get a bit insane after a while.  However it was rather profitable.  UTFO would spend years making money off the Roxanne name.  Additionally, they and Full Force would continue to produce more "answer records".

The amount of Roxanne's and Roxanne side kicks started to get way out of hand by the fall if 1985.

We got hit with Roxanne's brothers, Roxanne's sister, Roxanne's parents, Roxanne's girls, L'il Roxanne, Roxanne's baby, Roxanne's doctor & several claiming to be Roxanne's man.

Some people had more than enough by this stage and pleaded for an end to the saga (while contributing towards it).Then the news was sadly broken that "She Died". Although she was still alive.

Original Roxanne? Really?
When you get down to it, the actual Roxanne wars for the most part was nothing but a bunch of manufactures songs as a stunt.  The actual "war" itself was really just between UTFO, Roxanne Shanté, The Real Roxanne (sort of) and Sparky D (bit of a stretch). 

In The Sparky D Song "Sparky's Turn (Roxanne You're Through)" she criticizes Roxanne (Shanté, in particular) for dissing UTFO, as well as being too young, both for them to pursue, and to be an MC. It eventually does address both “Roxanne 1 and Roxanne 2”. Even though the record defended UTFO, they were reportedly not appreciative of this additional unauthorized response.

It was at this point it all spiraled out of control. Since Sparky D didn't really have any involvement, but the whole Roxanne War was still so hot, everyone started cashing in on it.

By the end of 1985 it started calming down.  However the main Players were still going at it.

UTFO Released the Song "Roxanne, Roxanne, Pt. 2: Calling Her a Crab".  Considering UTFO produced the Real Roxanne to counter Shanté, it was ironic that this one also aimed loosely at Shanté (Kangol Kid: “I got a name of a hat, as I recall…” drawing from a line at the beginning of “Roxanne’s Revenge”), in which they took back all the compliments they had given to Roxanne in the first record, give out insults instead (“you’re not an apple or a pear; you’re a bum on a beach”, etc); basically claiming to have never really liked her in the first place.

Shanté then released "Queen of Rox". It tells the story of “how she got so fresh,” and faced “a little bit of hassle from UTFO about saying, yes, that I’m Roxanne,” and then takes a jab at the Real Roxanne (“Yeah, I seen that girl—she got a face like a man!”). The first time one of them went directly after the other.

She then released  “Bite This”,  where Shanté dissed other MCs, including “the Real Roxanne, Sparky D, and all the other Roxannes imitating me”, and then even goes after Run-DMC and Kurtis Blow!

Where the shark was officially jumped
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

This was pretty much the end of things.  Right around this time, people were moving on to new things. Run DMC has hit the scene and were taking everything over. Also Doug E Fresh and MC Ricky D (later Slick Rick) had also just hit the scene with "The Show" and it was starting to take hip hop in a new direction.

Then, in a vein eerily similar to Roxanne, LL Cool J’s “Dear Yvette” got a similar “-Revenge” titled response from an “E-Vette Money”. That too went no further, other than Kurtis Blow referencing both this and “the Real Roxanne” in defense women in rap, in “I’m Chillin'”.

But it wasn't too much longer until the next big war broke out, The Bridge Wars were less than 6 months away.

The Songs you need to know from The Roxanne Wars



UTFO: Roxanne, Roxanne




Roxanne Shante: Roxanne's Revenge




The Real Roxxane: The Real Roxanne




Sparky D: Roxanne You're Through




UTFO: Roxanne 2 (Call Her a Crab)




Roxanne Shante: Queen of Rox




Roxanne Shante: Bite This




Roxanne Shante and Sparky D: Round 1


Over The 14 months the Roxanne Wars lasted there were dozens of groups and MCs who tried to get involved. They would just throw a song together and toss in the name Roxanne and hope that it would get some play.

No one is ever going to know how many songs, or attempts of songs there were in the War.  But these are the songs that are considered to make up the The Roxanne War songs




  • Anthony - Roxanne Is A Man

    • Blowfly - Blowfly meets Roxanne
    • Crush Groove - Yo My Little Sister (Roxanne's Brothers)
    • DJ Spin Kut - Roxanne Girls Mega Mix 2
    • Doctor JR Kool - Rap Your Own Roxanne
    • Doctor Rocx and Co - Do the Roxanne (Dance) Part One
    • Dr Freshh - Roxanne's Doctor The Real Man
    • DW & The Party Crew featuring Roxy - Roxy (Roxanne's Sister)
    • Elease the Original Roxanne – The Real Deal
    • G-Mann - Roxanne (Is My Girl)
    • Gigolo Tony & Lacey Lace - The Parents of Roxanne
    • Korner Boyz - The Saga Of Roxanne
    • Maggotron - Planet Detroit vs. The Roxanne Plague
    • Mix-Trix 4 - Roxanne Can You Feel It
    • Potato Chips - Roxanne's Real Fat
    • Ralph Rolle - Roxanne's A Man (The Untold Story)
    • Ricardo & Chocolate Boogie - Do It Ricardo (Roxanne's Man)
    • Rocksann - She Died
    • Roxanne Shanté - Roxanne's Revenge (Original Version)
    • Roxanne Shanté - Roxanne's Revenge (Street version)
    • Roxanne Shanté vs Sparky Dee - Round 1
    • Sparky Dee - Sparky's Turn (Roxanne You're Through)
    • Starrlite - Watch Out Roxanne
    • Tanganyika - I’m Little Roxanne
    • The East Coast Crew - The Final Word - No More Roxanne (Please)
    • The Invasions - Roxanne's Dis
    • The Invasions - Roxanne's Man
    • The Overnite Bandits - Roxanne's Baby
    • The Real Roxanne - The Real Roxanne
    • U.T.F.O. - Roxanne Roxanne
    • U.T.F.O. - Calling Her A Crab (Roxanne Part 2)
    • Zelee featuring Osé - No More Roxanne (Roxanne No More)

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