Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Roxanne, Roxanne and UTFO

Anybody remember that "Roxanne, Roxanne" series? I used to listen to the radio searching for Roxanne songs. It all started when I first heard the UTFO song "Roxanne, Roxanne". I liked UTFO ever since I saw the video for "Beats and Rhymes". That video was funny; everybody in that video was white except for UTFO; they did a breakdance routine. UTFO are one of those groups who should've gotten the first rap grammy because they were way ahead of their time. They had innovative rhyme styles which contrasted largely from RUN DMC's simplistic nursery rhyme style (Don't get me wrong I love RUN DMC, Im just sayin'), they did all the "elements" (graf, rhyming, breakin', DJing) long before they were called elements, they did songs for the radios and the streets.

UTFO failed to have "hits" only because back when they were popular, it was hard to break rap/hip hop records. Where I came from, black radio was just the college radio stations like WESU at Wesleyan in Middletown, Connecticut. Back then, MTV was starting, and it started as a medium then to influence what was played on the radio. However, what MTV gravitated to was heavy metal/rock videos, and very popular black artists. The only way RUN DMC broke through was to have rock guitars in songs like "Rock Box" and "Can You Rock It Like This?" I remember watching MTV one night and being suprised that they had "Rock Box" on, but it was pretty late and they played it very sparingly. It's so ironic that this was the case in the early 80s, but now MTV has MTV2, a channel which rides hip hop's nuts so much that they go overboard sometimes.

Anyways, UTFO had me listening to the radio in the summer of like '84 listening for "Roxanne Roxanne" songs. Here were a few:

Roxanne's Revenge- Roxanne Shante:This was the original first lady of rap. Her voice sounded like it could be the girl they were talking about. It was dope.

The "Real" Roxanne- The Real Roxanne: Now, this girl sounded more cute, and I brought more 12" records from her, like "Romeo", and she was a Latina who looked like Lisa Lisa (who did that "I Wonder If I Take You Home") Roxanne Shante once dissed her, saying she had a "face like a man". She was tight though.

Roxanne's A Man-Ralph Rolle: This was a hilarious spoof on the songs where this guy raps about taking Roxanne out and finding out what is really up with this girl. Could've been a take on Roxanne Shante's butch demeanor.

Roxanne's Doctor-Doctor Fresshhh: This MC Doctor Fresshh was really talented; he did two records; this one and "Life Is A Ghetto" on Warlock Records. I have the 12" inches, but like many young brothers there was no full album. Back then, MC's came and went. As for this jam, dude just hated Roxanne and so he dissed her.

Rossanne,Rossane-?: The name of the group escapes me, but I think this was a local Connecticut group who did this song where they just changed the lyrics and added in a guitar with the same beat, same flow and a lil more scratching. Changed the name of the song, that was about it.

Rossane's Brothers-?: I definetly don't know who did this song; this was a response to the above song where these guys say they are Rossane's brothers and dis the original group. Same beat, same sounding track. Like I said, I think it was a bunch of CT brothas experimenting with rap. Connecticut brothas back then were more into gangs and crack, and even though we were so close to NYC, there was nothing that CT produced. We loved it, and knew of the few stations that played it. But this was the best they could do!

I got a tape of the whole Roxanne series. If I find more, I'll holler.

No comments:

Post a Comment