While people think SMMMMMMMACK when they think about battle rap, the bearded owner of URL did not invent the art form nor did he give it its style or flair. Battling was at the center of the Hip-Hop movement. And yes, we all know it started in the Bronx, it was something about those Queens MCs that made people stop and listen… and we talking stop in their tracks even before Nas became your favorite rapper’s rapper.
LL Cool J is probably the first rapper you think of that sought to battle and destroy any opponent that stepped up… but he wasn’t the lyricist leaving people shaking in their boots. That honor belongs to the girl with the braces, Roxanne Shante.
And while the world knows her from her hit clapback single “Roxanne’s Revenge,” it was her reputation as a beast on the mic that made Marley Marl call her up to his apartment on that life changing day to record the song in one take (between washing clothes and drying.)
Don’t worry if you didn’t know all that history. The new Netflix film, Roxanne Roxanne out on March 23rd, will get you up to speed.
Masterfully told by writer and director Michael Larnell, this biopic takes you from her humble beginnings as a battle rapper in the projects to her epic rise as one of the first queens of Hip-Hop.
In 1985, Roxanne Shante was probably the first female rapper to cross over commercially, creating the soundtrack for a whole generation of femcees to listen, study and with all their might try to duplicate her style. The film stars incomparable Nia Long and Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali and along with Kevin Phillips, Arnstar, Eden Duncan-Smith, Drew Tillman, Lyric Hurd, Shenell Edmonds, Tremaine Brown, Jr. and new comer Chante Adams playing Shante. Produced by same team that brought you Dope, Pharrell Williams and Forest Whitaker, the movie takes you through her struggles growing up in Queensbridge, how she helped raised her sisters, her rise to epic stardom at the age of 16 and answers the question what happened to Shante…
Yeah, what happened to her?
At the New York City premiere, all the old school stars came out in full force! Of course, Roxanne was there. Hip-Hop personalities like Bevy Smith, Choke No Joke, Marvet Britto, and Ralph McDaniels (who also is a producer on the film). Pharrell also popped out. As did Master Ace from The Juice Crew, DJ Red Alert, Capone (CNN), DJ Scratch, DJ Cutmaster Cool V, Steph Marbury and we hear Biz Markie was on the wheels of steel.
Films about the Golden Era of Rap music seems to be a new trend. Studios are flash backing to the old to find something new and the fans are hear for it. Whether it is Netflix’s series The Get Down of hit films just like Straight Out of Compton, Notorious and All Eyez On Me… seems like people just wanna know about Hip-Hop’s history…. Roxanne Roxanne will surely do that.