“Well my name is Roxanne, well you don’t know I’m just partying at Cold Rock and doing this show14-year-old Roxanne Chante (née Lolita Chante Gooden) raps over the beat of her 1985 hit “Roxanne’s Revenge.”
Considered one of the pioneers of battle rap, Chante credits his rhyming and freestyle skills to watching comedian Nipsey Russell on an episode of a game show. Hollywood Squares. For her, it was people’s reaction to him making up these song-like rhymes on the fly, based on just common conversation. She studied the technique and then took it to the streets of her Queens neighborhood to play against a local host.
Seeing how easy that flow was for a young female host at the time, everyone They vie for a chance to match her. Roxanne Chante wrote and released a diss of UTFO’s “Roxanne Roxanne,” about a young woman who resists male temptations, instantly cementing her status as hip-hop royalty. . Although not specifically about her, the rebuttal record was an instant hit for the 14-year-old rapper.
As 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, Ebony spoke with Chante about her achievements in the musical genre and the influence of the 2018 Netflix movie. Roxanne Roxanne And more about her favorite hip-hop songs.
EBONY: What does it mean for you, one of the pioneers, to see 50 years of hip-hop at this point?
Roxanne Shante: It’s an honor to be here to witness hip-hop not only grown, but grown and purified to become one of the biggest businesses. As you know, we’ve lost so many great people in the process in such a short time. So it’s a blessing to be still standing here.
you, gigantic At just 14, he became a star at a time when hip-hop was still fairly new. What was it like for you, a young woman at the time?
There were other great female hosts like Sharok. [at that time]. I came when there was this twist in this genre, this change. Hip-hop fashion, in particular, was moving from leather suits and boots to jeans and sneakers for a more relaxed look. I showed up on the scene when hip-hop was really making a difference.
It’s been five years since the Netflix movie was released. Roxanne Roxanne. How have you used your story to inspire others with similar backgrounds?
Hearing that it’s been five years and knowing the impact my story has had on a community that is sometimes forgotten makes me realize that even if I’m a survivor, I’m that beacon of light, or maybe that. I was able to become a person. odds are low. It has nothing to do with me going through breast cancer twice, but if you look at my story of going through everything alone as a kid, I did it with a smile on my face. The most I can contribute today is to stay happy. Roxanne Chante is now a survivor’s smile.
I’m not just an artist people ask for autographs. I am the one they want to hug and absorb the power I emanate. If I see someone going through something, if I can help them, I will. That’s why this movie was so healing not only for me, but for others as well. It shows that you are not the only one going through it, and it is proof that you too can survive.
What does it mean to join the legendary Rock the Bells Fest line-up at this special time of year this August?
For me, it is an honor not only to be part of the line-up, but to share the stage with my brothers and sisters who have been with me for many years. You can also see how hip hop has grown and how many things contain hip hop. There was a time when people thought this genre had a shelf life, just like milk. But it’s incredible that people are finally able to appreciate and understand the value of hip-hop, and it means a lot to be a part of it.
I am also looking forward to getting off the stage and being able to sit down and really see and embrace the show just like the fans do.
What’s your all-time favorite hip-hop song, or whose performance are you looking forward to this year?
Really looking forward to seeing Queen Latifah take the Rock the Bells stage. At last she had the chance to meet the Queen again and witness her unity. Overall my favorite song is Frankie Smith’s “Double Dutch Bass”. It was the first time I heard her name Lolita in a song and I felt like she was so integrated into the record.