Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, Missy Elliott and more may be ruling the Billboard now, but hadn't it been for Roxanne Shanté, female raping wouldn't have found the face it has now. The first female rapper's influence on the music industry might be small but it was significant and Netflix identified it.
Hence, the popular online streaming platform honoured her landmark with the release of the biopic based on her and titled it, Roxanne Roxanne. Now that we have established that she was the first female artist to have rapped commercially, there is a helluva load of things you might not know about the star.
Let's begin from the beginning. Shanté was just 14 when she released the track "Roxanne's Revenge." Newsweek reports that her mother was struggling with alcoholism, she was responsible for raising her three younger sisters. The song was made as a response to Brooklyn group U.T.F.O.'s single called "Roxanne Roxanne", Complex reports.
She shot to fame instantly. Shanté went on to become a popular name in rap circles. Unfortunately, her stardom was short lived.
While we are still talking about the beginning, did you know Roxanne Shanté is not even her real name? Shanté's actual name is Lolita Shanté Gooden. The Guardian writes that she changed her name to Roxanne and she made history.
Roxanne's Revenge sold 250,000 copies in New York City alone. But it was her songs after Roxanne's Revenge that got the world grooving. But her career did not last more than a decade. At the age of 25, she took a break (more or less retired) from the music industry.
There were many factors that led to her hiatus. One of them was that Shanté was pregnant in her teen years. Then there was also the beef she had with KRS-One.
Talking to Breakfast Club, the hip-hop artist cleared the air about her short run hip-hop career. "One of the things about it was it was not financially beneficial for me at that time and I had a lot of responsibility," Shanté explains.
"Not only was I already a parent, already had my son, but I was responsible for my sister. So, being responsible for my family members, I needed things that were financially lucrative for me, and at that time it wasn't. I was a battle rapper. I had no intention of making records," she explained.
It is after 35 years that the artist is getting her due in form of the Netflix movie. Pharell William, who is one of the producers, said, "There are a lot of women that are first for a lot of things — and this is the first female rapper to like really break through and make executives pay attention... it gave a lot of girls the confidence to say that they could do this. Look at Latifah, look at Missy Elliott. [Shanté] took it to the next level... 35 years later she ends up with a film on Netflix," as reported by Page Six.
So, are you ready to watch Shante's story — from her childhood in the projects to her first rap battle with guys twice her age to cementing her first underground hit? What are you waiting for? Log into Netflix and start streaming.
The film stars Chanté Adams in the titular role along with Nia Long and Mahershala Ali in the cast.