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Ladies First: Roxanne Shanté Talks Preserving Hip Hop With Rock The Bells Festival & Giving The OGs Their Flowers

Nobody had any thought again within the early life of Hip Hop that the style could be the main power that it’s at this time. Roxanne Shanté was only a younger teen from Queens, New York when she started making a reputation for herself in music, and it was due to her that the well-known “Roxanne Wars” erupted within the Eighties. To name her a Rap pioneer could be an understatement, as Roxanne Shanté, born Lolita Shanté Gooden, lived and witnessed the very carving of a tradition that has dominated each facet of leisure worldwide.

This weekend, Roxanne is taking issues again to her hometown as she as soon as once more companions with Rock The Bells, however this time because the host of its competition. Roxanne Shanté’s look on the live performance is simply one other addition to her ongoing relationship with the model as she additionally acts because the host of the Rock The Bells Radio present Have a Good Day on SiriusXM. After we caught up along with her about this newest alternative, she was enthusiastic about reuniting with a number of of her pioneer friends to rejoice Hip Hop—a “household reunion,” as she put it.

“That is the distinction between the Rock The Bells Pageant and every other festivals. Most festivals are thrown collectively by individuals who, you already know, they decide some scorching artists, however for us, that is greater than that—it is a household reunion, and we’re trying so ahead to having the household come collectively, particularly after the pandemic. So, having the ability to do that…phenomenal. I inform all people, ‘This proper right here, when you have ever felt that you weren’t part of Hip Hop historical past, then that is your probability to be part of Hip Hop historical past.'”

Roxanne Shante
Nicholas Hunt / Employees / Getty Photographs

LL Cool J not solely based Rock The Bells, named after his traditional hit, however he’ll headline the competition that he helped curate. Followers will have the ability to watch a few of their favorites take over as performers embody Ice Dice, Rick Ross, Trina, Busta Rhymes, Lil Kim, Cam’ron, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, Fats Joe, Remy Ma, Jadakiss, and plenty of extra. Attendees will check out the “Trill Mealz Meals Courtroom,” the primary ever all Hip Hop-infused expertise of its form, that includes distributors corresponding to Nas’s Candy Chick, E-40’s Goon with the Spoon, Jadakiss and Kinds P‘s Juices for Life, Ghostface Killah‘s Killah Koffee, Mia X’s Group Whip Them Pots, and Bun B‘s Trill Burgers.

The preservation of Hip Hop, in all its kinds, is one thing that’s close to and pricey to Roxanne Shanté, and as somebody who has been immersed in its tradition, she is devoted to shining a light-weight on the OGs that deserve a sure degree of respect. As one of many handfuls of ladies who participated in Hip Hop’s inception, Roxanne has a lived expertise in contrast to every other. Nonetheless, in contrast to some gatekeepers, she’s providing her recommendation to the brand new era of ladies in Rap who need to form careers of longevity. She can also be sharing the names of women who helped her alongside the way in which and proceed to provide recommendation that retains her in line.

Learn our interview with Roxanne Shanté under and listen to extra concerning the Rock The Bells Pageant, the significance of giving our Hip Hop legends their flowers, and discover out who the Rap icon calls her “triple OGs.”

This interview has been barely edited for readability.

HNHH: Thanks a lot for taking the time at this time! I simply need to bounce proper into you telling me about your partnership with Rock The Bells, your participation within the competition, and every thing happening this weekend.

ROXANNE SHANTE: Okay, glorious! Properly, as you already know, that is the primary annual Rock The Bells Pageant, and what we’ve accomplished is we’ve gotten the greats of the greats in Hip Hop to all come collectively and carry out. However one of many issues about it’s that it permits me to point out how a lot I like Hip Hop. I get an opportunity to actually be a fan. Like, I do know that I am internet hosting, however I’m actually a Hip Hop fan. I like the tradition and it is an honor to have the ability to do that on such a big scale with Rock The Bells, particularly with those that are telling the story which have lived it.

See, that is the distinction between the Rock The Bells Pageant and every other festivals. Most festivals are thrown collectively by individuals who, you already know, they decide some scorching artists, however for us, that is greater than that—it is a household reunion, and we’re trying so ahead to having the household come collectively, particularly after the pandemic. So, having the ability to do that…phenomenal. I inform all people, “This proper right here, when you have ever felt that you weren’t part of Hip Hop historical past, then that is your probability to be part of Hip Hop historical past.”

I bear in mind being younger, rising up, and watching Hip Hop evolve into its totally different eras. I discover it vital to protect that catalyst period of Hip Hop historical past by persevering with to talk to pioneers corresponding to your self who helped set up the construction of the style. As somebody who has lived Hip Hop, speak to me about your view on the significance of creating certain that the artists who helped safe the inspiration proceed to be honored at festivals corresponding to this.

For me personally, it is a kind of issues that I have been ready for. I feel, out of all of the years that I have been in Hip Hop—and perhaps I should not even say years, I can say a long time, at this level—for many years that I have been concerned in Hip Hop, that that is lastly a time the place you are feeling comfy having the ability to inform your complete story, figuring out that Rock The Bells goes to protect it correctly. Persons are all the time saying that they have been going to inform their story or they wished to protect it, however they by no means need to protect it correctly. Being part of it allowed me to have the ability to let you know firsthand from somebody who was there; not somebody who examine it, not somebody who listened to it, not somebody who acquired a third-party story.

Now, you’re truly getting it from those that have been there, from those that created it. That is the rationale why I really feel so strongly about it. That is the rationale why after I acquired the decision from Rock The Bells even to take part in Rock The Bells as a radio station, after they stated, “We want so that you can come on and be one of many voices for Rock The Bells.” I used to be like, “Oh, completely,” as a result of they did not say, “Okay, you may’t nonetheless be Roxanne Shante.” Roxanne Shante is a bit a lot and all people cannot actually take it [laughs], however Rock The Bells understood that it was actually Hip Hop and that I wanted to try this.

It is wonderful that they reached out to you particularly, particularly as a girl in Rap. We’re seeing this large surge of feminine artists entering into the sport, proudly owning who they’re and exuding confidence. What recommendation would you give to younger ladies which can be getting into Hip Hop proper now, and even for these at their peaks, as somebody who has the expertise that you simply carry?

Primarily, the very very first thing that I all the time inform them is to have an awesome lawyer. I imply, it would not matter in case your hair’s tousled, you do not have to have a incredible make-up artist. You can afford her later upon getting an awesome lawyer. You realize, I additionally need you to grasp that it is a music enterprise. So, due to this fact, it’s a enterprise and it’s essential to deal with that.

I additionally wish to remind them that data are made in studios and never bedrooms. I feel typically, someplace alongside the road, that may have gotten confused. We’ve got so many nice artists that would have been larger artists had they not taken sure detours, however they did not take these detours on their very own. They have been sort of lured into that.

Due to this fact, I prefer it the place now they perceive that each one the data is true at their fingertips. They’ve the flexibility to have the ability to hearken to a Roxanne Shanté or a Rock The Bells who will inform the story dearly, who will crack jokes about a few of our losses to ensure that them to grasp how vital it’s to me that they win.

I like to hear girls in Hip Hop converse positively about different ladies that both supported them or gave them actually nice recommendation. Who’re some ladies throughout your time within the industry—I do know it is expansive—however amongst your friends, that simply edify you, preserve you going, or while you have been beginning out, simply had your again?

Properly, you already know, with regards to different ladies in Hip Hop, I’d undoubtedly need to say Pebblee Poo has all the time been an older sister to me on this sport. She’s all the time been somebody that I’ve been capable of speak to and say like, “Pay attention, that is what I am going via,” and he or she’d be like, “You realize what? Perhaps you are this incorrectly. Perhaps it’s best to take a look at it from this course, you already know, as a result of Shanie”—and so they name me Shanie—she’s like, “Shanie, I feel that is what it’s best to do, however you bought to do your personal factor, anyway.” So, typically, it was actually good for me to have the ability to hear another person’s story, whether or not I selected to take that route or not. I feel it is all about having the information to have the ability to make these totally different decisions. So, I actually thank Pebblee Poo for that.

I additionally thank Sha Rock, as a result of Sha Rock additionally occurs to be one among my Rock The Bells sisters, so far as LL Cool J‘s Rock The Bells radio. You realize, she’s now one among my Sirius XM sisters, and having the ability to go to her and speak to her about sure issues—as a result of most individuals say like, “Okay, if you have to get on stage, do you might have your plan?” I inform them on a regular basis, like, I do not know what the f*ck I’mma do after I hit the stage, I simply really feel it [laughs]. I am simply Hip Hop, so I do not know particularly what I will put on or what I will do.

Sha Rock, she sort of likes to maintain somewhat extra construction with that. She’s like, “Properly, at the very least have one factor that you already know you are undoubtedly going to do.” And I inform her on a regular basis, like, “Thanks for that.” You realize, if you do not have somebody to let you know that these are the issues it’s essential to have, or somewhat little bit of steering, you may actually get misplaced. Regardless that I’ve had a long time within the streets, now and again, all of us want to have the ability to return and go to our OGs. As a result of although I am thought of a double OG, you already know, these are my triple OGs.

This can be a query that I ask everybody: What’s one thing about Roxanne Shanté that’s usually unseen because of the veil of your celeb? The industry has its personal expectations of who an artist ought to be, followers usually undertaking who they need somebody to be, and infrequently that is not actuality. When that veil is eliminated, what’s one thing concerning the coronary heart of Roxanne Shanté that won’t translate to audiences due to their notion of you as an individual, if something?

You realize what? Roxanne Shante isn’t one among them as a result of I’ve by no means had a veil. I’ve all the time been an open ebook, even to the purpose of turning into a [Pharrell Williams-produced] film [Roxanne, Roxanne]. I feel when folks see me, they know that they’ll get a hug. They know that I am approachable as a result of they know me. So, there’s by no means been one thing about Roxanne Shante that hasn’t been revealed. They know that if you happen to cross the road, then Shante is gonna be Shante-ing [laughs]. However they know that if they need a hug or they wanna take an image, I will be Roxanne all day lengthy. So, I suppose that sort of sums up having the ability to be Roxanne and Shante.

So, no, I haven’t got something hidden from the general public. There’s not one other facet to me. What you see is what you get, on and off stage.

The Rock The Bells Pageant takes place on the Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, New York on Saturday, August 6. Take a look at extra concerning the occasion on its web site.

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