The Real Roxanne: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

by: Todd Davis

“[Kangol] Yo, EMD [E.M.D.] Yeah, what’s up man? [Kangol] There goes that girl they call Roxanne. She’s all stuck up [E.M.D.] Why you say that? [Kangol]’Cause she wouldn’t give a guy like me no rap…”

Remember that? Well, The Real Roxanne, nee’ Adelaida Martinez, was the specific lady that the three gentlemen of U.T.F.O.; Kangol Kid, the Educated Rapper, also known as E.M.D., and Doctor Ice, were talking greasy about when they dropped their classic ‘80’s hit, ‘Roxanne, Roxanne,’ which sparked the, then controversial, now legendary, “Roxanne Wars.”

After dropping a pair of mediocre selling solo albums, her self-titled debut {1988} and its’ follow-up, Go Down (But Don’t Bite It), in ’92, on Select Records, The Real Roxanne just completely dropped off the industry’s radar


Welcome back! It’s good to see you finally returning to music…

The Real Roxanne: Thanks for the welcome, that’s sweet. However, I don’t believe I ever left, being that I am, and always will be, a part of “Rap’s History.”

Where in the heck have you been all of these years?

The Real Roxanne: I’ve been living life just like everyone else, (and) enjoying the many blessings God has brought forth to my life, and continues to do so; AMEN. I’ve been working in the healthcare field for fourteen years now as a Senior Patient Care Assistant — Eight of them in the emergency department. I am currently in college for the past few years getting my degree in nursing, with forensics as my specialty, where I will move forward to becoming a practitioner. I work full-time at the hospital, and I attend the college part-time, so it’s taking a little longer than expected. But, I’m half-way done. My main focus is that it is getting done, and with God’s guidance.

Why did you stay gone for so long? Was it fully intentional?

The Real Roxanne: You know, I will always have love for music in general, (but) I don’t have love for the instability the music business “can” offer. The idea of relying on “mankind” to pave my future brings a sense of insecurity, no matter how gifted or talented you may be. Most of the time, you will end up following man’s will, and not God’s. In the music business, I’ve learned a lot of good things, and saw a lot of bad things. It’s matured me a lot more than I certainly expected. That is one of the good things I got from it. Another good thing is that I will always be a part of “Rap’s History,” and that is a positive accomplishment in my life. I brought “life” to a character, Roxanne, (that’s) considered a phenomenon in music history in general. I actually lived that, and that was “REAL.” I still live as Roxanne and will die as Roxanne, when regarding the music industry, and that’s deep! I wanted to take overall control of my life, and that is why I chose to step back from the public’s eyes and ears. I needed to re-establish my relationship with my CREATOR, and pursue things that were a lot more promising and with God’s approval. I’ve been in the studio experimenting on tracks here and there, (but) nothing is set (in) concrete yet. I can tell you that it will be interesting, and perhaps quite unexpected. I want to share my transition with people who care to be interested. So, that’s one thing to be expected. I’m working with various people, and they don’t necessarily have big names in the industry, but they are truly gifted and blessed with talent. Some of the music is Reggaeton, some Reggaeton mixed with Hip-Hop, (and) some are old school tracks. So, when I say we are experimenting, this is just an idea of what I mean.

How has your sound evolved over the years?

The Real Roxanne: It would differ in a way that people get to hear who I “Really” am, and what I have to say, which no offense to my past co-writers, is good food for the mind. You get to hear a person speak, and not a character that can be limited. There is more freedom of expression when you get to be yourself. I will always aim to do better than, (and) that is a common factor for most of us, I believe. 

When did you actually first start rapping?

The Real Roxanne: I started rapping at 17. Before that I was into writing poetry. I hooked up with a group of guys I went to school with, who formed a rap group, and they knew I wrote, so they asked me to join the group. We began to do shows locally, (and) competing in shows at times. We had our first show competition at the famous FEVER (nightclub), where we came in first place. I still have my FEVER trophy — It’s a classic antique! From that time on, I continued till I met one of the guys from Full Force, Paul Anthony.

You’re from Brooklyn, N.Y., yeah? Whose music did you grow up on?

I am a Brooklyn native, and I really am a music geek. What I mean is: I like all (types) of music; from The Beatles to some of 50 Cent’s music. I have an ear for music. I know when something is going to be big. However, I first liked rap when (Jimmy Spicer’s ‘Adventures Of…) Super Rhyme,’ and all those originators came out; (The) Cold Crush Brothers, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, etcetera. Wow, I was a little kid just trying to get my dance on then. I was not expecting any of this to fall on my lap. I guess you can say it was destiny. 

How did you even hook up with the guys from U.T.F.O. [Untouchable Force Organization], and later come to be known as The Real Roxanne?

Ironic enough, I briefly met Doc Ice and Kangol (Kid) at the Albee Square Mall in Brooklyn, and, like Roxanne, I paid them no mind when they tried to get their rap on. All this was taking place while Paul Anthony and I were just becoming friends. Full Force was looking for someone to play the permanent role of Roxanne, even though they had already cut the track with someone they picked out of a club, whom, by the way, had absolutely no rap experience. They utilized her for an answer back to outbid Roxanne Shante’s track. It seems that while they tried to create this character, they were having issues with this individual and her mother, so I was told, and that’s when I was asked by Paul Anthony if I would audition for the guys, and I said sure, and I did, and I slipped on the glass shoes. And, from there, I kept on walking in the shoes of THE REAL Roxanne! Trust me, it was a battle, it wasn’t easy. It seemed like I had walked into a mess, and I had to work hard to clean it up. There is no first or second Roxanne, there is only one who lived the life of THE REAL Roxanne, or Roxanne, and that is me! No one can ever take that away. I woke up and fed her, bathed her, clothed her, nourished her, brought life to the character, flew on airplanes, even though I have a fear for flying, (and) dealt with the nonsense that at times approached her. I woke up at all types of hours for interviews, video shoots, (to) hurry up we got to make this plane…Well you get the picture! This business takes a lot of dedication. It’s not all glamour and fun. The point of making the ‘Roxanne Roxanne’ video, besides the fact that it needed one, was to show the people who THE REAL Roxanne is, and, adamantly saying, still am! Full Force also felt they owed that to me for all the B****S*** that I went through, and the hard work I was dedicating myself to. So, does that answer your question? I don’t view things with regards to Roxanne the way others might, because I lived it. All of my inspirations now come from God. The key to my success overall, is making God a part of everything I do.

What do your future plans in entertainment entail?

I am still constructing my entertainment company, and as for my publishing that’s another story. As we speak, I have a lawyer looking into my publishing that suddenly disappeared out of the company it was contracted to. This is one of the many downfalls of (the) music business that just keeps festering. However, it is being taken care of. 

How has music changed since your whole inception into it? Are you content with today’s Hip-Hop?

WOW, the big question. Am I happy with rap music today? Well…Yes and no. Yes, because I knew from when I was asked on interviews back in the ’80’s that rap was not going to die out. I said it would branch off, but it will not die out, it is here to stay. I don’t like what most of it has become, but that’s with most music and most entertainment in general. 

What would people be most surprised to know about The Real Roxanne?

That I’m a PROUD GRANDMOTHER! (And,) when I’m taking care of the very ill, that inspires me to keep giving. The joy and comfort I bring is vital (to) the lives of these people. I feel blessed and honored to be of help in the time of need. (Also,) I pretty much am a no holds barred individual. People will get to know me, if anything, through my music, or how ever way God sees fit. 

What do you find yourself doing in your down-time?

Spending quality time with family and close friends! I also take time out to “personally” answer the beautiful people on My Space that write to me. 

What is your biggest Hip-Hop moment?

The biggest, and always will be the highlight of my music career, is that (I) am embedded in the history of rap music. 

Futuristically speaking, where do you see yourself going from here?

I see myself doing God’s WILL! Whatever that may be I’m sure it’s going to be awesome. I will be working my way on to doing shows in the very near future — Hopefully this Summer God willing. I have created my show tracks, (and) I will continue rehearsal when I’m done with this semester. I’m currently taking Biological Anthropology. I’m doing great, with a 4.0 G.P.A.! 

And, your former adversary, Roxanne Shante’, was that rivalry real or was it staged for the most part?

OH, the not so big question about Shante’! Well, no I personally didn’t have a feud with Shante’. She was basically going with the flow of the controversy. I believe most didn’t expect me to be the trooper I am, so it kind of twisted some people. My presence, I believe at that time, intimidated her, as well as others. Shante’ has her accomplishments and no one can take that from her, as well as the rest of us and no one can take that from us. I think at times she may have taken this Roxanne controversy a bit too serious. I was more focused on moving on to bigger and more positive things. I had a lot on my plate, so the last thing I had time for was feeding into negative publicity. And, I didn’t care if it sold. Not the kind of memories I want to share with my grandchildren.

And, your old friends in Full Force and U.T.F.O., do you all still remain in touch?

As for the guys (in) U.T.F.O., I still talk to Doc (Ice) and Mix Master (Ice). I won’t get into the other two [Kangol Kid and Educated Rapper], because it wouldn’t be fair. They are not here to speak for themselves. I do speak to Bowlegged Lou from Full Force once in a blue. I still talk to (Hitman) Howie (Tee) as well, and DJ Wiz of Kid ‘n Play — I (am) not in total hiatus.

Do you have any parting words?

I want to thank ALL those REALSTERS who have kept it real in support of me, who acknowledge the truth for what it is, as well as THE REAL for who she is — My blessings to ALL! See U ALL SOON. LIVE, LOVE, PROSPER…THE CHOSEN 1.