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Pop And Jazz Capsules : Devolution Of Rap

July 16, 1985|CRAIG LEE

In the years since it was spawned as an urban street music in the ghettos of the Bronx, rap has devolved from socially significant message to black-teen bubblegum.

Consider the silly "Roxanne" fad. Inspired by U. T. F. O.'s hit record "Roxanne, Roxanne," several records dealing with this Roxanne woman have been released, including one by the Real Roxanne. Both U. T. F. O. and the Real Roxanne appeared at the Olympic Auditorium Saturday night to a crowd of hyper-excited teen-agers. The main point of this function was to party, party, party and on that level it was a success.

All the groups performed without bands, as deejays provided the backing by scratch-mixing records on turntables. U. T. F. O. is a marginally talented group: three men with attitude, moves, a sense of rap rhythm and mediocre singing voices. Preceding the New Yorkers was Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, performing--twice--its hit "I Wonder If I Take You Home," a slight disco nursery rhyme. The Real Roxanne herself was pretty and sassy and little else. The show was opened by the Boogie Boys, two dapper gents who did some wiggly dancing and interesting singing, and actually displayed musical promise.

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