(BlackPressRadio.net) – Before Cardi B, before Nicki Minaj, heck, before Salt-N-Pepa there was Roxanne Shanté, one of the first female MCs to make a dent in the world of hip-hop. The tumultuous story of the New York rapper is told in “Roxanne Roxanne,” Netflix’s earnest, but scattershot, hip-hop biopic that works counterintuitively to the modern music biopic blueprint.
That’s largely because Roxanne Shanté’s tale works counter to most hip-hop success stories. The success she earned came from respect, and from carving out a place in hip-hop history from a track that was recorded on-the-fly in between trips to the laundry room. The fame, the riches, the platinum-selling albums and the big tours we now associate with hip-hop success eluded Shanté, born Lolita Shanté Gooden in New York’s Queensbridge projects. – Detroit News
This origin story may be accurate, but make no mistake: It’s also made for Hollywood. And yet what distinguishes “Roxanne Roxanne,” a sensitively observed new movie with a dynamite performance by Chanté Adams, is that it marries a traditional hip-hop biopic, a form long dominated by male rappers, with a more idiosyncratic and deeply felt slice of life. – New York Times
Non-aficionados won’t know the name Roxanne Shanté, and even among fans she might have receded to the realm of pop-culture footnote. But the Queens hip-hop prodigy’s story grabs the mic in “Roxanne Roxanne,” a film that breaks the musical biopic mold in ways that are sometimes frustrating and frequently exhilarating.
Writer-director Michael Larnell (“Cronies”) treats the wider scope of rap history as a fractured kaleidoscopic backdrop. That leaves disorienting gaps in an otherwise electrifying first-person chronicle. At the movie’s core are the intertwined threads of sisterhood and treacherous men. Warnings of the latter danger are drummed into Shanté by her hard-bitten mother (Nia Long, superb), but still she falls for drug dealer Cross (Mahershala Ali), all smooth flash and hair-trigger jealousy. – Los Angeles Times