MUSIC

UTFO

utfo

UTFO (Untouchable Force Organization) was a legendary and iconic four-man rap group, consisting of rappers The Kangol Kid, Doctor Ice, and Educated Rapper, along with DJ Mix Master Ice, that burst onto the burgeoning rap music scene in 1984, when they released this single, ROXANNE ROXANNE

This outwardly simple song, in which the three rappers each tell their story of approaching and being rejected by a new girl in their neighborhood, was produced by R&B group Full Force and launched what seemed like dozens of answer records. I was in Elementary School at the time, and I remember how almost every week a new “Roxanne” record was coming. Roxanne’s Revenge, Roxanne’s Parents, Roxanne’s A Man, ad infinitum. It was quite exciting for awhile. Later that year, the group released their debut self-titled album on Select Records, which included Roxanne Roxanne along with 8 more songs, all produced by Full Force.

The album opens with LEADER OF THE PACK, an ode to the skills of their DJ, Mix Master Ice. A great uptempo song, in which the guys trade lines back and forth as skillful as Run-DMC.

The 2nd song is BEATS AND RHYMES which has an infectious electro beat.

Then they with the third song they totally genres. FAIRYTALE LOVER is a ballad, sung by The Kangol Kid (who also wrote it). It is surprisingly good.

LISA LIPS is perhaps an attempt to recreate the success of Roxanne Roxanne, as once again the rappers each rap about a particular woman in their neighborhood. But this time the theme is that the girl is a slut that Kangol Kid was originally interested in but Doctor Ice and Educated Rapper talk him out of it by telling him about her promiscuity. In hindsight it’s probably a bit misogynistic by modern standards, but it’s a thumping beat and some rock guitars in the background that make this nice to listen.

HANGING OUT is an uptempo song with a nice beat and catchy chorus. This was actually their first single, and Roxanne Roxanne was just the B-side, but radio stations began playing that instead. But it’s a good track.

BITE IT is a fun song featuring an uncredited human beat box which may or may not have actually been Doug E. Fresh, in which the guys rap about “biters” (others who copy them and try to steal their rhymes).

THE REAL ROXANNE was UTFO and Full Force’s attempt to create an authorized answer record to Roxanne Roxanne, hiring a woman named Elease Jack to play the part of Roxanne and rap over their original beat. It’s a decent record, but I must say that it’s just not as good as Roxanne’s Revenge by Roxanne Shante.

And the finale track on the album is CALLING HER A CRAB (ROXANNE PART 2) which was the group’s attempt to finally put an end to the Roxanne wars altogether. In this song they go after Roxanne with vicious rhymes attacking her, her appearance, and her family. It’s brutal (but fun).

Overall this is a solid album, all three rappers were great and complement each other’s styles well in each song. No matter what the subject matter is, they always sound like they’re having FUN on each track. And much credit goes to Full Force for their production. One trademark they used with this group is that often they would switch the beat for each rapper’s verse, which was very effective.

CHACEBOOK RATING: FIVE STARS

The complete album has not been released digitally, and the CD is out of print but can be found on Amazon, while some of these song are available on their Greatest Hits album on iTunes.

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