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Old School Reunion: U.T.F.O.

by Travis on December 1, 2008

With hip hop heads increasingly growing older and newer kids getting on board all the time, the “old school” is one of those expanding definitions. In my younger years, I pretty much thought anything that dropped before ’82 was “old school”. I remember getting tapes from Grandmaster Flash, Treacherous Three, and Spoonie G, and thinking that was the originators. And they still are, but you have eighteen year old kids that don’t really know who Audio Two, Awesome Dre, or Stezo really were. While I feel that if you are at ALL serious about being a true part of the culture that you must learn your history, I also realize that it’s not the youngsters faults either. I don’t expect a kid born in 1986 to automatically know who Just-Ice was. It’s not fair to them. I do think it’s important for those of us who were wearing VW emblems on fake gold ropes and wearing Kangols to at least offer the education when we can. In fact that was one of the emphasis when I started WYDU back in October of 2005, to enlighten, inform, and educate those that were looking for it.

In light of that original goal, we’ll start an ongoing series on WYDU. We’ll pick some “old school” artists, (probably from the early to late 80′s) and just highlight them, talking about their history and post some of their discography. If you’ve been reading the blog for long, you know that I’m notorious for starting a series and dragging it out, with no real rhyme or reason when I post something (the “So Corny, It’s Good” series has been going since WYDU’s conception), so you’ll never know exactly when I drop one of these. For this post, we’ll cover a group that I’ve always considered somewhat important in the transition from the “old school” as I know it (pre ’82 or Run DMC era) to the first phase of the Golden Age era of ’86-88, UTFO.

UTFO (Untouchable Force Organization)

U.T.F.O. (Select, 1985)
Skeezer Pleezer (Select, 1986)

Lethal (Select, 1987)
Doin’ It (Select, 1989)
Bag It & Bone It (Jive, 1991)

Doctor Ice Solo Discography:
The Mic Stalker (Jive, 1989)
Rely On Selph (Wrap, 1994)

UTFO was comprised of four members, Kangol, Doctor Ice, Educated Rapper (EMD) and DJ Mix Master Ice. The group would get it’s initial start when Kangol and Doctor Ice were dancers for another underrated group, Whodini, while The Educated Rapper and Mix Master Ice were already apart of a DJing crew. Mix Master Ice went to high school with Kangol and The Educated Rapper, so when Kangol and Doctor Ice joined together to form a group, they brought in the Mix Master Ice & The Educated Rapper. It would also be Kangol and Doctor Ice who would get the group aligned with Full Force, a production group who has had numerous production hits with a wide range of artists (and probably more well known for their rolls in the House Party movie). With the help of Full Force, they would sign to Select Records in 1983 or 1984 (depending on what you read). In the beginning, each member would have their own “costume” gimmick, with each member having stage attire. Doctor Ice was the “Hip-Hop Physician”, Mix Master Ice had a ninja thing going on, The Educated Rapper would wear the suit and tie and Kangol Kid was, yup you guessed it, dressed down with Kangol stuff. The crew dropped the single “Beats & Rhymes” in 1984 (according to discogs) to moderate success. It would be their groups second single and the b-side on that single that would forever cement their place in hip hop history.

One of the things that inspired this post was I picked up the single “Hangin’ Out” b/w “Roxanne, Roxanne” recently at a record swap. According to an interview with Mix Master Ice on, “Hangin’ Out” was Select’s first choice for a major single. Inspired heavily by Full Force’s production and R&B like style, the single contain a heavy dose of harmonizing that was made popular by early rap records. However, the a-side wouldn’t catch on. In another case of the b-side winning again, it was the singles b-side that swept the listener’s ears and started one of the biggest crazes to ever take over hip hop. “Roxanne, Roxanne” was reportedly an idea of B Fine of Full Force and by Mix Master Ice’s recounts, the song was thrown together. What would happen next probably took everyone by surprise. The song would be a huge hit among the hip hop fans and even garnered some mainstream success. It was the aftermath though, that would changed hip hop, answer records, and female MC’s roles in hip hop.

The first answer record would come in the form of Roxanne Shante’s “Roxanne’s Revenge” in 1984. With the help of Marley Marl, Tyrone “Fly Ty” Williams, and radio jock Mr. Magic, Roxanne Shante answer back record took off in the New York area. The original version was done over the instrumental track of the original “Roxanne, Roxanne”, but would later be redone over an original beat after some legalities were brought up (presumably forced by Select Records). UTFO would answer the same year with “Calling Her a Crab” (Roxanne Part 2). While never coming directly out and calling her by name, they recounted their story on the original “Roxanne, Roxanne” track, saying they never really wanted her and she was a skeezer. This would open up the doors for everyone and their dog making “Roxanne” records. It would also launch the careers of Roxanne Shante, The Real Roxanne, and Sparky D. Some of the highlights of the many, many Roxanne records (some 30 plus) include (as jacked from wikipedia)

  • “Sparky’s Turn (Roxanne, You’re Through)” by Sparky D, a feisty woman who criticizes Roxanne (Shanté, in particular) for being disrespectful toward UTFO, and being too young, both for them to pursue, and to be an MC. Even though the record defended UTFO, they were reported to not be appreciative of this additional unauthorized response. It was after this that the saga really took off.
  • “Roxanne’s Doctor – The Real Man” by Dr. Freshh, who also insulted Roxanne as having no class.
  • “Do the Roxanne” by Dr. Rocx & Co., which created a dance based on Roxanne. (Referred to Shanté’s cracky wacky voice, as Sparky D had described it in her record). A rare instance of a record in the series not aimed at dissing someone.
  • “The Parents of Roxanne” by Gigolo Tony & Lacey Lace, which answered both UTFO and Sparky D. It drew references from both “Roxanne’s Revenge” and “The Real Roxanne” as if both represented the true Roxanne.
  • “Yo, My Little Sister (Roxanne’s Brothers)” by Crush Groove (no relation to Krush Groove), which answered UTFO, Sparky D, and Dr. Freshh.
  • “Rappin’ Roxy: Roxanne’s Sister” by D.W. and the Party Crew featuring Roxy .
  • Another record answered Roxanne Shanté by a young woman calling herself “Little Ice,” who told her to “make up her mind” if she wanted a man or not.
  • “Roxanne’s a Man (The Untold Story — Final Chapter)” by Ralph Rolle, which claimed that Roxanne was actually a man who had been sodomized in prison, and then having “lost his manhood” turned himself into a woman after his release; and insulted UTFO for not realizing this.

UTFO would release their debut album in 1985, a self titled album. Riding high on the whole Roxanne craze, it was probably their most successful. Coupled with an electro type sound on the first album, the group made some noise around the nation. They would be apart of the Fresh Fest tour with Run DMC, The Fat Boys, Kurtis Blow and others. Their second album, Skeezer Pleezer, was also produced Full Force. It was heavily drenched in the R&B sound and geared more toward the ladies. This album was also minus the Educated Rapper, who was going through personal ordeals. The change from the first album to the second album was the type of thing that would become a trend with the group, as each album they released was different than anything they made before. Their third LP Lethal seemed to have a gangsta overtone to it, which only Just Ice and Schoolly were coming that way at the time. They did an anti-drug track “Lethal” with metal group Anthrax, before Public Enemy would do it in ’91. The fourth album, Doin’ It, (I can’t find my copy, if someone can hook it up, I’d be most grateful) was, despite what the cover might have looked like, somewhat on the pro-black tip. The fifth and final studio album from the group, Bag It, Bone It was surprisingly (sarcasm noted) about…, sort of on that 2 Live tip.

Doctor Ice would release the solo opus, The Mic Stalker, in 1989, which in all honesty, I enjoyed more than any of the group efforts. It’s a hodge podge of styles, everything the reggae styles of “Feelin Irie”, to the R&B crooning of “Love Jones” & “True Confessions”, Miami bass of “Bass Up, Bass Down”, and some gangsta stylings of “Nobody Move”. It was a personal favorite of mine that year. I was totally unaware of his sophomore release Rely on Selph that dropped on Wrap in 1994 until last year. It’s nothing special, but if you are a fan of the UTFO group, you might as well track it down.

ANY UTFO 12 inch releases anyone has, please toss them up. I slept when they were up on the BTF forums. As well as Doin’ It, I’d be most appreciative

UTFO - UTFO (Select, 1985)

A1 Leader Of The Pack (4:57)
A2 Beats And Rhymes (5:52)
A3 Roxanne, Roxanne (5:10)
A4 Fairy Tale Lover (5:40)
B1 Lisa Lips (6:00)
B2 Hanging Out (5:51)
B3 Bite It (3:49)
B4 The Real Roxanne (4:30)
B5 Cal
ling Her A Crab (5:04)

UTFO – Skeezer Pleezer (Select, 1986)

1 Just Watch (5:34)
2 Where Did You Go? (6:14)
3 We Work Hard (5:18)
4 Kangol & Doc (5:49)
5 The House Will Rock (5:09)
6 Split Personality (4:31)
7 Pick Up The Pace (3:24)
8 Bad Luck Barry (4:53)

U.T.F.O. – Lethal (Select, 1987)

A1 Mo’ Bass (4:48)
A2 Ya Cold Wanna Be With Me (5:13)
A3 Lethal (4:39)
Featuring – Anthrax
A4 Diss (4:30)
A5 S.W.A.T. (Get Down) (3:40)
B1 The Ride (4:21)
B2 Ask Yo Mama (3:04)
B3 Let’s Get It On (5:20)
B4 So Be It (1:44)
B5 Burning Bed (4:50)
B6 Master – Baby (3:19

UTFO – Bag It, Bone It (Jive, 1991)

1 Something By U.T.F.O. (5:35)
2 I’m A Dog (4:35)
3 Blackman Can’t Catch A Cab (2:33)
4 Ego Is A Motherfucker (3:46)
5 If You Don’t Wanna Get Pregnant… (6:25)
6 Hoein´ For The Dough (4:12)
7 Beef Pattie (3:26)
8 Bone-in (Grab A Hoe) (4:28)
9 I’m The Master (3:29)
10 Life In The Projects (4:04)
11 Peace (2:39)
12 Something For The Head (5:41)
13 I Got My Eyes On You (3:37)
14 It´s An E & Ice Thang (3:30)

UTFO – UTFO Hits (Select Records, 1996)

1 Soul Train’s Don Cornelius’ Intro
2 Ya Cold Wanna Be Wit Me (5:15)
3 Hip Hop Props: (Vinnie Of Naughty By Nature)
4 Split Personality (5:23)
5 Leader Of The Pack (4:57)
6 Hip Hop Props: (DJ Red Alert)
7 Bite It (3:50)
8 The Ride (4:26)
9 Hip Hop Props: (M.C. Lyte)
10 Roxanne, Roxanne (5:10)
11 Pick Up The Pace (3:11)
12 Hip Hop Props: (Tuffy Of Video Music Box)
13 Wanna Rock (5:00)
14 Hip Hop Props: (Big Daddy Kane)
15 Bits & Pieces (3:56)
16 Masterbaby (3:22)
17 Hip Hop Props: (Run Of Run-DMC)
18 Fairytale Lover (5:37)
19 Hip Hop Props: (Prince Paul Of The Gravediggaz)
20 Lollipop (4:16)


Doctor Ice – The Mic Stalker (Jive, 1989)

1 Bass Up – Bass Down (4:09)
2 Everybody Git Funky (3:14)
3 Nobody Move (3:21)
4 Love Jones (5:05)
Featuring – Cheryl Pepsii Riley , Full Force
5 Sue Me! (4:10)
6 Brooklyn To L.A. (3:41)
7 Fever (3:51)
8 Feelin’ Irie (5:12)
9 The Mic Stalker (2:56)
10 Word To The Wise (3:21)
11 The Chillologist (4:39)
12 Word Up Doc! (3:21)
13 I Ain’t Goin’ (4:07)
14 Just A Little Bit (Oh Doctor, Doctor) (3:02)
15 True Confessions (5:44)

Doctor Ice & R.O.S. – Rely On Selph (Wrap Records, 1994)

1 Brother Gotta Rap (3:32)
2 What Ever You Need (3:59)
3 Possessed (4:02)
4 I Keep Forgettin (4:25)
5 All Night Long (3:27)
6 Ya Doin’ Me Wrong (4:43)
7 She’s All About The Dollar (3:42)
8 Lyrical Worker (3:30)
8 Take It To
The Streets (3:46)
10 Buc Wild (4:25)
11 Rely On Selph (4:02)

The Real Roxanne – The Real Roxanne (Select Records, 1988)

A1 Roxanne’s On A Roll
A2 Look But Don’t Touch
A3 Early Early
A4 Infatuated
A5 Luv Scandal
A6 Bang Zoom (Let’s Go-Go)
B1 Don’t Even Feel It
B2 Her Bad Self
B3 Get Up On The Get Down
B4 Oh Darlin’ (Like We Used To)
B5 Respect
B6 Howie’s Teed Off
B7 Rap To Me
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