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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Roxanne Shante's Real Life Revenge To Warner Music Group

In the ultimate case of life following art, recent Cornell graduate Dr. Roxanne Shanté (best known for the hip hop "answer" classic, Roxanne’s Revenge) got her own personal revenge on Warner Music after she forced them to honor a clause in her contract which required them to pay for her education for life.

"They kept stumbling over their words, and they didn't have an exact reason why they were telling me no," Shante told the Daily News. WMG, who was on the hook for the full amount of $217,000, only started writing checks after she threatened to go public with her story. She signed the contract with the giant label when she was 14 years old, sold 250,000 copies of a single that spawned the "answer" rap craze, but never received a penny in royalties (where have you heard that one before?). Shante is known for her ability to improvise entire songs, and Roxanne's Revenge was reportedly written while it was being recorded.

Shante' believes that Warner considered the clause a throwaway, never believing a teen mother in public housing would ever attend college. This is sort of like Fox Pictures giving George Lucas the merchandising rights to Star Wars, never believing that it would amount to anything (although on a completely different scale).

The lesson here is to never be afraid to ask for anything when negotiating an agreement, no matter how outrageous it may seem at the time. You never know when the outrageous item just might turn in your favor.

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