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WMG Forced To Pay $217,000 For Rapper’s Ph.D

Roxanne Congratulations to recent Cornell graduate Dr. Roxanne Shanté, best known for the hip hop "answer" classic, Roxanne’s Revenge.

All $217,000 of Shante's education was paid for by the  Warner Music after Shante forced them to honor a clause in the rapper’s 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 only started writing checks after she threatened to go public with her story of a then 14 old rapper who signed a contract with the giant label, sold 250,000 copies of a single that spawned the "answer" rap craze and never received a penny in royalties.

Shante'  believes that Warner considered the clause a throwaway, never believing a teen mother in public housing would ever attend college. ""Dr. Shante's life is inspiring," said hip hop entrepreneur Russell Simmons "She was a go-getter who rose from the struggle and went from hustling to teaching. She is a prime example that you can do anything, and everything is possible."

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  1. Definitely one of the awesomest stories I’ve heard in 2009 so far. She’s one of the forgotten greats, too, I’m glad she got something to work out in her favor.

  2. I have two thoughts on this:
    1. I think staying independent is what is going to work best for most artists/bands. And most aren’t going to get a major label offer anyway. But as this case illustrates, if you have the right deal, you can make the major label system work for you. That’s why you can’t discount all bands that sign to major labels until you know the specifics of the deals they have signed.
    2. Everyone should have a Plan B. Music, like sports, tends to be a young person’s game. Chances are you won’t be doing it to make a living once you are past a certain age. So keep other career options in mind for that time in your life when you want to change direction.

  3. Hey, just to clarify some points: we looked into this a bit more, and the Daily News got some of the story wrong. She did not get her PhD at Cornell as is claimed in the story (and in other press reports). Cornell doesn’t even have a clinical psych program. She *did* get a *Masters* from Cornell Medical, and then went back to Marymount for the PhD… which she got in 2001. So, not that recent.
    Still, yes, it’s a great story.

  4. It’s not just that the Daily News got this story wrong. She never went to Cornell. Check Cornell’s records (you can do it online: ). This entire story is a scam:
    1) Ph.D programs are 100% funded, there would be no reason for WMG to pay for it in the first place.
    2) She sounds absolutely ridiculous (see youtube) talking about psych, doesn’t know the first thing about it.

  5. P.S. Mike, as far as the new version of the story you’ve been fed (that she went back to Marymount for a Ph.D.) Marymount Manhattan is (again, just check the website), strictly an undergraduate liberal arts college. NO Ph.D. programs.

  6. Yeah, the thing is, the Sun is a student paper, and the gent was snowed as well, she is unfortunately a serially untruthful young lady. All you have to do is hear her speak about psych to know she doesn’t have a Ph.D from Cornell…

  7. The article talks about an academic conference on hip hop. So I don’t think the fact that the article was in a student paper has anything to do with the accuracy of her academic credentials. Again, I suppose the best place to go is to the University for the correct info.

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