Fly by night rappers, mainly men singing about hoods and shee-it, litter the annals of music history. But there has been a plethora of real talent in rap circles, such as Public Enemy, Ice-T, Beastie Boys and Liverpool’s John Barnes. Female stars are slightly harder to come by but when they do make it they all look up to trio that was Salt-N-Pepa.
The hip hop threesome featured DJ Spinderella (Dee Roper), Salt (Cheryl James) and Pepa (Sandra Denton) and with their original names something like a Monkees tribute act that would play at Butlins, it is easy to see why Salt-N-Pepa became the band’s nom-de-plume instead of Cheryl-N-Sandra ft. DJ Dee.
Salt-N-Pepa sold over 15 million records in a phenomenal career, peaking between 1988 & 1993. Their seminal hit Push It gave them a global voice and from there they launched other massive songs into the public’s Walkmans. Let’s Talk About Sex, Do You Want Me and Whatta Man all crashed the top ten in the UK and the planet’s premier female rap act were flying. Then, as everything is ephemeral, they split [officially in 2002, some five years after their last release].
But as the grass is not always greener, they got back together .
As is traditional in American music, they were wheeled out for an award celebrating their life’s work and performed a couple of songs and remembered what they loved about the music business: being adored.
In February this year, the trio embarked on a tour with other legends of hip hop and host of people no one had ever heard of but as there were no true legends who actually wanted to be on the tour they got to go. Alongside artists such as Whodini, Naughty By Nature and Slick Rick, the Salt-N-Pepa’s Legends of Hip Hop Tour was born.
To date there has been no talk of any new releases from Salt-N-Pepa. So aside from the tour:
- Spinderella DJs on Californian radio and in the clubs on America’s west coast.
- Salt lives in New York and has two kids. She is passionate about her gospel music as well as her work with her team of seasoned pros. She also appeared in the reality TV series The Salt-N-Pepa Show on VH1
- Pepa released an autobiography in 2008 and you won’t be surprised to hear she appeared alongside Salt in VH1’s The Salt-N-Pepa Show
The hip hop trio were, and possibly still are, arguably the most important female group in rap. In a male dominated industry they came out with stonking tracks and attitude, making a couple of years bridging the late 80s/early 90s their own. Countless awards from MTV to Grammy are testament to the impact they had.
James A. Stewart