• Hip-hop female group formed in 1985 from Queens, New York. The members of the trio were Salt (Cheryl James), Pepa (Sandra Denton) and Spinderella (Deidra Roper). All three occasionally contributed to songwriting.
  • In 1985, James and Denton met while studying nursing in community college. They also worked at Sears. Another worker at the store was aspiring record producer Hurby Azor. Azor asked James and Denton to record a rap song for a class project. The song was titled The Showstoppa, and it ended up getting some airplay on a New York City rap radio station. The duo decided to form a group, along with DJ Latoya Hanson, calling themselves Super Nature. An independent record label liked their single and released it nationally as The Show Stoppa. It managed to chart on the R&B chart. They decided to change their name to Salt-N Pepa because one of the lyrics to the song was “right now I’m gonna show you how it’s supposed to be ‘Cause we, the Salt and Pepa MCs…” and people would call radio station requesting The Show Stoppa by Salt and Pepper.
  • By September 1985, Salt-N-Pepa was signed to a record label, and the following year they released their debut studio album, Hot, Cool & Vicious. A couple of singles were modest hits. One single was Tramp, and the B-side was a song not on the album, titled Push It. In late 1987, a San Francisco DJ produced a remix version of Push It. The remixed Push It was released as a single and it became a hit, reaching #19 on the Hot 100 chart, #2 in the UK and top 10 in many other countries. Ultimately it received a Grammy nomination, and it made Rolling Stone’s 2003 list of the Greatest Songs of All Time (#446). Hot, Cold & Vicious subsequently was reissued to include Push It, and the album was certified platinum – Salt-N-Pepa was the first female rap act to have a platinum album.
  • When the first album was released, Salt, Pepa and Azor decided to replace their DJ, since Hanson was unreliable in attending rehearsals and appearances. Sixteen-year-old Roper auditioned and was given the job, along with the stage name of Spinderella.
  • Now established as rare female stars in the developing rap industry, they released their second album in 1988 – A Salt With a Deadly Pepa. Three singles charted on the Dance and R&B charts – Shake Your Thang, Get Up Everybody and a cover of Twist and Shout. Their breakout album followed in 1990. Blacks’ Magic included their first single to reach the top of the Hot Rap Songs chart – Expression. Two other successful singles were Do You Want Me (#21 on the Hot 100 and #7 on the Rap Songs chart) and Let’s Talk About Sex (#13 on the Hot 100). Let’s Talk About Sex reached #1 in eight international countries and #2 in the UK. They received their second Grammy nomination with the song.
  • Their most successful album was 1993’s Very Necessary. The album peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and ultimately was certified 5x platinum – the first rap album by a female act to achieve multi-platinum status. Two singles topped the Hot Rap Songs chart – Shoop and Whatta Man – and the songs peaked at #4 and #3 respectively on the Hot 100 chart. A third single from the album, None of Your Business, won the Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1995. Meanwhile, Whatta Man won three MTV Video Music Awards.
  • In 1997, Salt-N-Pepa severed their relationship with Azor and they signed with a new record label. In October that year, Brand New was released as their first album with the label. However, the label went bankrupt soon after, so their was little promotion for the record. As such, only two singles were released with modest success. After touring in 1999, the group had no more recording obligations, and they disbanded in 2002.
  • In 2005, the trio appeared on VH1’s Hip Hop Honors as honorees, and the following year they performed on the program. This led to the reformation of Salt-N-Pepa in 2007. A reality show was created called The Salt-N-Pepa Show on VH1 that documented their day to day lives – it ran for 14 episodes. The group performed one-off shows for several years, and they toured several times during the 10s. In 2019, Spinderella was fired from the group – today, they perform as a duo, with a guest DJ.
  • Salt-N-Pepa were early pioneers of rap, and really, they were the first big female rap act. Check out the video to their breakthrough hit, Push It.

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