Last updated

Salt-n-Pepa 2013.jpg
Salt-N-Pepa performing at the Canberra Theatre in Australia, 2013
Background information
Also known asSuper Nature
Origin Queens, New York, U.S.
Years active
  • 1985–2002
  • 2005–present
Past members

Salt-N-Pepa (also stylized as Salt 'N' Pepa or Salt 'N Pepa) is an American hip-hop group formed in New York City in 1985. [3] [4] [5] [6] Group members included Salt (Cheryl James), Pepa (Sandra Denton), and DJ Spinderella (Deidra Roper). They were signed to Next Plateau Records and released their single "Push It" in 1987, which hit number one in three countries and became a top 10 or top 20 hit in various countries. Their debut album, Hot, Cool & Vicious , sold more than 1 million copies in the US, making them the first female rap act to achieve gold and platinum status. [7] Their fourth album, Very Necessary , sold over 7 million copies worldwide (5 million in the U.S.), making it the highest-selling album by a female rap act in history at the time. [7] [8]


Salt-N-Pepa have sold over 15 million records worldwide, [9] making them one of the bestselling rap acts of all time, male or female. The group has been nominated for a Grammy Award several times. The trio won the 1995 Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for their song "None of Your Business", making them one of the first female rap acts to win a Grammy Award, along with Queen Latifah, who won during the same year. [10] Their success in rap and hip hop culture has earned them the honorific title "The First Ladies of Rap and Hip Hop". [11]


1985–1987: Formation and early years

In mid-1985, Brooklyn native Cheryl James met Queens resident Sandra Denton, both studying nursing at Queensborough Community College. The pair became close friends and co–workers at Sears. Co-worker Hurby "Luv Bug" Azor was studying record production at the Center of Media Arts and asked James and Denton to record for him as a class project. [12] This resulted in the single "The Showstoppa", an answer record to Doug E. Fresh's hit single "The Show" [6] by the duo, who originally called themselves Super Nature, along with DJ Latoya Hanson in late 1985, produced by Azor. The single used a melody from the 1984 film Revenge of the Nerds . The finished recording garnered some airplay on a New York City rap radio program. The independent Pop Art Records gave it an official release, and "The Show Stoppa (Is Stupid Fresh)" became a modest R&B hit. [6] The single reached No. 46 on the Billboard R&B chart. In September 1985, the group signed to Next Plateau Entertainment (formerly Next Plateau Records), adopting the stage name Salt-N-Pepa and released their debut album Hot, Cool & Vicious in December 1986.

In 1987, the group recruited Deidra Roper, a 15-year-old high school student (a.k.a. Spinderella) after the departure of Hanson. The group entered the music industry at a time when hip hop was believed to be a fad, and major record companies were very reluctant to sign hip hop artists. [13] Many early hip hop artists recorded for independent labels. Salt-N-Pepa made their impact on hip hop by being one of the first all-female rap groups. Concerned about sexist lyrics and video clips that objectified women's bodies in hip hop, many feminists disliked rap and hip hop because of its bad portrayal of women. However, Salt-N-Pepa changed the look of hip hop. They were scantily clad in sexy clothing and were not afraid to talk about sex and their thoughts about men. Their song "Let's Talk About Sex" was a huge hit. [14]

1980s era Salt-N-Pepa jacket on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Salt-N-Pepa Jacket - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2014-12-30 13.14.38 by Sam Howzit).jpg
1980s era Salt-N-Pepa jacket on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

With the success of "The Show Stoppa," the group's name was changed to Salt-N-Pepa. The group changed their name because in "The Show Stoppa" they rap the lines "Right now I'm gonna show you how it's supposed to be 'Cause we, the Salt and Pepa MCs". This resulted in radio stations getting phone calls requesting "The Show Stoppa" by Salt & Pepper. They signed to the independent Next Plateau Records to record a full-length album. [6] The group's first album Hot, Cool & Vicious was released in 1986 with the original DJ Latoya Hanson, who was later replaced by Deidra "Spinderella" Roper. [15] [16] The album was produced by Hurby Azor, Salt's boyfriend at the time and the group's manager. [6] Years later, the women found themselves with legal issues with Azor as they accused him of paying unfair royalties. Hot, Cool & Vicious provided some moderate R&B hits with the singles "My Mic Sound Nice", "Tramp", and "Chick On The Side". But when San Francisco DJ and producer Cameron Paul created a remix to "Push It", the B-side of the "Tramp" single, it gave the group their first major hit. [6] "Push It" (US #19, UK #2) became a platinum single in the United States, and a hit in several other countries, and was added to subsequent pressings of Hot, Cool & Vicious. It was nominated for a Grammy Award, and the strength of that single catapulted the album to platinum sales in the U.S. with over 1 million copies sold, making Denton, James, and Roper the first female rap act to go platinum. [17] The album ultimately sold 1.4 million copies worldwide. [18]

1988–1992: A Salt with a Deadly Pepa and breakthrough

Salt-N-Pepa's next album A Salt with a Deadly Pepa was released on July 26, 1988, contained the top 10 R&B hit "Shake Your Thang", featuring the go-go band E.U. A top 20 R&B hit and a minor pop hit were seen in "Get Up Everybody (Get Up)" and "Twist and Shout", respectively; with "Twist and Shout" becoming a major hit in the UK (#4), [19] and several European countries. The album became certified gold-status, for excess sales of 600,000 copies sold in the U.S. and a total of 800,000 copies sold internationally. [18]

The group's third album Blacks' Magic was released on March 19, 1990. Pepa became the first group member to become pregnant. Azor produced some songs on the album. As he was producing other acts, he agreed to let the artists work with different producers to finish the album. Salt and Spinderella took on some producing assignments themselves, and the trio hired different producers, such as Invincible's producer Dana Mozie. This was the first album to feature Roper on vocals as well as DJing. The result was six singles released by Next Plateau Records, several of which became hits: "Expression" (US #26, UK #40 in 1990, UK #23 in 1992), a platinum single that had been #1 on the R&B Chart for 8 weeks, and produced by Salt; "Independent"; "I Don't Know" (featuring Kid 'n Play); "Do You Want Me" (US #21, UK #5), certified gold; "Let's Talk About Sex" (US #13, UK #2), certified gold, and later re-recorded as "Let's Talk About AIDs"; and "You Showed Me" (UK #15). The album ultimately sold 1.5 million copies worldwide with 1 million of those sold in the U.S.[ citation needed ] A greatest hits album called A Blitz of Salt-N-Pepa Hits, featuring some remixed versions of songs from the group's first three albums later was released.[ citation needed ]

1993–1996: Groundbreaking success, Very Necessary

Salt-N-Pepa's fourth studio album Very Necessary was released on October 12, 1993 on London Records/PolyGram. [19] The album featured songwriting and production by Salt, Pepa, Spinderella, and Azor. Buoyed by the hits "Shoop" (U.S. #4, UK #13), co-produced by Pepa; "Whatta Man" (U.S. #3, UK #7) (featuring En Vogue); and "None of Your Business", a top 40 U.S. hit and a top 20 UK hit, the album eventually sold 7 million worldwide, with 5 million in the U.S. (5x platinum), making them the first female rap act (solo or group) to have a multi-platinum selling album. The group toured, and Salt co-starred in the movie Who's the Man? . Pepa co-starred in the movie Joe's Apartment . Pepa had been romantically involved with Treach of the rap group Naughty By Nature. The trio won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1995 for the single "None of Your Business", [10] making them the first female rap act to win Grammy. The album is the best-selling album by a female rap act. [7]

1997–2004: Brand New and hiatus

By the time of their next album release, Salt-N-Pepa had gone through the legal process of completely breaking away from Azor, whom they accused of unfair royalty payments. Salt had stopped being romantically involved with him due to their many ups-and-downs. The trio also left London Records after one album and signed with Red Ant Records, though still distributed by PolyGram Records through its Island Records label. Red Ant offered the trio a $15 million signing bonus to sign. The group undertook production duties once again, but without Azor involved in any part of the album. The result was Brand New , released on October 21, 1997, which hit stores a few months later. However, Red Ant filed for bankruptcy soon afterward, halting promotion on all its releases, including Salt-N-Pepa's album. The group toured in support of the album, but without any promotion or marketing from the now-defunct Red Ant, they only scored minor hits with "R U Ready" and "Gitty Up". The album was certified gold in the U.S. for sales of over 500,000 and sold approximately another 200,000 worldwide. Although not as big a seller as its predecessor, it kept intact an unbroken string of platinum and gold studio albums by the trio.[ citation needed ]

In March 1999, Salt-N-Pepa embarked on a tour. Pepa married Treach of Naughty by Nature on July 27 of the same year. Salt-N-Pepa's greatest-hits album, titled The Best of Salt-N-Pepa , was released in Europe on January 25, 2000. Pepa and Treach remained married for two years, but their tumultuous marriage ended in divorce on July 31, 2001. With no albums contractually due at the time, Salt decided to quit the group, stating she had enough of the music industry and no longer wanted to be involved in it. They officially disbanded in 2002. Some time later, Salt announced that she would release her first solo album, but never ended up doing so. She was featured on the remix version of the Salt City Six's "Shine" on the album Holy South Worldwide , a compilation of Christian rap and Christian R&P (Rhythm & Praise) songs. The album was produced by ex-Three 6 Mafia member-turned-Christian rapper Mr. Del. Salt also revealed in later interviews[ citation needed ] that she had suffered from bulimia "many years ago". Pepa appeared on the fifth season of VH-1's The Surreal Life . Spinderella became a radio personality on KKBT 100.3 in Los Angeles. She hosted The Backspin (with DJ Mo'Dav), a nationally syndicated weekly radio show featuring old school hip hop music. She also periodically DJs at various clubs. The trio was disbanded for a total of five years. [20]

2005–present: Reunion

Salt-N-Pepa performing at the Canberra Theatre in 2013 Salt-n-Pepa (2).jpg
Salt-N-Pepa performing at the Canberra Theatre in 2013

Both Salt and Pepa appeared on VH1's Hip Hop Honors in September 2005 as the trio were honorees. All three women reunited the following year for the next Hip Hop Honors program and performed "Whatta Man" with En Vogue. It was the trio's first performance in six years, and was their first performance of "Whatta Man" with En Vogue on stage. [21] Salt-N-Pepa reformed in 2007. All three women now have children. Spinderella has a daughter with former NBA player Kenny Anderson. Her daughter has appeared on MTV's My Super Sweet Sixteen in 2008. Pepa has a son and a daughter. Salt has a daughter and a son.[ citation needed ]

On October 14, 2007, The Salt-N-Pepa Show debuted on VH1. Pepa initially started the formation of the series as she previously appeared on the network in The Surreal Life. The Salt-N-Pepa Show chronicled events in the lives of Pepa and Salt as they work out past issues and return to the recording studio. Spinderella has been featured in several episodes. Later in 2008, the trio performed at the BET Hip Hop Awards. Pepa released an autobiography titled Let's Talk About Pep in August 2008. The book was co-written by Karen Hunter. It features an introduction by Queen Latifah, and an epilogue by Missy Elliott. To accompany the book, she launched her own social network for her fans and also starred in the reality TV series Let's Talk About Pep on the VH1 network.[ citation needed ]

On May 9, 2009 Salt-N-Pepa performed a concert in Honolulu, that also featured SWV and Lisa Lisa. The name of the show was Ladies of the 80s. They performed at the Good Vibrations Festival in Australia in February 2010, [22] and the South West Four Festival, Clapham Common, London on August 29, 2010. [23] On October 12, 2010, Salt-N-Pepa received the I Am Hip Hop Award at the BET Hip Hop Awards.[ citation needed ]

On February 4, 2011, Salt-N-Pepa headed on a national tour titled Salt-N-Pepa's Legends of Hip Hop Tour. [24] Other acts on the tour included Whodini, Rob Base, Kurtis Blow, Doug E Fresh, Biz Markie, Naughty By Nature, MC Lyte, Big Daddy Kane, Kool Moe Dee, Slick Rick and Chubb Rock. On November 21, 2011, Salt-N-Pepa appeared on The X Factor Australia's third season with contestant and finalist Johnny Ruffo. They performed "Push It". On July 30, 2012, Salt-N-Pepa opened for rap group Public Enemy in Brooklyn, New York as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series. They brought rap duo Kid 'n Play after performing "Whatta Man".[ citation needed ]

The trio made a November 2014 appearance in a Geico insurance commercial performing "Push It". [25] DJ Spinderella replaced temporary DJ Wendy Williams (The Wendy Williams Show) during Salt-N-Pepa's performance of "Push It", first airing December 18, 2015. The trio's hit song "Shoop" made a comeback on February 12, 2016, as one of the main theme songs featured in the blockbuster Marvel movie Deadpool. [26] The duo, along with DJ Spinderella performed in Red Deer, Alberta (Canada) for Westerner Days at the Enmax Centrium on July 21, 2016. [27] [28]

In 2017–2018, the group toured as part of the I Love the 90's tour, performing in various locations, including in the UK Wembley Arena, Glasgow SSE, Liverpool Echo Arena and Birmingham. On October 16, 2018, Salt-N-Pepa appeared on the U.S. version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, with Kid N Play serving as their "plus one" in-studio lifeline. [29]

In March 2019, it was announced that Salt-N-Pepa would have a biographical miniseries coming to the Lifetime network, highlighting the rise of the group to become one of the first successful female rap groups in hip hop. [30] Queen Latifah, as well as Salt-N-Pepa will be executive producers of the series.[ citation needed ]

On May 2, 2019, the Mixtape Tour commenced in Cincinnati, Ohio. Performers on this tour include Salt-N-Pepa, Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, and Naughty by Nature, with New Kids on the Block being billed as the headline performers. [31] The next day, DJ Spinderella announced in an Instagram post that she had been "terminated" from Salt-N-Pepa as of January, and broke her silence after the band hadn't made a public announcement regarding their parting of ways. [32] DJ Cocoa Chanelle, formerly of BET Networks and HOT 97, became the replacement DJ.[ citation needed ]

On January 23, 2021, Lifetime released an eponymous biopic which starred GG Townson as Salt, Laila Odom as Pepa, Monique Jasmine Paul as DJ Spinderella, Cleveland Berto as Herbie, Daniel Keith Morrison as MC Hammer, Denver Taylor as Martin Lawrence, Bronson Phillip Lake as Christopher "Kid" Reid, and Devante Senior as Christopher "Play" Martin. Salt-N-Pepa serve as the executive producers while Queen Latifah serves as a producer. [33] Mario Van Peebles directed the film. [34] A "Special Edition" of the film was released on January 23, 2021.[ citation needed ]


Studio albums

Awards and nominations

American Music Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1989 Salt-N-PepaFavorite Soul/R&B Band, Duo, or GroupNominated
Favorite Hip-Hop ArtistNominated
Favorite R&B/Soul Duo or GroupNominated
"Whatta Man" (with En Vogue)Favorite Soul/R&B SingleNominated

Grammy Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1989 "Push It" Best Rap Performance Nominated
1992 "Let's Talk About Sex" Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group Nominated
1995 "None of Your Business"Won
"Whatta Man" (with En Vogue) Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group Nominated
1997 "Champagne"Best Rap Performance by a Duo or GroupNominated

MTV Video Music Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1994 "Whatta Man" (with En Vogue)Best Dance VideoWon
Best R&B VideoWon
Best Choreography In A VideoWon
1995 "None of Your Business"Nominated
Best Dance VideoNominated

Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1989Salt-N-PepaFavorite Female MusicianNominated

Soul Train Music Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1989 "A Salt with a Deadly Pepa"Best Rap AlbumNominated

Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1995Salt-N-PepaEntertainer of the YearWon

VH1 Hip Hop Honors

YearNominee / workAwardResult

See also

Related Research Articles

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Deidra Muriel Roper(sources differ), known professionally as DJ Spinderella or simply Spinderella, is an American DJ, rapper and producer. Roper is best known as a member of the hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa. Roper occasionally appeared in The Salt-n-Pepa Show, a reality TV series focusing on reforming the group and which aired on the VH1 network in 2008.

The Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance is an honor presented to recording artists for quality rap performances. It was first presented at the 31st Annual Grammy Awards in 1989 and again at the 32nd Annual Grammy Awards in 1990, after which point the award was split into two categories: Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. These two categories were combined again in 2012 as a result of a restructure of Grammy categories, and the reinstated Award for Best Rap Performance was presented at the 54th Grammy Awards in 2012. The restructuring was the consequence of the Recording Academy's wish to decrease the number of categories and awards and to eliminate distinctions between solo and duo or group performances.

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Salt (rapper) American rapper and songwriter

Cheryl Renee James, better known by her stage name Salt, is an American rapper and songwriter. She is best known as a member of the American Grammy–award winning female rap trio Salt-N-Pepa, which also includes Pepa and Spinderella. James starred in The Salt-N-Pepa Show, a reality TV series focusing on reforming the group; which aired on the VH1 network in 2008.

<i>Very Necessary</i> 1993 studio album by Salt-N-Pepa

Very Necessary is the fourth studio album by American hip hop group Salt-N-Pepa. It was released on October 12, 1993, by Next Plateau Records and London Records. The album spawned four singles, including "Shoop", "Whatta Man", and "None of Your Business", which would earn the group their first Grammy Award, in the category Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.

Push It (Salt-n-Pepa song) 1987 song by Salt-n-Pepa

"Push It" is a song by the hip hop group Salt-N-Pepa. It was released as the B-side of the "Tramp" single in 1987, and as its own single in 1988. It peaked at number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1988 and, after initially peaking at number 41 in the UK, it re-entered the charts after the group performed the track at Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday concert, eventually peaking at number two that summer. The song has also been certified Platinum by the RIAA. The song is ranked number 446 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and was ranked number nine on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.

What a Man (song) 1968 single by Linda Lyndell

"What a Man" is a song written by Dave Crawford, and originally recorded for Stax Records' Volt imprint by Linda Lyndell, whose recording reached number 50 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1968. The song was sampled and reinterpreted as "Whatta Man" in 1993 by Salt-N-Pepa with En Vogue; this version became a commercial success, reaching the top ten in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 2011, German singer Lena Meyer-Landrut covered the song while retaining the original title and lyrics.

<i>Brand New</i> (Salt-n-Pepa album) 1997 studio album by Salt-N-Pepa

Brand New is the fifth and final studio album by American hip hop group Salt-N-Pepa, released on October 21, 1997, by London Records. The group's international label at the time, Red Ant Entertainment, filed for bankruptcy before the album was officially released. Salt-N-Pepa toured in support of the album, although the album had no other promotion whatsoever. Brand New spawned two singles: "R U Ready" and "Gitty Up". The album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on November 25, 1997.

<i>Hot, Cool & Vicious</i> 1986 studio album by Salt-N-Pepa

Hot, Cool, & Vicious is the debut studio album by American hip hop group Salt-N-Pepa. Released by Next Plateau Records on December 1, 1986, it was one of the first albums to be released by an all-female rap group. Hot, Cool, & Vicious also became the first album by a female rap group act to attain gold and platinum status in the United States.

<i>Blacks Magic</i> 1990 studio album by Salt-N-Pepa

Blacks' Magic is the third studio album by American hip hop group Salt-N-Pepa, released on March 19, 1990, by Next Plateau Records and London Records. A critical and commercial success, the album peaked at number 38 on the US Billboard 200 and number 15 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and has been certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting shipments in excess of one million copies in the United States. The album spawned four commercially successful singles, three of which reached the top 10 of the Hot Rap Singles chart; "Let's Talk About Sex", "Expression", "Do You Want Me", and "You Showed Me".

Queen Latifah discography

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Shoop (song) 1993 single by Salt-n-Pepa

"Shoop" is the lead single released from Salt-N-Pepa's fourth studio album Very Necessary. It was produced by Mark Sparks and group member Salt. The song features an uncredited verse by rapper Big Twan. Released late in 1993, it became one of the group's more successful singles, reaching number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and topping the Hot Rap Singles chart at number one. Two months after its release, "Shoop" was certified gold by the RIAA; it went on to sell 1.2 million copies. The success of both this single and the follow-up single "Whatta Man" propelled Very Necessary to sell over 5 million copies in the US, becoming the group's best-selling album.

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Shake Your Thang 1988 single by Salt-N-Pepa featuring E.U.

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<i>The Best of Salt-N-Pepa</i> 1999 greatest hits album by Salt-N-Pepa

The Best of Salt 'n Pepa is a greatest hits album by American hip hop trio Salt-N-Pepa. It was released in November 1999. The album featured tracks from their five studio albums, Hot, Cool & Vicious, A Salt with a Deadly Pepa, Blacks' Magic, Very Necessary and Brand New. A remixed version of their 1998 song "Gitty Up" was released as a single now titled "The Brick Track Versus Gitty Up" which charted in the top 20 in Australia and New Zealand in 2000.

<i>Rapped in Remixes: The Greatest Hits Remixed</i> 1992 remix album by Salt-N-Pepa

Rapped in Remixes: The Greatest Hits Remixed is a remix album by American hip hop trio Salt-N-Pepa. It includes remixed versions of songs taken from their three studio albums, Hot, Cool & Vicious, A Salt with a Deadly Pepa and Blacks' Magic. It is the third compilation released by the group in as many years and second remix album after their 1990 album, A Blitz of Salt-n-Pepa Hits.

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