Friday, April 20, 2007

Salt N Pepper

Push It

Salt N Pepper was one of those mega hit bands that crossed over from underground hip hop to mainstream music. Their songs as well as their fashion propelled them to the top of the charts and is one of the Big80s favorite bands.

Salt-N-Pepa is an American hip hop trio that came onto the music scene in 1986, and went on to sell over 10 million albums worldwide. The lineup consists of: Cheryl James, Sandra Denton ("Salt" and "Pepa", respectively), and Deidra "Dee Dee" Roper (DJ Spinderella).
Their 1986 debut, Hot, Cool & Vicious, which was produced by Salt's then-boyfriend, Hurby Azor, the group's manager, and he received songwriting credit for the album, though this was later disputed. It also featured DJ Pamela Green as the original Spinderella though they do not include her in their list of credits, and neither does the album sleeve, but her face is included on the album cover.

Hot, Cool & Vicious received some small airplay on R&B stations thanks to the songs "My Mic Sound Nice" and "Tramp". But when a San Francisco DJ named Cameron Paul created a remix of the above video and mega hit "Push It", the b-side to "Tramp", it gave the group their first major hit single. The original first pressing of "Hot, Cool & Vicious" did not include the song "Push It". "Push It", now promoted as the single, quickly became a Top 20 national pop hit and was nominated for a Grammy, pushing both the single and LP to Platinum album status. At this time, Dee Dee Roper would become the group's DJ, taking over the name Spinderella from Green. Roper nearly missed her first show with the pioneering super group after they were booked to make their international concert debut at the star-studded "70th Birthday Tribute To Nelson Mandela". The then teenager's parents were not happy with their daughter's contract and threatened to keep her off of the flight to London where the event was to be broadcast-live from Wembley Stadium to a billion-plus television audience. Fortunately, the group's associate personal manager, Wayne K. Garfield, voluntarily visited Mr. and Mrs. Roper at their Brooklyn home and promised them that Azor would indeed re-work the contract to mutual satisfaction. Garfield won an additional challenge by convincing the event's producers to slot the group's performance after Whitney Houston who, at the time, was the hottest pop act on the planet, ending her set with three encores. Salt-N-Pepa showed their appreciation to Garfield by giving him a "shout-out" during an event-related interview on MTV-UK.

Despite their record label's (Next Plateau) giddyish reports of generating massive album sales following the 'Mandela' concert appearance, their sophomore album, 1988's A Salt With a Deadly Pepa, which included a couple of rock-rap anthems, attained gold status upon its release. It contained a moderate hit in "Shake Your Thang", featuring the go go band E.U., and a minor hit with "Everybody Get Up." Another single, "Twist And Shout" became a UK hit.

Their third album, Blacks' Magic, was released in March 1990, and became a breakthrough moment for the group, on personal terms. Remaining at the beg and mercy of Azor, who was often late or a no show altogether, he agreed to let the women work with other producers to finish the album. James and Denton took on their first producing assignments themselves and worked with Invincible's Producer Dana "Dum" Mozie and others as well. The result was hit singles in "Expression" (produced by James), "Do You Want Me", and "Let's Talk About Sex." The album became a best seller and is considered one of hip-hop's strongest releases. Salt, Pepa and Spinderella were recognized for their production talents as well.

Salt-N-Pepa's fourth album Very Necessary, released in September 1993 (see 1993 in music) was their most successful album to date. Breaking further away from Azor, whom the group accused of not paying them fair royalties, the album featured production by James, Denton, and this time Roper, and performed extremely well on the charts. Buoyed by the singles "Shoop" (their first U.S. Top Ten), "Whatta Man" (with En Vogue and also a Top Ten hit) and "None Of Your Business", the album eventually went four times platinum in the U.S. at its time of release. The group toured and Salt went on to co-star in the motion picture Who's the Man?, and Pepa co-starred in the movie Joe's Apartment. The trio also won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance in 1995 for "None Of Your Business", making them the first female rap Grammy winners.

Having completely broken away from Azor, they signed with Red Ant Entertainment for their next release, and undertook production duties again. Their fifth album, "Brand New" (1997), hit stores a few months later and received good reviews upon its release. Red Ant, however, filed for bankruptcy soon afterwards halted promotion on the album before it really began. Salt-N-Pepa toured in support of the album, but without promotion from the bankrupt label, only scored minor hits such as "R U Ready" and "Gitty Up".

In March 1999, Salt-N-Pepa embarked on their final live tour. Pepa (Sandy Denton) married Treach of Naughty By Nature on July 27, 1999. Salt-N-Pepa's greatest-hits album, entitled Salt-N-Pepa: The Best Of was released on January 25, 2000. Treach and Pepa were divorced on July 31, 2001. The group officially disbanded in 2002. Upon disbanding, Salt (Cheryl James) claimed she had enough of the music industry and would no longer be involved in it. However, all that changed when Cheryl announced that she would be releasing her first solo CD "Salt of the Earth" which later changed to "Salt Unrapped".

Cheryl James and Sandy Denton appeared on VH1's Hip Hop Honors in November 2004, without Spinderella, however, they did not perform. Salt-N-Pepa reunited on September 22, 2005, and gave their first performance in six years. They sang Whatta Man, along with En Vogue, as a part of VH1's Hip Hop Honors program. Spinderella recently was a radio personality on KKBT 100.3 in Los Angeles. As of mid-2006, she is still on the radio, hosting a weekly nationally syndicated, old school hip hop radio show called "The Backspin" alongside DJ Mo'Dav. Pepa has apeared on The Surreal Life Fame Games and lost.

Cheryl James was born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 8, 1964
Sandra Denton was born in Kingston, Jamaica on November 9, 1964
Deidra "Dee Dee" Roper was born in Manhattan, New York, on August 3, 1970
Sandra Denton stars in the reality tv show, The Surreal Life

External links - Official Salt website
Spinderella on MySpace

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