|Origin||New York City, New York, United States|
|Years active||1985 - 2002
2007 - present
|Labels||Next Plateau, London, Red Ant|
|Associated acts||Roxanne Shante, MC Lyte, Run DMC, Fat Boys, Kid 'n Play|
|Cheryl "Salt" (James) - Wray
Sandra "Pepa" Denton
Dee Dee DJ Spinderella Roper
The group, consisting of Cheryl James ("Salt", now Cheryl Wray), Sandra Denton ("Pepa"), and Deidra "Dee Dee" Roper (Spinderella), has sold over 15 million albums and singles worldwide. Salt-N-Pepa is the best selling female rap act. Six of their single releases have been certified either platinum or gold in America by the RIAA.
Originally calling themselves Supernature (for just the first single), James and Denton debuted in 1985 with the single "The Showstopper", an answer record to Doug E. Fresh's hit single "The Show". "The Showstopper" was produced by Hurby Azor, who had to do it as a school project. The song utilized a melody from the 1985 hit movie Revenge of the Nerds. The finished recording garnered some airplay on a New York City rap radio program, and the independent Pop Art Records gave it an official release and "The Showstopper" became a modest R&B hit.
With this success the group's name was changed to Salt-N-Pepa (which they had called themselves in the first verse of the song) and they signed to the independent Next Plateau Records. Their 1986 debut album Hot, Cool & Vicious was released afterwards and was produced by Hurby "Luv Bug" Azor (Salt's boyfriend at the time and also the group's manager). He received songwriting credit for the album that was later disputed as Salt-N-Pepa asserted they wrote lyrics for the album as well. It also featured DJ Latoya Hanson as Spinderella. She only appears on the group's first album cover, but not in any of the music videos as she was replaced very early on in the group's formation by Roper, who kept the name Spinderella.
Hot, Cool & Vicious scored some moderate R&B hits thanks to 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 "Tramp", it gave the group their first major hit. "Push It" (US #19, UK #2) became a platinum single in the US and a hit in several other countries, and was added to subsequent pressings of Hot, Cool & Vicious. It was nominated for a Grammy, and the strength of that single thrust the album to platinum status in the US with one million sold, making Denton, James, and Roper the first female rap act (group or solo) to go gold or platinum. The album sold 1.3 million copies worldwide.
Salt-N-Pepa's next album release, 1988's A Salt with a Deadly Pepa, contained the Top Ten R&B hit and moderate pop hit "Shake Your Thang", featuring the go-go band E.U. They would also receive a Grammy nomination for this single. A moderate R&B hit and minor pop hit was also seen in "Everybody Get Up" and "Twist And Shout", respectively; with the latter becoming a major hit in the UK, where it hit #4, as "Twist" also became a moderate hit in several other European countries. The album sold about 800,000 worldwide with roughly 600,000 of those in the US, attaining gold status.
The group's third album, Blacks' Magic, was released in March 1990, and was a personal album for the trio on many fronts. Pepa would become the first group member to become pregnant. The trio's producer Azor —- often late or a no show to their recording sessions as he was producing other acts -— agreed to let the artists work with different producers to finish the album. James and Roper took on producing assignments themselves and the trio also hired different producers, such as Invincible's producer Dana Mozie. This was the first album to feature Roper on vocals as well as DJ'ing. The result was six singles and three hits released by Next Plateau Records: "Expression" (#26 US) was a platinum single which had already been certified gold before it even cracked the main Hot 100 chart, as it 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", (#21 US) certified gold; "Let's Talk About Sex" (#13 US, #2 UK), certified gold and later re-recorded as "Let's Talk About Aids"; and "You Showed Me". The album ultimately sold 1.5 million copies worldwide with a million of those sold in the USA. A greatest hits album called A Blitz of Salt-N-Pepa Hits, featuring remixed versions of songs from the group's first three albums, was subsequently released.
Salt-N-Pepa's fourth studio album Very Necessary was released in September 1993 on London Records/Polygram (see 1993 in music). The group was in the process of breaking further away from Azor business-wise as they accused him of not paying fair royalties in the past. He and Salt had stopped being romantically involved years earlier. The album featured songwriting and production by Salt, Pepa, Spinderella, and Azor. Buoyed by the hits "Shoop" (#4 US), co-produced by Pepa; "Whatta Man" (#3 US, #7 UK) (featuring En Vogue); and "None of Your Business", a Top 40 hit, the album eventually sold seven million worldwide with five million of those in the US (5x platinum), making them the first female rap act (solo or group) to have a multi-platinum album. The group toured and Salt went on to co-star in the motion picture Who's the Man?. Pepa co-starred in the film Joe's Apartment. Pepa had also been romantically involved with Treach of the rap group Naughty By Nature. The rap trio also won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance in 1995 for the single "None Of Your Business", thus making them the first female rap Grammy winners. The album is the best selling album by a female rap act.
Having now broken completely away from Azor, Salt-N-Pepa signed with Red Ant Entertainment and undertook production duties once again, which did not include Azor. Their fifth album, Brand New (1997) released on London/Red Ant through Island Black Music, hit stores a few months later and received good reviews upon release. 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 label, they only scored minor hits such as "R U Ready" and "Gitty Up". The album sold 700,000 copies worldwide with 500,000 of those in the US; being certified gold in the US.
In March 1999, Salt-N-Pepa embarked on a tour and Pepa 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 in Europe on January 25, 2000. Pepa and Treach would remain married for two years and then divorce on July 31, 2001. The group officially disbanded in 2002.
Salt claimed, upon disbanding, that she had had enough of the music industry and would no longer be involved in it. However, all that seemed to change when she announced that she would be releasing her first solo album "Salt of the Earth" which later changed to "Salt Unrapped", but she subsequently did not release the product. She has been featured on the remix version of the Salt City Six's "Shine", on the album Holy South: World Wide, a compilation of Chrisitian rap and Christian R&P (Rhythm & Praise) songs. The album was executive produced by ex-Three 6 Mafia member turned Christian rapper Mr. Del. Salt also revealed in later interviews that she had suffered from bulimia many years ago.
Pepa released an autobiography entitled "Let's Talk About Pep" in August 2008. The book was co-written by author Karen Hunter and offers a glimpse behind the fame, family, failures, and successes of her life in one of hip-hops most successful acts, male or female. It features an introduction by Queen Latifah, and an epilogue by Missy Elliott. To accompany the book, she also launched her own social network for her fans at http://www.LetsTalkAboutPep.com. Pepa also appeared on the fifth season of VH-1's The Surreal Life.
Spinderella is a radio personality on KKBT 100.3 in Los Angeles. She is on the radio hosting The Backspin (with DJ Mo'Dav), a nationally-syndicated weekly radio show featuring old school hip hop music. She also periodically DJs at various club events.
Both Salt and Pepa appeared on VH1's Hip Hop Honors in November 2004, 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. 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 daughter, Salt has a daughter and son.
On October 14, 2007, The Salt-n-Pepa Show debuted on VH1. Pepa initially started the formation of the series as she had previously appeared on the network in The Surreal Life. The Salt-n-Pepa Show chronicles events in the lives of Salt and Pepa as they work out past issues and return to the recording studio. It also has featured Spinderella in several episodes. Later in 2008, the trio performed with MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, and Lady of Rage at the BET Hip Hop Awards.
Salt-N-Pepa are currently recording a new album slated for release sometime in 2010. On May 9, 2009 Salt-N-Pepa performed a concert in Honolulu, Hawaii along with SWV and Lisa Lisa. The name of the show was Ladies of the 80s. They are set to be one of the headlining acts for the Good Vibrations festival in Australia in mid-February 2010.