Throwback Single: Salt-N-Pepa 'Push It'
In the mid ‘80s, Hip Hop was a male dominated genre. Salt-N-Pepa blazed on to the scene in 1985 and changed the dynamic, smashing gender biases and paving the way for more female representation on the microphone.
Originally called Super Nature, Cheryl James and Sandra Denton signed to Next Plateau Records and re-christened themselves as Salt-N-Pepa. Latoya Hanson was replaced by Deidra Roper as DJ Spinderella, and this was to become the final line-up that would see the Hip Hop outfit make music history.
Salt-N-Pepa boldly held their own and defied the critics, turning Hip Hop on its head. Here you had a group that could freestyle on par with Brooklyn’s finest yet who would come thundering on stage embracing feminine fashion sensibilities. The dynamic trio brought substance and glamour to the Hip Hop arena in equal measure, achieving artistic credibility and commercial viability - the trickiest combination to attain.
Salt-N-Pepa released five albums in their recording career and received worldwide acclaim. Their signature track “Push It” is unequivocally regarded as one of Hip Hop’s most venerated songs. Written by Hurby Azor, the Grammy nominated track is an evergreen composition that continues to captivate audiences three decades on. Originally released as a B-side to the 1987 single “Tramp”, a year later “Push It” was released in its own right as a 7” single. Cameron Paul’s radio edit of the track garnered mainstream attention and secured a top three slot in charts across the globe. The group’s debut album ‘Hot, Cool & Vicious’ was subsequently re-issued with the addition of “Push It” and went on to receive platinum status in the USA. The track has been covered and sampled no less than twenty four times over the years, rather outstanding.
The video is as iconic as the signature song. Opening with Spinderella showing her decks-terity on the turntables, the energetic trio are captured live in concert. Spandex, colourful eight ball jackets, chunky gold chains, slick dance moves and Azor on keyboards; the video sees the trio work the stage and enthral the audience with their larger than life stage presence as that oh-so-infectious synth sample plays. The same, which gets feet moving twenty five long years later.
Salt-N-Pepa's legacy is bountiful - Grammy award winning, platinum selling, pop culture impacting, gender defying Hip Hop stars. Despite not releasing material since 1997, the trio still get radio airplay. Hits such as “Push It” are played to new generations who dig the music as much as my generation did in the late 80’s, proving their music has a timeless quality to it and appeals to a wide spectrum. Salt-N-Pepa entered Hip Hop with no contemporary equivalent and graciously retired from recording, still unparalleled. They are the female ambassadors of Hip Hop whose shoes have never quite been filled.
This Saturday, the legendary Salt-N-Pepa are continuing The Legends of Hip Hop Tour, where they are performing alongside luminaries such as Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh and Kid N’ Play. No doubt, “Push It” is going to be performed and without a doubt, the crowd is going to bounce hard to the divas' sonic swag. I hope you bounce to the Throwback too...