Salt ’N Pepa

Salt ’N Pepa, ‘the female Run DMC’ (their words), are the hitmakers behind ‘Push It’, ‘Whatta Man’ and a whole bunch of other stuff

Interview, Music feature

Salt tried to form the world’s first hip hop cabaret troupe…
Salt: My mom, when I was growing up, used to take me to the theatre a lot. I saw all the black plays. I saw The Wiz, I saw Dreamgirls and so on, and that gave me a taste for the theatre. The girls used to call me Miss Broadway ’cos I was always trying to make the Salt ’N Pepa show like a Broadway show.

…with some success
Salt: For a hip hop group, our early performances were a little theatrical. We had one where we used sound effects and we would pretend we had whips and would whip our boy dancers when they didn’t put the toilet seat down! We used to do all types of foolishness. I loved it.

Pepa was once savaged by a vicious rodent
Pepa: I was attacked by a squirrel once. I was walking and I guess the squirrel was jumping through the trees, and he slipped and landed on my shoulders. I went ‘aargh!’ and went to grab him, and he bit my finger. Thank God – I went to hospital – no rabies, no nothing. But who would have thought I have a squirrel story, right? Everybody was, like, ‘Who gets a squirrel Pep? That only happens to you – a clumsy squirrel.’

Best present you’ve been given?
Pepa: I’ve been given a lot of gifts and of course we can say [goofy voice] ‘Oh the kids are the greatest present,’ but when I met Prince Naseem [the British boxer], it was weird, he was, like, ‘Oh you’re so cool, you’re so nice.’ I didn’t expect it. We were staying at the same hotel, and he came back the next day with this beautiful diamond necklace, from Bulgari, and it was so nice and random I was like, ‘Wow! You just bought me a diamond necklace.’ It was not huge crazy, but it was nice. That gift meant a lot because it was, like, I just met him! Ha ha!

They have a solid choice for the ‘best ever single’
Pepa: I’m not tooting my own horn, but I think if I had to say it – ‘Push It’. I don’t care where I am, wherever I go, I’m hearing it. People are always calling and texting, saying, ‘“Push It” was just on in the club!’ I just listen to ‘Push It’ everywhere, to this day. ‘Push It’ has a life of its own.

And a tried-and-tested, non-prescription hangover cure
Pepa: I know this might be bad, but I just like to take Advil when the night’s over, right before I go to sleep. And if I don’t do the Advil, I might wake up and I might take a drink or something – you gotta bite the dog, is that it? It’s a saying. You’re supposed to take another drink. The hair of the dog that bit you! So if the Advil doesn’t work, I go right back to that one.

Music wasn’t their first career choice, but it turned out to be the safest for the duo
Salt: I always danced and sang, but I never pursued it seriously because, y’know, you get talked out of it. You get the whole ‘You better find a practical career, nobody ever makes it’ speech, so you look for something more grounded and you start going into something like nursing. But when I went to school, I went to be a psychiatrist and then I found out that was a real doctor! Ha ha! And I said ‘Oh no no no, I wanna be a psychologist’, and then eventually I said, ‘You know what, I’m gonna be the best secretary there is!’ Ha ha!

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