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Salt N Pepa

  • Hot Cool And Vicious
  • A Salt With A Deadly Pepa

    Salt N Pepa

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    Salt N Pepa

    a salt with a deadly pepa hot cool vicious

    Hot Cool And Vicious 6 ( 1986 )
    Push It ( Remix ) / Beauty And The Beat / Tramp / I'll Take Your Man / It's Alright / Chick On The Side ( Remix ) / I Desire / The Showstopper / My Mic Sounds Nice

    One of the first albums to be released by an all-female rap group and thus deserving of coverage on this site. 'Push It', which people over a certain age will remember well, became a big hit - the original version was the b-side to 'Tramp'. One remix later and an international hit was born, pushing sales of the album close to three million. Rap was still seen as a fad back in 1986 though, a novelty. Salt 'N' Pepa more so having the temerity to be female in a male dominated rap world.

    We'll discuss the single that propelled them to stardom first of all. 'Push It' contains the sound of a salt shaker. It contains electro/disco ( early techno ) sounds and not very much actual rapping. It's the kind of song that could still have been a hit had it been an instrumental, tracks by the likes of Art Of Noise proved you could be an instrumental dance act. Techno was just in its formative stages and 'Salt N Pepa' unwittingly fell into that scene as well as the Hip-Hop scene as far as UK singles buyers were concerned. The album is all rap, though. The rest of the album actually has very little in common with 'Push It' which was only included on the album after becoming a hit single. I understand why 'Tramp' was chosen as an early single. 'Tramp' has a great sampled soul groove, it's a funky tune over which Salt and Pepa rap entertainingly, if not exactly proficiently. No, this album doesn't contain the best raps known to mankind, yet the duo ( along with the original Spinderella ) show an undoubted enthusiasm. House music returns in places, mixing with the beats, to enliven 'I'll Take Your Man', also one of the more succesful tracks on the LP.

    The downside. 'It's Alright' is a dirge, 'I Desire' a noisy, ill-conceived musical mess that tries laudably to be ambitious and push the Salt n Pepa sound into more hardcore waters, but this was 1986 and such a sound comes across as lumpen and disabled. The closing tune, 'My Mic Sounds Nice' is pure 1986 old-school, yet the buzz sound annoys and dates the tune. It places it firmly in the 80s, and with the girls voices mixed down and not making much of an impact, the rinky dinky 80s programmed beats fail to be enough to hold attention. This is the debut Salt n Pepa album. They are no doubt an important collective historically, but would make better records than this EPs worth of tunes plus filler.

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    top of page A Salt With A Deadly Pepa 7 ( 1987 )
    Intro Jam / A Salt With A Deadly Pepa / I Like It Like That / Solo Power / Shake Your Thang / I Gotcha / Let The Rhythm Run / Get Up Everybody / Spinderella's Not A Fella / Solo Power / Twist And Shout / Hyped On The Mic / Push It

    Wrapped around a tight funk/soul sample, 'Spinderella's Not A Fella ( But A DJ )' is a fine track and a good showcase for the improved productions skills on display compared to their debut. I'm in a minority, many believing this hastily assembled follow-up plainly inferior to the debut, but then again, I'll always make up my own mind. Easily dismissed on a first or even third listen, these girls deserve credit and repeated listening brings it out. Not the best rappers, but the musical skills are there and the verbal skills, despite a slight lack of vocabularly, are there. A huge danceable enthusiasm is here. 'I Like It Like That' is the best track here, very danceable, very party and very good, believe it or not. Clearly designed as some kind of follow-up to 'Push It', although i'm not even sure whether it was a single. Easily the worst track here is 'Twist And Shout', which takes the Isley Brothers and The Beatles and turns it into a kareoke party fave, with all that implies. 'Get Up Everybody' is a fine piece of hip-hop and another track to get on the dancefloor to. This is hardly a heavy album, it's lightweight rap/hip hop, yet easy to enjoy. We all want to enjoy our music, don't we?

    'Shake Your Thang' is soul classic 'It's Your Thing' with added rapping, normally the kind of laziness I hate, but this is fun. Another candidate for best track is the remixed 'Let The Rhythm Run'. Hardly a wall of sound, yet this is a satisfying musical track overall. Erm, 'Push It' features here, inevitably. A rock/rap crossover ( obligatory after Run DMC's pioneering work ) with the enjoyable 'I Gotcha'. 'I Gotcha' opens with plenty of guitar, twiddly guitar even. The beatbox opens and the girls rap away, fairly unassumingly and certainly not boastfully, which is just as well, but this again manages to cross the divide and become 'fun'. The title track is real old school complete with scratching, etc. What is it, can you guess? It's 'fun'. You can tell by both my and Salt n Pepa's lack of vocabulary during the record that this isn't an astonishing album. Neither is it a bad one. The boasts of Salt N Pepa during the title track may have been somewhat premature, but the girls had firmly established themselves and would soon be on the way to taking more control of their own recorded output musically. Watch that space. What space? Well, the one below.

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    top of page this page last updated 22/04/07

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