Cheryl James and Sandra Denton

In the mid–1980s, Brooklyn–native Cheryl “Salt” James met Queens–native Jamaican rapper Sandra “Pepa” Denton, both studying nursing at Queensborough Community College. The pair became close friends and co–workers at Sears. Another co-worker Hurby Luv Bug was studying record production at the Center of Media Arts and asked Cheryl and Sandra to record for him as a class project. This resulted in the single “The Showstopper” (an answer record to Doug E. Fresh’s The Show) in late–1985 and reached No. 46 on the Billboard R&B chart. In September 1986, They signed to Next Plateau Records, recruited female high-school student-DJ named “Spinderella” and adopted the stage name Salt ‘N’ Pepa. Riding on the success of their saucy exchange, they changed their name to Salt-N-Pepa and released their 1986 album Hot Cool & Vicious, which yielded the hit song “Push It.” The group went on to become the best-selling female rap group and icons of their era. The group officially disbanded in 2002 and 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. In 2008, the trio performed with MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, and Lady of Rage at the BET Hip Hop Awards. In 2017 the group began touring as part of the “I Love The 90’s” tour performing around the world including in the UK Wembley Arena, Glasgow SSE, Liverpool Echo Arena and Birmingham, and the Trip-Hop cruise from Miami.

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