Salt-N-Pepa proud to have 'stood out' in male-dominated hip-hop genre
Salt-N-Pepa are proud to have "stood out" in the male-dominated hip-hop genre.
The iconic rap group- comprising Cheryl 'Salt' James and Sandra 'Pepa' Denton - admit it "hurt" when they would be "skipped over" despite selling more records than their male counterparts.
Pepa, 56, told Refinery29's Unbothered platform as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the genre: “For us, coming up in hip-hop as female MCs, it’s a male-dominated field. It was very hard knowing that we were charting so hard and more than the male rappers but still wasn’t getting that respect or the acknowledgment that we deserved.
“We were skipped over when someone was selling [as much as us] so it was frustrating and that hurt. But we kept going.”
The 'Expression' hitmakers - who took to the stage at the Grammys last month for the 50th anniversary of hip-hop segment - believe they would have made more if brand deals were more prominent in their heyday.
Salt said: "We always say that when we started, it wasn't all these branding opportunities. Now we help build the foundation for people to really take advantage of these opportunities to collaborate with other brands. We've done Kia, we've done Geico."
Salt-N-Pepa believe their recipe for success was releasing music that was "raw" and brimmed with "attitude".
Pepa said: “When we was coming up, we were who we were. The music we were putting out, the rap we were spitting, our attitude, It was just us. It was raw.
“And then at the time you became another number to the record labels. But we stood out.”
The pair - who have sold more than 15 million records worldwide - also advised up-and-coming artists to make sure they don't sell themselves short when signing record deals.
Pepa added: “Cross the T's and dot the I's.
“There are going to be people telling you you're not worth it. But once you see the numbers and if they're telling you no and no, but you’re sticking around and they're not trying to change you, that means you’re worth something. Like Salt said, when it's time to negotiate your contract, find out your numbers. What am I selling? What am I doing? You can ask real questions.”
Salt-N-Peppa formed in 1985 and the original line-up also included DJ Spinderella (Deidra Roper).
Their hits include 'Let's Talk About Sex', 'Push It', 'Tramp' and 'Expression'.