Home / Music & Arts / Salt-N-Pepa marks 30 years in music biz with ASCAP honor

Salt-N-Pepa marks 30 years in music biz with ASCAP honor

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Members Cheryl James (Salt) and Sandra Denton (Pepa) and DJ Spinderella (Deidra Roper) paved the way for women in hip hop.

It’s been 30 years and Salt-N-Pepa is still pushing it.

The spicy duo from Queens is celebrating reaching a new milestone as hip hop’s top female rap group.

Cheryl James (Salt) and Sandra Denton (Pepa), who splashed onto the music scene in 1985, will be honored by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers on Wednesday night.

“It feels amazing to be coming up on 30 years in the game and have our work still acknowledged and respected as pioneers in music,” James told the Daily News.

Fresh off of a sold-out show in Winnipeg, Canada, the rap stars said they are still blown away by fans who line up to greet them at the airport .

“I don’t know how they know what flight we’re on, but the fans are always there at baggage claim,” Denton said. “They keep old CDs and other things forever to have us autograph.”

They were once called Super Nature and a remix of Doug E. Fresh’s “The Show” called “The Showstopper” transformed them from unknowns to superstars.

“The first time we heard that song on the radio we were driving down the boulevard in Queens,” James reflected. “Pep hopped out of the car in the middle of the street and I was screaming at her to get back in the car.”

From that point on the ball kept rolling with top-selling albums including “Hot Cool & Vicious,” “Blacks Magic,” and “Very Necessary.”

Additionally, before the Spice Girls, TLC or Destiny’s Child came along, they owned the girl power theme with empowering songs including “None of Your Business” and “Ain’t Nothing But a She Thing.”

They also inspired a generation of young women to take risks – and nothing says teetering on the edge like coming home with an extreme buzz cut.

“The asymmetrical hairstyle was a hit,” Denton says about her iconic look. “We still have fans coming up to us saying they shaved off their hair. We brought fashion, fun and femininity to hip hop.”

Along with crazy haircuts, came wild threads. A mix of masculine and feminine style elements via slouchy jackets and leotards dictated the trends.

The self-described "raw" rappers were known to set the fashion trends in the late '80s. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The self-described “raw” rappers were known to set the fashion trends in the late ’80s.

Enlarge Salt-N-Pepa marks 30 years in music biz with ASCAP "Women in Music" honor.

Salt-N-Pepa marks 30 years in music biz with ASCAP “Women in Music” honor.

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“Nowadays everyone has a stylist – we were raw; wearing 8 ball jackets with kente hats and spandex,” Denton says. “It’s a quintessential look that everyone loved.”

The duo plans to translate their style into an athletic wear line. “This is Pep’s brilliant baby that was inspired by our song ‘Push It,’” James said. “We are into being healthy and staying motivated.”

James says she’s even gone to a few fitness classes that were themed after the song. “It’s become more than a song; it’s a lifestyle. There are so many obstacles in life that you have to keep pushing through.”

Asked to describe the journey in one word, Denton says “experience,” James, “blessed.”

camos@nydailynews.com

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Music & Arts – NY Daily News

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