“Hot, Cool, & Vicious” by Salt-N-Pepa


Released in 1986 on Next Plateau Records, and produced by Hurby “Luv Bug” Azor, this is the debut album of what would become the biggest-selling all-female rap group of all-time. Consisting of rappers SALT (Cheryl James) and PEPA (Sandra Denton) and their D.J. Spinderella (Latoya Hanson who, soon after this album was finished, would be replaced by Deidra Roper), they explicitly stated on the liner notes of this album that they didn’t want to be thought of as “the female version” of any male rap group, but rather be “the next” Run-DMC, Fatboys, etc. And they succeeded. Containing just nine songs, which was about standard for albums at the time, this album showcases the ladies vibrant and outgoing personalities and their healthy attitudes towards men and sex, without sounding exploitative.

I remember first hearing this group when I was in Elementary school (yeah, I’m old) when, under the name Supernature, they released THE SHOWSTOPPER a parody/answer-record to Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew’s classic song The Show. Answer records were a bit of trend in those days in the rap genre, and so this was just seen as a clever little gimmick. It’s included this album and it’s funny, showing how they weren’t afraid to go up against male rappers head-on. Their attitude towards men is further showcased in songs like their first new single I’LL TAKE YOUR MAN (“I’ll take your man whenever I feel like it/This ain’t a threat or a bet, it’s a damn promise/From me to you, your sex life’s through/If you get another lover, I’ll take him, too”), HOW LONG (BETCHA GOTTA CHICK ON THE SIDE) (“I finally caught onto your little game/Your lying and denying is a cryin’ shame/You took me for granted, this is the end, dammit/You’re playing the field like you’re some love bandit”) and TRAMP, which puts the men in the hot seat:

They prove they can do braggadocio rhymes as well as any battle-MC on tracks like I DESIRE (“And if you really think about it you know what it means, To be a female rapper from the heart of Queens/And see others dream about being supreme, But once on the scene we start killing kings”) and MY MIC SOUNDS NICE:

BEAUTY AND THE BEAT is an ode to their D.J. while IT’S ALRIGHT has them rapping in fake Jamaican accents over a reggae beat (the only song that didn’t really work for me on this album). And, of course, I’d be remiss there is the standout single from this album, the one that really catapulted them into the mainstream, PUSH IT:

And very well put-together album of catchy and clever songs. Still just as enjoyable 28 years later as it was back then. Chacebook rating: 4 STARS

Get it on iTunes

5 replies »

  1. Man, this brings back memories. I’m from the South, and I remember Supernature. I’m a musician, and my friends and I had our rap group back then. A week after Tramp hit the local radio, I played it live for the group during a talent showcase.

    I’ll have to throw the mp3 player on old school for the ride home from work and reminisce.

    Liked by 1 person

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