Sunday Singalong: Salt n Pepa

Salt n Pepa’s hip hop songs were filled to the brim with feminist messages about self-respect and sexual autonomy from “Let’s Talk About Sex” to “Ain’t Nuthin But A She Thing” and their songs were sooo catchy. Salt n Pepa are the trio of Cheryl James, Sandra Denton and Deidre Roper and they were one of the first all-girl rap groups to make it big in the music scene – in fact, the first female rap act to go gold and platinum with record sales in the USA. This is no small feat for an all-girl crew, hip hop culture has always been defined around black male culture. Coming out of New York they first emerged on the scene way back in the mid-80s with the international hit, “Push It” but their biggest years were the 1990s. When they first came along I thought they were all about the sexy, which I didn’t mind one bit because I was a teenager and they seemed so refreshingly assertive about their sexuality, but then came their follow-up numbers with all these inspiringly strong feminist lyrics:

Now I can bring home the bacon (yeah), fry it in the pan (yeah)
Never let you forget that you’re a man
Cuz I’m a W-O-M-A-N
That’s what I am, doin’ all I can
The thing that makes me mad and crazy, upset
Got to break my neck just to get my respect
Go to work and get paid less than a man
When I’m doin’ the same damn thing that he can
When I’m aggressive then I’m a bitch
When I got attitude you call me a witch
Treat me like a sex-object (That ain’t smooth)
Underestimate the mind, oh yeah, you’re a fool
Weaker sex, yeah, right, that’s the joke (ha!)
Have you ever been in labor? I don’t think so, nope

My favourite of all their songs is easily their calling out of slut-shaming with “None Of Your Business”. This is not long before a kind of faux-feminism emerged in the pop scene with the Spice Girls and the like supposedly singing about sex positivity and self-respect but really singing about nothing with their brand of ‘girl power’, and then you compare that with Salt n Pepa who were singing about having sex of their choosing while also demanding equality and respect. It was way ahead of its time.

(Having looked at this videoclip with fresh eyes I spot what might look like a bit of fat-hatred here so my apologies if that offends. On the plus side the clip is definitely anti-homophobia).

“None Of Your Business”

What’s the matter with your life?
Why you gotta mess with mine?
Don’t keep sweatin’ what I do
Cause I’m gonna be just fine – check it out
[CHORUS] If I wanna take a guy home with me tonight
It’s none of your business
And she wanna be a freak and sell it on the weekend
It’s none of your business
Now you shouldn’t even get into who I’m givin’ skins to
It’s none of your business
So don’t try to change my mind, I’ll tell you one more time
It’s none of your business

Now who do you think you are
Puttin’ your cheap two cents in?
Don’t you got nothin’ to do
Than worry ’bout my friends? Check it…

I can’t do nothin’, girl, without somebody buggin’
I used to think that it was me, but now I see it wasn’t
They told me to change, they called me names, and so I popped one
Opinion’s are like assholes and everybody’s got one
I never put my nose where I’m not supposed to
Believe me, if he’s something that I want, I’m steppin’ closer
I’m not one for playing high-pole
Like the high soditty 90210 type of the ho
I treat a man like he treats me
The difference between a hooker and a ho ain’t nothin’ but a fee
So hold your tongue tightly, wish you could be like me
You’re poppin’ all that mess only to stress and to spite me
Now you can get with that or you can get with this
But I don’t give a shit cause really it’s none of your business

(1993, S and P, packin’ and mackin’
Bamboozlin’ and smackin’ suckers with this track
Throw the beat back in!)


How many rules am I to break before you understand
That your double-standards don’t mean shit to me?
I know exactly what you say when I turn and walk away
But that’s OK cause I don’t let it get it to me
Now every move I make somebody’s clockin’
Don’t ask me nothin’, will you just leave me alone?
Never mind who’s the guy that I took home…to bone

OK, Miss Thing never givin’ up skins
If you don’t like him or his friends what about that Benz?
Your Pep-Pep’s got an ill rep
With all that macaroni trap for rap you better step
Or better yet get your head checked
Cause I refuse to be played like a penny cent trick deck of cards
No, I ain’t hard like the bitches on a boulevard
My face ain’t scarred, and I don’t dance in bars
You can call me a tramp if you want to
But I remember the punk who just humped and dumped you
Or you can front if you have to
But everybody gets horny just like you
So, yo, so, yo, ho – check it, double deck it on a record butt-naked
Pep’s ass gets respect, and this butt is none of your business


So the moral of this story is: Who are you to judge?
There’s only one true judge, and that’s God
So chill, and let my Father do His job

Cause Salt and Pepa’s got it swingin’ again
Cause Salt and Pepa’s got it swingin’ again
Cause Salt and Pepa’s got it swingin’ again
Cause Salt and Pepa’s got it swingin’ again…

Categories: arts & entertainment, fun & hobbies, gender & feminism


2 replies

  1. Thanks for reminding me about those great songs. I really enjoyed seeing a bit of them on the telly here a few months ago when they were doing a short tour in Australia – many memories!

  2. Thank you for this. “None Of Your Business” is my go-to track to cleanse my brain after reading or hearing some ”women don’t really like sex/shouldn’t like sex/should not dress *like that*” foolery. Works every time!

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