live ’n’ loud: Salt-N-Pepa know how far to push it ........
THEY carved the way for women in hip hop but when it comes to oversexualisation, New York-based duo Salt-N-Pepa know how far to push it.
Cheryl ‘‘Salt’’ James, Sandy ‘‘Pepa’’ Denton and Deidra Roper – aka DJ Spinderella – broke through the maledominated hip hop scene in the mid-’80s with their sassy hits Let’s Talk About Sex, Shoop and Push It.
The Grammy Award-winning group, who have sold more than 15 million albums worldwide, arrive in Australia in November and will return to play the Gold Coast as part of a four-date national tour.
While Salt-N-Pepa believe female dominance is a long way off in the ‘‘testosterone driven, misogynistic, male-orientated’’ hip hop world, Salt says women in the industry shouldn’t feel pressured to portray themselves as sexual objects.
That said, Salt wasn’t surprised to see Miley Cyrus’s sexualised performance at last month’s VMA awards.
‘‘The competition to be sexy is very severe right now in music for women and sometimes you can come off a little desperate,’’ she says.
‘‘I feel like Miley Cyrus is having a little bit of an identity crisis, which we all have in our 20s but she is having it in front of the whole world.
‘‘It seems now a lot of young artists are beginning to explore . . . we did it, but I felt like (Miley’s performance) was a little bit over the top.’’
While Salt admits she remembers feeling ‘‘the pressure to be sexy’’, she says it’s important for females to offer something else that’s special to music.
‘‘We did that, Salt-N-Pepa brought fun and femininity to hip hop,’’ she says.
‘‘We were different in the way we dressed and people appreciated our lyrics and could relate to us. We were outspoken but having so much fun.’’
Outspoken rappers like Tyler The Creator from US hip hop collective Odd Future are criticised for insulting women with words, often crossing the boarder with lyrics which promote violence against women.
Salt says as an artist, she’s not one to judge what acts like Odd Future say, but as a mother, she can’t agree with it.
‘‘I didn’t appreciate the flack we used to get because you have a right to express art as an artist,’’ she says.
‘‘But a lot of what is being said is damming to women. I support girl power all the way.
‘‘Anything that inspires women to be be strong, be survivors, to love out loud and to conquer is a positive message to me,’’ she says.
Salt-N-Pepa play Jupiters Hotel & Casino on November 12. Tickets start at $79.
Cheryl ‘Salt’ James and Sandy ‘Pepa’ Denton aka Salt-N-Pepa
Twerker Miley Cyrus