After an abrupt split in 2000 that left many brows furrowed, including ours, Cheryl ”Salt” Wray and Sandy ”Pepa” Denton attempt to reunite on VH1’s new reality series The Salt-N-Pepa Show (airing Oct. 15). But first, the original fly girls chat with EW about their provocative catalog (which produced eight Top 40 hits), long-brewing tensions, and the odds on a new album.
In 1987, you scored your first major hit with ”Push It.” How did the song come about?
PEPA Well, at first, we were like, ”I don’t know about this,” because it was a little more edgy and more street. But we had the single ”Tramp.”
SALT And during those times you had to do an A and B side to your records. So, we recorded the vocals for ”Push It” in a guy named Fresh Gordy’s bathroom. He was just fooling around with the synthesizer line and [former manager] Hurby was like, ”I’m gonna use it.” Afterwards, I remember Hurby telling us to do ”Push It” at one of our concerts, and we were like, ”What!?” But, we did it and the crowd went crazy. It was never meant to be anything but the other side of ”Tramp.”
How do you feel about some of your more sexually suggestive songs, like ”Let’s Talk About Sex” and ”Shoop,” now that both of you are mothers of teenagers?
PEPA You better not put our ages in the story! [Laughs]
SALT Well, I’ve changed my life in a lot of ways. I’m a mom, a wife, and a Christian. Some of the things I expressed in my early 20s aren’t what I care to express right now.
SALT ”None of Your Business.” It’s the only Salt-N-Pepa song that I regret. It was irresponsible to say ”If she wanna be a freak/And sell it on the weekend/It’s none of your business.” I’m not trying to promote prostitution.
Why reconcile your issues on a reality show?
PEPA The idea of a reality show came from me always wanting to do a sitcom. I’ve done The Surreal Life, so for me it was okay, I’m that kind of person. Salt had a bit of a hard time adjusting.
SALT At first I resisted. I didn’t want to get back into the whole industry. I left overworked, overwhelmed, and not having any control over my life. I was bulimic and needed to heal. So, with the many unresolved issues between Pep and I, at first I was like, ”No.” But then I thought if Pep and I were to have creative control, then okay.
So, can we expect a new Salt-N-Pepa album?
SALT No! I’m just kidding. I don’t know.
PEPA I’m pushing for it.
SALT Y’all don’t understand! I’m taking this day by day. Even just doing this show, my family life has begun to explode…. I gotta do what’s best for me.
Wait, What Happened to Spinderella?!?!?
When watching the premiere of The Salt-N-Pepa Show, fans will notice that the third member of the group, Deidra ”Spinderella” Jones, is conspicuously absent. But trust us, no one is more disappointed than the sassy DJ herself. ”I’m just a guest, honey,” she explains. ”I’m humbled.” Though she now understands, as viewers soon will, that Salt and Pep’s problems leave little oxygen in the room for others. ”I did not realize things were so intensive with them,” she says. ”Apparently, for us to have any future as Salt-N-Pepa again, they need to hash some things out.” But hold that pity party: Since the trio’s demise, Spinderella has worked steadily DJ’ing and hosts her own syndicated hip-hop show, The BackSpin, from Los Angeles. Still, she has her own baggage she’ll be bringing when she visits the women she considers ”my sisters” later in the season. As she warns, ”When they’re finished with their beef they’re going to have to address mine.”