Their careers have spanned three decades and they’ve gone down in history as hip hop icons, and according to Salt-N-Pepa, they aren’t slowing down any time soon. There was a point when Cheryl James (Salt) and Sandy Denton (Pepa) took some time apart, but for years they’ve been touring and, most recently, wowing fans in Las Vegas as they enjoyed their residency on the strip—a show that boasted the first ever hip hop residency in Sin City.
The pair sat down with OK! Magazine to talk about what it’s been like as two women in rap who have broken through barriers, set records, and created a legacy that other female hip hop artists could follow. “It’s been one of those things in hip hop, believe it or not, it was a question of would hip hop even last, then in the later time it was like, damn, we gon’ end up in Vegas one day,” Denton said. James chimed in, “And that used to be a joke. It was like Vegas was where your career goes to die, and now that’s where you go to live.”
Denton noted that when they first came together, they weren’t necessarily worried about creating timeless music. According to Denton, they were focused on being all in as artists and giving one hundred percent. “It’s not even knowing [the music would be timeless], it’s knowing who we are and the type of [people] that we are,” Denton said. “Coming into the game knowing that this is something…we in it, we gotta go for it, we gotta stay focused, we gotta do it. So the fact that it paid off is what the blessing is and the celebration because we went in doing it. Once we was like, okay, we could do this, we went for it.
“And women, being women in hip hop at a time when it wasn’t that many women, we felt like we had more to prove,” James added. “There was a lot of thumbs down, they’re not gonna last, that type of thing. So we had to go hard in the paint. And for me personally, I was in college. I always say school is great, but it’s not for everyone. For me, it wasn’t working out and I always wanted to be an entertainer, so it was just…there was no plan B for me. When you think that way, it’s like, do this or die. That’s how I felt.”