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When they are together, they listen mostly to old soul, like the O' Jays and Marvin Gaye, rather than hip-hop.
"There was a lot of confusion in my home - a lot of physical drama, a lot of mental drama."James' mother, Barbara, a retired bank manager, agrees.
But her brother began to be influenced by the streets, and the two kids could no longer relate.
To make matters worse, her father, a subway conductor, was drinking."I love my dad now, but back then, me and my dad were bitter enemies," James says.
James is on Long Island; Denton and Roper are in New Jersey. From the age of 8, she was a dancer in the East New York Theatrical Workshop; she was the fifth of six kids, all of whom were musical.
Their childhoods, however, left indelible impressions, as much for their families' staying together as for any tough financial times. She was born in Jamaica, the seventh of eight kids in a strict, fairly well-off West Indian family, then moved to Queens as a young child. Her father (who worked for Con Edison before falling into a manhole and injuring his leg when Roper was in high school) had painted the living room red and black - it was the age of disco, after all - and his turntable featured a lighted ball that would splay patterns about the room. She was the middle child, at first closer to her older brother than to her sister.
After more than to years in the business, Salt-n-Pepa finally have complete freedom., you might still hear "Gitty Up," a patented SNP-style sexual romp, co-written by Rick James, but you'll also hear "Hold On," a hallelujah-shouting gospel song featuring Christian R&B singer Kirk Franklin. It seems that the threesome went to a comedy club last night, and one stand-up, not even knowing that Salt-n-Pepa were in attendance, started singing "Push It." "It was, like, The funniest thing about "Push It," SNP's first big hit, in 1986, is that it started out as a joke. It is no coincidence that many rap artists are forced to wear more hats - artist, producer, business person - than musicians in traditionally white genres just to make sure that their interests are protected."They're racist more than they are greedy, believe it or not," says James of record companies.
Lounging by the pool in cutoff jeans and a bikini top, James talks about her group's new direction with almost evangelical zeal. All we ask is that we fly first-class and we have a nice hotel. Azor came up with the synth line and, thinking it was too corny, James and Denton added the "Ooh, baby, baby" to mock it. "They'll sit on your record in a minute, just to make a point.
She is supposed to be the quiet member; it is Sandi Denton (Pepa) who is the loud one, always at the center of attention. That's all we ask."And so the ladies lounge in style. We've had comments come back to us that people from companies in charge of our records say, ' We've gotta get those girls in line.' ' We're grown women who've been in this business for over 10 years.
But when James speaks of her faith, she can't control herself. Salt-n-Pepa are her mountain-top, and she is shouting. And you feel like you have to put is a reaction to the tumultuous last few years.
"The interesting thing about SNP is that unlike the majority of their contemporaries, their personas are not born of the artists' upbringing.
The streets of New York's Brooklyn (James and Roper) and Queens (Denton) have never filtered into their musical image.
In his lyrics he was witty with it: He didn't really kill a lot of people, and this and that.