Salt-N-Pepa: Our Life in 15 Songs

The hip-hop pioneers tell the stories behind "Push It," "Shoop," Whatta Man" and more

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"None of Your Business" (1994)

Salt: Being a mom, the "If she wanna be a freak and sell it on the weekend" part was the part that I was having a lot, a lot, a lot of problems with. I actually remember feeling kind of like I was going against everything that not only I'm about, but [also] Salt-N-Pepa as women and female empowerment and respect and everything. To me, that's basically condoning prostitution, which I don't condone, and didn't then, and still don't. So that was just something I would never, ever, ever say. Like, vehemently would never, ever say. So then me and Hurby were going back and forth, and I said, OK, so at the end, can I say something about judgment. The whole "Only God can judge" thing at the end was like my compromise with him or his compromise with me, 'cause he really wanted that line in the song. But it never, ever, ever, ever sat well with me.

Pepa: And of all the songs in the world to win the Grammy for. … I know kids look up to us. And I get it. But that was my song. ... And I like saying "none of your business." Because I live by that, to this day. … Yeah, we don't like, "If I wanna be a freak and sell it on the weekend," but guess what, it's none of your business. Because some girls, I know they sold it, and they went to college. But it's none of anybody else's business.

Spinderella: "Bone" was the word back then [laughs.] We were pushing the envelope, we were talking like we'd talk behind the scenes.

Salt: A lot of people disagree with me, they hate that I feel that way, I know Pepa does, but … I don't know. It's just the way that I feel. And I can't help it. Essence used to do a TV awards show. [Editor-in-chief Susan L. Taylor] asked us not to do "None of Your Business" as a woman. She explained the lyrics and what it's saying that she doesn't feel it's female empowerment-worthy, for Essence. And I understood it. So now I'm caught between a rock and a hard place and I said, OK, well, it's the hit song right now, it's part of our medley. That particular line I told her we would take out along with some other words. But when I got on stage, I kind of forgot, or lost it, because it was an industry audience, those things are kind of nerve-wracking and I said the lyrics that I said I would not say. And I remember her being so angry with us. But it made me go, "Wow, somebody that agrees with me about some of the things that this song is saying." And I didn't feel so crazy.

Pepa: We finally, after all these years, found a way to do this song, finally. ... I'm not gonna lie. I wanted to do that song. That's the song [that helped make the proudest] moment of my life, winning the Grammy, televised. Back then, they weren't even televising rap. And that song won me the Grammy, and I wasn't ashamed of it. So [Salt] got pissed, because everybody wanted to hear it. And she could tell that I disagreed. And it was feelings. She knew how I felt. I couldn't discuss it. I couldn't say, "Girl, do the song." I just had to take it. I just had to just live with it, her decision of not wanting to do the song at all. … We found a way that Salt goes off the stage, I do that song with the crowd, and they lose they minds. I honored her. I respect her decision. But my fans wanted that song. 

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