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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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"Shoop" (1993)

Salt: I think Hurby and I were probably broken up at that time, and so once again that was another level of liberation for me. "Shoop" was the first song that we wrote when we started working on that album [Very Necessary], and Hurby did kind of go, "OK, you guys you think you can write and produce Salt-N-Pepa music without me?" … And it was like we were kinda breaking up with Hurby. We were just tired of feeling like we were under his thumb, and that he was in control of so much. He was very busy with other artists at this point, which was a great opportunity for us to start doing our own thing.

Pepa: "Shoop" was my baby. I remember sitting, writing these lyrics in my Jamaica Estates apartment. … Everybody goes, "What does shoop mean?" And I say, "Shoop is whatever you wanna do. I just wanna shoop, baby!"

Salt: It was the first time Salt-N-Pepa did something just the two of us, totally and completely her and I together without Hurby. It was a fight with the record company, with Hurby, to make it the first single off the album. I mean, a real fight that we finally won. I don't think Very Necessary would be very necessary if any other song kicked that album off.

We were in Russia with Yo! MTV Raps and we were doing the White Nights Festival. We were miserable out there. It was night time all the time, it was Russia and we were tired, and the food was horrible, so we were literally bored to tears, hungry, aggravated.

Pepa: Not taking nothing from Russia, it was a culture shock. So we didn't eat much.

Salt: And a lot of times, we would go to my room and work out – that's how bored we were [laughs]. We would be in the room working out, and when we came back from Russia, you see in the "Shoop" video what our bodies looked like.

Pepa: "Do You Want Me" and all those other times, we was bigger. We was thick.

Salt: My daughter was maybe three at the time, and we were never fat, but we had a little more weight on than we wanted to at the time, and so when we came back, we made the "Shoop" video and part of the success of that video, besides the fact that it was just so tongue-in-cheeky and so brilliantly done, was what we looked like. We owe it to Russia for those "Shoop" bodies.

Pepa: Whitney Houston came out with her "Shoop" ["Exhale (Shoop Shoop)"] after hearing our "Shoop." She came out with her song. And she said that she wanted a song like "Shoop." She actually said that.

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