Why Salt-N-Pepa ‘hated’ mega-hit Push It
SALT-N-PEPA say their iconic hit "Push It" is sexy for a simple reason: it was written by a "sex addict."
"We hated the song, we thought it was dumb," Cheryl "Salt" James told Confidential.
"We literally laughed in the studio, like: 'All we need to say is ooh-baby-baby? OK, dude, whatever."
The 1987 classic was written and produced by Hurby "Luv Bug" Azor, who was James' boyfriend at the time.
They recorded "Push It" as a B-side for the single "Tramp", only for it to push the A-side aside, and become their biggest ever hit.
"We didn't expect it to be a hit record, and it's the No.1 Salt-N-Pepa record, so I guess you have to be open to ideas," James said.
With lyrics like "get up on this" and "push it real good," it was assumed the song is about sex.
"For Salt-N-Pepa, the song was never about sex," James said.
"It was for Herbie because he's a sex addict. I'm just saying he's got 15 kids to I don't-know-how-many different women. You know, whatever, I'm just saying," she added, laughing.
"In his eyes, it was all about that. To me … my daughter is about to compete as a bikini model and she's going for first place.
"She's going through all these things, and trying to get her body in shape. It's a goal, and she has to push it right?
"If you have a baby, you have to push it. When you're having a hard time in life, you're depressed, you're going through a divorce, you have to push it.
"You have to push through everything in life. Because if you stop pushing it, you give up."
Salt-N-Pepa will perform at the gala opening of the Crossing Lines exhibition at the NGV on Saturday.
Crossing Lines, which opens on December 1, will feature the work of influential New York artists Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Salt-N-Pepa's inclusion plays to the 1980s New York theme of the event.
James says the duo's longevity carries a clear message.
"Making timeless music is important," she said.
"Salt-N-Pepa brought something unique to hip hop for women: fun, fashion and femininity.
"We made a mark, and had a voice, at a very specific time, that spoke to real women struggling with real things.
"And we were not afraid to compete with men in a very male-dominated industry."