Picks and Pans Review: Hot, Cool & Vicious

updated 08/31/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/31/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Salt'n Pepa

Until now macho males fast-talked their way into most of rap music's starring roles. But the genre is getting a new kind of seasoning from Salt'n Pepa, a female duo that plans to challenge the male rappers' supremacy. Salt (Cheryl James) and Pepa (Sandy Denton) produce rap music that is energetic, playful and sassy. Like Run-D.M.C. they avoid the genre's potential tedium by using a varied beat and surprising sound effects. The band's deejay Spinderella (Latoya Greene) provides such a lively background music mix that it's nearly impossible to hear the album without dancing. (She has since left the group.) With uncommon courtesy to their fans, Salt 'n Pepa include a complete rundown of their history on the album cover. Pepa, whose boyfriend until recently was Prince Markie Dee of the Fat Boys, met Salt at Queensborough Community College, where they both studied nursing before turning to music. Hot, Cool & Vicious is their first album, and it shows only one glaring weakness: the lyrics. Despite a sporadically feminist outlook, Salt 'n Pepa fail to rise above rap's usual boasts and put-downs. The problem could be that they let their male producer Hurby Luv Bug (Herby Azor) help write their words. If Salt'n Pepa want to be shakin' on every turntable, they'll have to spin out lyrics as spicy as their beat. (Next Plateau)

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