Today in Hip Hop History: Hot, Cool & Vicious

Hot, Cool & Vicious
Hot, Cool & Vicious

Today in Hip Hop History: December 8, 1986

The classic female rap group Salt-N-Pepa released their debut album, Hot, Cool & Vicious, through independent Next Plateau Records in 1986. The album was one of the first hip hop albums to be released by an all-female group. At the time, Salt-N-Pepa consisted of Cheryl “Salt” James, Sandra “Pepa” Denton and Deidra “Spinderella” Roper.

Hot, Cool & Vicious featured production from Hurby “Luv Bug” Azor (Salt’s boyfriend and their manager at the time), George Clinton and Bootsy Collins, among several others. The album did not origianlly contain their hit single “Push It,” but later pressings included the song. The song was one of the first rap songs to peak at #1 on the U.S. Dance Singles Chart. It also went Platinum.

The album also contained their songs “I’ll Take Your Man” and “The Showstopper.” the latter of which is a response to Doug E. Fresh‘s “The Show.” Lyrically, the group was not afraid to challenge the traditional notions of hip hop and its patriarchy. They dropped rhymes about sex and sported an appeal that changed the way people looked at the genre, all while maintaining a healthy level of respect for themselves.

Hot, Cool & Vicious became RIAA Certified Platinum in the United States, making it the first album by a female hip hop group to attain both Gold and Platinum status. Additionally, The Source had the album listed on their 100 Best Rap albums. Hot, Cool & Vicious is undoubtedly a pioneer album for women in hip hop, and hip hop in general. 29 years later, Salt-N-Pepa retain their importance in the gender politics of hip hop, and their debut album set the stage for their careers.

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