Weekend Listening: Very Necessary by Salt-N-Pepa
Listen while you read (volume may be loud):
Album: Very Necessary by Salt-N-Pepa
Released: October 12, 1993 by Next Plateau Entertainment/London Records
Recommended if you like: fierce-as-fuck women, sex positivity, rad 90s hits, feminist queens, intense wordplay
Notable Tracks: “Shoop”, “Whatta Man”, “None Of Your Business”, “Somebody’s Gettin’ On My Nerves”
Aw fuck, you guys. It. Is. On.
I decided to reconnect with my 90s self recently and rediscovering Very Necessary was one of the major highlights of the experience. (Which is still in progress. I have spent a lot of time suppressing just about everything from my childhood so, this is gonna take some time.)
I was 10 in 1993, so I probably didn’t actually purchase this album for a year or two. I don’t even know if I had a CD player when this came out–if I did, I hadn’t had it a year yet. This album is a BFD (big fucking deal), though: it’s the best selling rap album by women and it’s been certified five times platinum (7 million copies sold total, but only 5 in the US). Many of the sales were boosted by “Shoop”, “None Of Your Business”, and “Whatta Man”, all chart-climbing singles.
Also totally fucking life-changing songs.
Salt-N-Pepa were female influences I needed growing up. Every girl my age needed them to an extent; even if you didn’t grow up raised by a father who didn’t particularly care for women, society itself still hasn’t warmed up to women as autonomous beings with agency. Yet, Salt-N-Pepa (and Spinderella, my favorite stage name maybe ever) gave zero fucks about the place they were “supposed” to occupy as women, the nun/whore dichotomy we’re unfairly trapped in, or what is “proper” lady behavior. “Forget that you’re a lady and give ’em what they deserve!”
Especially when they deserve gems like this:
“You couldn’t hump me if my first name was Cooty Cat
Your little jimmy can’t even hold your zipper back
Why don’t you tell the story right, man?
The only skins you ever hit was the skins on your right hand” – “Somebody’s Gettin’ On My Nerves”
They sang about bullshit double standards, mocked bad behaviors by men, and were openly, un-apologetically sexual while refusing to be denigrated as “sluts” or “hoes” for liking sex when almost everyone likes sex.
“You can call me a tramp if you want to
But I remember the punk who just humped and dumped you
Or you can front if you have to
But everybody gets horny just like you” – “None Of Your Business”
I’m pretty sure they are 85% responsible for me having very little sex shame as an adult and saying “fuck you” when my ex-roommate called me a tramp because I slept with a few more people than he did.
Very Necessary still sounds great, too. It’s got a groove that makes you excited to be listening to it; I could jam to Salt, Pepa, and Spinderella for days.
So, yeah. Reconnect with your 90s girl power this weekend. If you want to listen, here’s how: