Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Hip hop is such a male-identified world that even man-friendly gals like MC Lyte, whose Ruffneck sings the praises of guys who fiddle with their rigs in public, fail to score the precious-metal album sales of colleagues with less talent and more penises. The sole exception has been Salt-n-Pepa. Commercial presences since 1986's pelvic Push It and the Otis Redding cover Tramp, Salt, Pepa, and turntable whiz Spinderella are experts at mining sex and soul for dollars and cents.

Shoop, the lead single from Very Necessary (Next Plateau/London), typifies their shtick: a lyric that has the girls surveying talent--"wanna thank your mother for a butt like that"--over a Sweet Inspirations sample. Groove Me (dancehall riddims under King Floyd title), None of Your Business (as in "ain't nobody's"), Sexy Noises Turn Me On (male and female both), and What a Man (background vocals by En Vogue) vary the formula. And a closing playlet called I've Got AIDS is rap's scariest condom ad yet.

Tastes in sex being as personal as they are, those who find Salt-n-Pepa a mite soft-core have their own femme-rap option: HWA (Hoez With Attitude), a Chicago real-estate salesperson and her two friends who moved to L.A. to make it in show business. Call As Much Ass Azz U Want (Ruthless) a concept EP about eating pussy. And give the ladies credit--unlike too many of their male colleagues, they don't think you're a slut after youn give them head.

Fast Cuts: The title cut of John Forster's Entering Marion (Philo) misreads a road sign with sexually hilarious results, and his Paul Simon parody ain't bad either. Born To Choose (Rykodisc) works a gratifying double whammy: entertaining and educational as both alternative-rock sampler and prochoice propaganda.

Playboy, Jan. 1994

June, 1994 Feb. 1994