As the world celebrates the 50th Anniversary of hip hop – which started in The Bronx in New York City in 1973 – one of the ways that the Great New York State Fair is commemorating the occasion is by bringing back the first-ever all women rap group, Salt-N-Pepa. Their performance, scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Opening Day, August 23 at Chevy Court, will be the group’s third appearance at The Fair.
Cheryl James (also known as “Salt”) and Sandy Denton (also known as “Pepa”) first linked up in the mid-1980s. They were Queensborough Community College students and Sears colleagues in Queens. Their coworker – and Salt’s boyfriend at the time – asked them to rap on a song he was producing. That song, “The Show Stopper,” became an underground hit and landed on the national R&B charts. That endeavor led to a record deal and the duo’s debut album, Hot, Cool & Vicious.
Then came all the hits, including “Push It,” “Shake Your Thang,” “Shoop” and “Whatta Man.” Through party anthems, big beats, and pro-feminist lyrics, Salt-N-Pepa broke down barriers for women in hip hop. They were also one of the first rap artists to experience success in the pop music realm and played a big role in solidifying the acceptance of rap and hip hop in the mainstream music world.
Salt-N-Pepa are the recipients of several Grammy awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021. That same year Lifetime released a biopic chronicling their careers.
“We are so excited to welcome Salt-N-Pepa back to The Great New York State Fair. These homegrown New York superstars embody the fun spirit and high-energy we love having on Opening Day of The Fair,” said Sean Hennessey, Interim Fair Director. “We can’t look back on 50 years of hip hop without recognizing the ways that they blazed a trail for so many artists and women today. Their contributions to hip hop – and the music world in general – have immeasurable impact that generations from now will have an appreciation for. And, by the way, stay tuned: We have another fun hip hop related feature planned for fairgoers, which we’ll be announcing soon.”
Salt-N-Pepa performed on the first day of the 2013 Fair and were featured in a day dedicated to classic rap and hip hop in 2015. This year, they join a star-studded line-up spanning multiple music genres on The Fair’s Opening Day. First, Chubby Checker kicks things off with “The Twist” at Chevy Court at 1:00 p.m., followed by Steven Page at 2:00 p.m. at Suburban Park. After Salt-N-Pepa’s 6:00 p.m. Chevy Court evening performance, Country’s Lainey Wilson closes out the day at 8:00 p.m. at Suburban Park.
“If you don’t come to The Fair on Opening Day, you’re missing out on making incredible memories and an impressive musical line-up that would cost hundreds of dollars elsewhere,” said Hennessey. “The Great New York State Fair is the best value in entertainment and offers many choices to choose from. This is the place to be on August 23!”
The ability to watch all acts featured in the Chevrolet Music Series is included with the price of Fair admission. Admission tickets –which will go on sale online soon– there is a fee for adults, and free for those who are 12 years old and younger, and 65 years old and older.
The Chevrolet Music Series features 48 acts spread across 13 days at the Great New York State Fair. All of the acts announced thus far are provided online, and at pages dedicated to Chevy Court and Suburban Park on The Fair’s website.