Pepa on Nicki Minaj: ‘How’s She Gonna Enlighten?’
Just about every hip-hop head, old and recent, has an opinion on a certain heavy-banged, animated female rapper. Next to share their thoughts on the ever-present Nicki Minaj? One half of the best-selling female rap act, Sandra “Pepa” Denton.
Pepa, who debuted her first Salt-n-Pepa album Hot, Cool & Vicious in 1985, shared with VIBE her feelings on the new, 25-year-old, pink-adoring rapper. “She reminds me of [Lil’ Kim]. Bold and you know… she’s young. And a lot of people are like ‘Oh what do you feel about her because of the message?’, but to me she hasn’t learned the message yet,” she says.
“[Salt-n-Pepa are] old in the game, we started out a little raw, so after a little while I’ve learned and changed because my audience changed. Kids started coming to my concert and I realized that I had sense of responsibility. I was cursing in my shows, and then I started seeing little kids and was like, ‘Oh what are they doing here?’ And after a while I had to stop, I didn’t feel right.”
Minaj expressed to BET recently during a 2010 Spring Bling special that though her shows are unconventional, uncensored, and filled with signatured boobs, she’s attempting to find a balance between the older audience she targets and her over-loyal younger fans.
Pepa says finding that audience balance is especially tough with a male-dominated team, like Nicki’s Young Money crew.
“Not everyone’s role model material, but we do have a sense of responsibility because kids listen more to us than they would their parents. But [Nicki’s] young, so how’s she gonna enlighten?’ She’s new, she’s excited and what happens when you have a male camp backing you? Yeah, you might be singing those kinds of lyrics,” she says with a laugh. “That’s what happens when you have a male camp dictating how you should be.”
Pep hinted at starring in a new reality show in search of the new Salt-n-Pepa, to which she wouldn’t mind if Minaj played her younger self.
“I’m not mad at Nicki. I think she’s talented. I love her style. She has a lot of attitude, she has a lot of things she wants to express so I wouldn’t be mad at that. I was there at that age, so I don’t expect her to be like ‘Oh let me start being this way.’ This is what she’s feelin’.”
Salt-n-Pepa are currently in the studio working on new material. —Tracy Garraud