“Very Necessary” by Salt ’N’ Pepa was arguably the trio’s biggest selling album of their career. Originally released in October 1993 and still quite successful the following year, it helped to bring rap music into the mainstream… uh… yeah, whatever, I’ll just make it up as I go along… cuz I don’t really know what else to say. This album was one that I quite enjoyed back in 1994. Let’s see what I think of it in 2017…. like Chico DeBarge said, there’s no guarantee that this will be a positive review. Uh-oh. And before any of you keyboard warriors come at me…. oh, shut up! This is my blog and I will say whatever the hell I want to. Deal with it. Here’s my review:
Groove Me – Very of its time with the dance hall rhythm and chanting by “Futuristic Prophet.” The lyrics alternate between Salt ’N’ Pepa coming back to rock the mic and other lines like: “I want you deep inside” and “Go down and take your time.” You don’t necessarily have to be Albert Einstein to understand what they are talking about. There’s an old disco song of the same name, but it may not have anything to do with this one.
No One Does It Better – Starting off like an eighties song by Whitney Houston and moving into something more reminiscent of ‘90s G-Funk, this one is…. very appropriately placed on the album: We’ve gone from “Groove Me” to “No One Does It Better.” LAWD! What’s next? Listening back to this tune, one can’t help wondering: Is that a sample of “Atomic Dog” by George Clinton or “More Bounce To The Ounce” by Zapp? Maybe they’ve just made it sound like that.
Somebody’s Gettin’ On My Nerves – Appropriately titled because it features them repeating the title of this song over & over again and it makes you wanna hurt somebody. DAMN!! So, if you can make it past the first forty-two seconds, you must be commended. Once you do that, you’ll realise that they’re just letting off a little steam. It’s still unbearable to listen to, though! NEXT!
What A Man – The second single released off the album, which of course ended up becoming a huge hit all over the world. Still one of their most recognised to this day. A very smoothed out collaboration with En Vogue, who were also quite big at the time. It’s just about them appreciating their men, of course. “A body like Arnold with a Denzel face.” Maybe that was just their fantasy at the time. Yeah… not really into this song anymore…. despite hearing it so many times that the lyrics are imprinted into my brain.
None Of Your Business – Essentially they’re talking about casual sex and that it’s nobody else’s business who they choose to do it with, or if some woman wants to be a “freak and sell it on the weekend,” let her be, which is fair enough… but this song is very annoying now! When they released it as a single, DJ Muggs from Cypress Hill did a heavy metal version. No wonder it didn’t do very well. NEXT!
Step – Taking its tempo from the Hank Crawford song “It’s a funky thing to do,” this one begins with a verse from DJ Spinderella, who informs us that she is letting go of an ex-boyfriend. Which is fine n dandy…. but do we really have to hear “Pepa” comparing his “equipment” to a tiny thumb in the second verse? Please. Next song.
Shoop – You know how it is when you see a good-looking girl walking down the street, right? You wanna do something stupid like yell out “NICE ASS,” but that’s gonna make you look like a complete F wit. When Salt N Pepa made “Shoop,” they were putting all of that back on the guys. The lyrics are a little over-the-top though: “I wanna know, how does it hang?” “Twelve inches to a yard, have you sounding like a retard.” WOW. This song also references Prince’s “Sexy MF.” The man himself replied by releasing a remix of “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World” with that very lyric recited by his girlfriend at the time. Of course in 2016, “Shoop” was featured in the movie “Deadpool.” HUGE hit all over the world. More money for Salt N Pepa.
Heaven Or Hell – Probably the most thugged-out song they’ve ever made, but it wasn’t really to glorify that lifestyle, it was more to tell people to stop the violence and that it wasn’t a very positive thing. It still paints a vivid picture and it features two of the most sampled songs ever in hip-hop: “Synthetic Substitution” and “Heaven and hell is on earth,” which is used as the hook, but they’ve given the song somewhat of a reggae flavour, which is much more original. One of the better singles released from the album, even though it wasn’t as big as “Shoop” or “What A Man.”
Big Shot – At the end of the day, they’re just bragging about how successful they’ve become: “I wasn’t trying to be a hooker selling poontang.” That line was recited by “Salt,” whose real name is Cheryl and has now dedicated her life to Christ… which makes you wonder what she thinks of that lyric now. The melody of its chorus sounds as though it were lifted from “The Magic Number” by De La Soul… or rather, the original by Bob Dorough.
Sexy Noises Turn Me On – Back in 1994, this song might’ve been sexy but in 2017 it’s almost laughable, especially the dance hall chanting lyrics like: “Love it when ya whisper na me ears…. love it when ya breathe in me face…. turn de light down, feeling kinda horny.” The way those lines are delivered are especially corny sounding now. Props to them for trying to bring in a Caribbean flavour and get with the times. I can’t even make it to the end of this one anymore.
Somma Time Man – Yep. “Pepa” was definitely the most rugged member of this group. Not only is she telling us that somebody’s man is a dog and that he deserves to be put on a leash, she even uses the phrase: “Cut the nuts.” Really? The beginning of the song features them singing the Wings song “Let ‘Em In.” Damn! That was not even listed in the credits. Nor was any sample used on this album. Why is it that they have clearly dropped “the N word” in the song “Big Shot,” yet… here it is reversed? Makes no sense at all. Really? They’ve compared a man’s erection to drug addiction? They were clearly talking about men sleeping around, but even so it’s a little extreme.
Break Of Dawn – Undoubtably the most quoted phrase of ‘80s and ‘90s hip-hop. It’s nothing too deep, they’re just taking turns dropping a few rhymes… and their flows are admittedly all very good. It’s pretty straight forward.
PSA We Talk – Salt ’N’ Pepa were all about promoting safe sex, so they’ve decided to include a re-enactment of what happens when somebody finds out they’re affected with AIDS. It would be an incredibly emotional thing to deal with, especially when the person is only 16. But at the same time, you don’t really want to hear all of that screaming and carrying on. So, it’s onto the next song.
Shoop (Danny D’s Radio Mix) – Says it all, really, it’s just the radio version of “Shoop,” which actually has the word “retard” censored out on the CD Single… not so for the album, though. It also has a different intro and a slightly different beat. It’s just a bonus track, as some of the original copies of the album end with that spoken word piece.
Start Me Up – Has nothing to do with the Rolling Stones song, let’s get that out of the way. It’s just a very R&B orientated rap song that’s…. obviously a metaphor for something else… but it’s not really all that special. Maybe that’s why it’s a bonus song, it wouldn’t have really made much of an impact as the album’s opener.
Verdict – I must have been bored when I wrote this. Or maybe I just felt like saying that I’ve outgrown the album in a long-winded way. Obviously you’re not going to like the exact same music that you did at 12, especially when a lot of things like sex references go over your head. Furthermore, once you’ve reached the age of about 30 odd, you’ll realise that this album is actually very immature in a lot of places. But that’s not to say it’s music for children by any means. It’s also quite dated now, but hey, it’s exactly like Common said: “It ain’t ’94, Joe you can’t go back.” Thankfully their next album from 1997 was a little more grown up. Unfortunately by that stage Salt ’N’ Pepa were old news. Yeah, let’s move onto something new. And better.