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Paul Mann: Salt-N-Pepa Party Like It’s 1999 at Chumash Resort

Hip Hop group engages sold-out crowd with old and new material

Hip Hop artists Salt-N-Pepa engaged the crowd at the Chumash Casino Resort.
Hip Hop artists Salt-N-Pepa engaged the crowd at the Chumash Casino Resort. (L. Paul Mann photo)

The Hip Hop group Salt-N-Pepa played a sold-out concert at the Chumash Casino Resort's Samala Showroom on Nov. 19.

The rap duo and their trademark DJ were the first female Hip Hop group to have a mainstream hit album, which went platinum, cementing their place in American music history.

The show marked the end of an era at the casino, being the last to admit 18 to 20 year old music fans. The casino, which is undergoing a massive upgrade and expansion, has finally secured a liquor license for the entire facility.

Previously, alcohol was only available in the upstairs restaurants. Now visitors will be allowed to drink throughout the entire gaming area and, consequently, those under 21 will no longer be able to attend concerts

The show began with a warm up set by comedian Drew Thomas, who has established a residency at the venue, featuring a revolving line up of top comedic talent. The talented funny man engaged many in the crowd directly, challenging nearly everyone who came late, with a taunting sarcastic introduction.

The crowd responded well and it was a fitting opening act for the Hip Hop Divas.

After a short break, DJ Dee Dee “Spinderella” Roper took the stage and immediately fired up the crowd with her music mixing prowess.

Cheryl “Salt” James takes lead vocals during Salt-N-Pepa’s Chumash Resort concert. Click to view larger
Cheryl “Salt” James takes lead vocals during Salt-N-Pepa’s Chumash Resort concert. (L. Paul Mann photo)

Rappers Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandy “Pepa” Denton triumphantly took the stage next, each flanked by a male dancer.

What transpired over the next 80 minutes could be written off as a glorified karaoke party by music critics uninspired by the Hip Hop genre. But as Katy Perry showed during her infamous escapades at the Santa Barbara nightclub Wildcat, karaoke can be a very creative catalyst.

Her experiences there were part of the inspiration for one of her biggest hit songs, “This Is How We Do.”

At the Chumash show, DJ Spinderella, launched into a medley of disco mania, with Salt N Pepa alternating on microphone, filling in the chorus lines and even passing the microphone through out the audience.

By the third song, the crowd had swarmed the stage. The disco medley featured a crowd call-and-response from other rappers’ records (Biz Markie, Black Sheep, etc.)

But the biggest response came in the form of a dance craze to 1980 and ’90s artists ranging from Michael Jackson and Cindy Lauper to Nirvana and Guns N’ Roses.

The group returned to their own material next with songs like “Do You Want Me” and their nod to Washington D.C.’s go-go beat, “Shake Your Thang.”

Sandy “Pepa” Denton, flanked by a male dancer, performs at the Chumash Resort with Salt-N-Pepa. Click to view larger
Sandy “Pepa” Denton, flanked by a male dancer, performs at the Chumash Resort with Salt-N-Pepa. (L. Paul Mann photo)

The crowd went wild when the group performed songs from their first album, Hot, Cool & Vicious.

On the hit song “Whatta Man,” Spinderella took over lead vocals on the mic.

The evening ended on a high note with the group returning for an encore in their trademark jackets from their biggest hit video version of their song “Push It.”

It is hard to believe that song actually made its MTV debut way back in 1986. It has been a dance club staple for so long it just doesn't seem like the music could be that old, but the group reminded the crowd that they are in fact set to celebrate their 30th anniversary next year.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributing writer. The opinions expressed are his own.

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