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Salt-N-Pepa: Hip Hop Has "Always Been a Male-Dominated Field"

The iconic rap trio on breaking hip hop gender rules and paving the way for today's female emcees: "We were in your face with it, we didn't hold back"

It's always been an uphill battle for women in hip hop and R&B—just ask Nicki Minaj, Keri Hilson, Eve or Alicia Keys. But there was a time when no female MCs were racking up hits. That is, until Salt-N-Pepa changed the game.

The iconic female rap trio—Cheryl "Salt" James, Sandra "Pepa" Denton and DJ Spinderella—took the rap world by storm proving they could spit as tough as the boys with now-classic singles like "Push It," "Whatta Man," "Shoop" and "Let's Talk About Sex."

Fuse's upcoming scripted series The Hustle, which features a tenacious female A&R exec working to break a rap duo, deals with many of the same hurdles Salt-N-Pepa encountered. 

"It's always been a male-dominated field then and it still is now," Denton says. "We were hanging with the best of them. Back then, there weren't many women. When we first came out, we were raw, we were bold, we were in your face with it. We did not care! We didn't hold back."

But even with massive success, the first ladies of rap found themselves in legal trouble with their former label over royalty payments. If Salt-N-Pepa could give the characters on The Hustle advice, it'd be to watch the finances. 

"Stay on top of your business if nothing else," they caution. "We were artists just wanting to be artists. We weren't doing the business side of it and got ourselves caught in trouble. You have to actually be a lawyer, accountant and everything that goes with it."

Watch Salt-N-Pepa discuss their legacy, winning a Grammy and more in the video above. And catch Fuse's new series The Hustle Wednesdays at 11/10c. Check out the channel finder to locate Fuse in your area.

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