It’s been nearly 25 years since Salt-N-Pepa and En Vogue scored a Top 10 hit with their 1993 duet “Whatta Man,” and on Sunday, the two supergroups reunited at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas to perform the crowd-pleasing hit.
Salt-N-Pepa’s Cheryl “Salt” James, 52, Sandra Denton, 51, and DJ Spinderella, 46, were joined by current En Vogue members Cindy Herron-Braggs, 56, Terry Ellis, 54, and Rhona Bennett, 41, for the throwback performance that capped off a funky hit-filled medley mashing up “Push It,” “Shoop,” and “Let’s Talk About Sex.”
Just before the song wrapped, host Kelly Clarkson came out to take a climactic line on the chorus.
Their duet was in honor of another major anniversary: the 30th anniversary of Salt-N-Pepa becoming the first female rap artists to hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100.
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That milestone was made in 1988, when Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” was released.
Originally just a B-side to “Tramp” — the second single off the group’s first album, Hot, Cool & Vicious — “Push It” nearly went entirely under the radar. But San Francisco DJ and producer Cameron Paul created a remix of the track and its infectious backbeat, giving Salt-N-Pepa their first big hit.
The song went platinum, and helped earn Hot, Cool & Vicious a Grammy award.
“Whatta Man” came off their fourth studio album, 1993’s Very Necessary — which also brought the hits “Shoop” and “None of Your Business.” That album went five-times platinum, became the best selling album by a female rap act, and made Salt-N-Pepa the first female rap act (solo or group) to have a multi-platinum selling album.
“None of Your Business” earned them their first Grammy, while “Whatta Man” would go on to be their highest-charting hit, peaking at No. 3 and giving both Salt-N-Pepa and En Vogue a Grammy nomination for best R&B vocal performance by a duo or group.
Since then, both groups have had their ups and downs, but have continued touring. En Vogue recently released their first studio album in 14 years, Electric Café, and made it to the Top 10 on the Billboard airplay charts with their sexy new single “Rocket.”
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Salt-N-Pepa and En Vogue last performed together publicly at the 2005 VH1 Hip Hop Honors.
“Thirty years later, we’re still Pushing It all over the world and we’re still loved and celebrated by fans we grew up with as well as new fans,” Salt-N-Pepa said in a statement to Billboard prior to their performance. “Looking back at all the barriers we’ve broken as women in this very male-dominated genre of music, being the first two female rappers to break the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 is right up there as one of the best moments of our amazing career. We are blessed.”
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The 2018 Billboard Music Awards is broadcasting live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and airing on NBC.