Old Skool Review: Salt ‘n Pepa vs. Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick

Since so many of you apparently dug the Roxanne War post a while back, I figured I’d take a moment to point out another memorable “battle” from back in the day.

You’ve almost definitely heard of today’s two sides, which may not always be the case for some of the MCs and bands I lecture on during our Old Skool Review seminars. (Speaking of which, I’m still waiting on all of you to start picking up your text books. Otherwise, I’m not sure anybody is going to buy any copies of “Lumpy White Guy’s Guide to Early Hip-Hop,” so let’s get cracking on that.)

First up, the always brilliant Doug E. Fresh, a.k.a The Human Beat Box. Now, it’s no secret that I’m a huge proponent of all beat boxers, but Fresh clearly has cemented his place among the “Best of the Best.” While he had gained some small notority for a single or two, plus a star turn in the movie “Beat Street,” it wasn’t until he dropped the single for “The Show” that his career went sky high. It certainly didn’t hurt that the B-side contained one of rap’s other greatest tracks of the time, “La Di Da Di.” By this time, Doug had his own posse, The Get Fresh Crew. From that group, you should recognize another stalwart of the game, Slick Rick (though he then went by MC Ricky D). As I believe I’ve mentioned ad naseum before, I got to see Slick before he went to jail, but it wasn’t until years later that I finally got the chance to see Doug E. And at what show was that, you’re possibly asking yourself? No shit, Chet, he toured with Prince during the New Power Soul Tour (he also rapped on that titular CD, as well as the “1999, the New Master” EP), and let’s be honest with ourselves, that’s not a line-up you’re going to see just any day.

I know, I know, you really wish you were me. I get that a lot. Seriously, it’s my cross to bear, but I somehow manage.

And now for one of the more bizarre turns in the story. One Hurby Azor decided to produce a rap record for a college project and called upon the talents of two female MCs and a soon-to-be-replaced lady DJ (hip hop’s fifth Beatle) to create “The Showstopper.” The song gained the band its own bit of the spotlight, but their climb to the top of the all-time best female MCs ever list came a bit later when a San Fran DJ by the name of Cameron Paul remixed their “Push It.” Yep, that aforementioned producer went on to become Hurby the Luv Bug. And those ladies would come to be known as Salt ‘ Pepa.

And that’s your Old Skool review of the day, kiddies. Enjoy the weekend, but be prepared for a quiz early next week.

mp3: The Show (Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew; originally released as a single on wax, can be found on his Greatest Hits)

mp3: The Showstopper (Salt ‘n Pepa from Hot, Cool & Vicious)
And for an early Christmas present, the aforementioned Beat Street clip. And yes, that is Kool Moe Dee and the Treacherous Three.
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