Salt-N-Pepa is gearing up to release a 30th anniversary edition of their classic album Very Necessary. The special project will be released via UMe on October 20. The news coincides with Salt-N-Pepa’s heavy involvement in the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.
Originally released on October 12, 1993, Very Necessary was the fourth studio album by the group. In addition to being available as a limited-edition deluxe double LP and a two-CD deluxe package, the album’s 30th anniversary rollout will include a digital deluxe version.
In a statement to Billboard about the anniversary edition, Pepa said, “When we started out people questioned if hip-hop would even last. Here we are 30 years later, celebrating the anniversary of Very Necessary, ourselves as women and our contributions to the 50-year legacy of hip hop. It’s a beautiful thing! Thank you to all our fans for keeping Salt-N-Pepa alive and relevant all these years.”
By the time Salt-N-Pepa dropped Very Necessary, they were already an established hip-hop act. Their previous album’s breakthrough single, “Let’s Talk About Sex,” asserted them as women who were sexually savvy, autonomous, and without shame. Hip-hop was – and largely still is – filled with male rappers, but Salt-N-Pepa offered a different picture of what MCs could look like. Confidence and sensuality saturated their albums and gave rappers everywhere a run for their money.
The group made it their mission to prove that sensuality and hip-hop were not mutually exclusive. With Very Necessary, Salt-N-Pepa became an even bigger household name, spawning a number of singles that skyrocketed on the charts. The album sold over seven million copies worldwide, and Salt-N-Pepa made an indelible mark on hip-hop.
Very Necessary had no shortage of head-spinning, snarky lyrics about sexuality, and loyal fans ate it up. But Salt-N-Pepa’s range didn’t stop there. Though many of the tracks off Very Necessary favored more salacious lyrics, others, like “Heaven Or Hell,” found the MCs delivering verses about police brutality, drugs, and other threats against the black community. “I’ve Got AIDS,” the last track on the album, is a PSA skit from Weatoc, a non-profit in Boston that sought to inform youth about physical and sexual health in black communities.
Salt-N-Pepa are pioneers, undoubtedly influencing many of the acts that followed, including Missy Elliott and Trina. These first ladies of hip-hop created a cultural legacy with Very Necessary and pushed the genre forward when many music critics shrugged off hip-hop as a trend that would soon lose its steam. Instead of losing momentum, however, hip-hop dominated, with Salt-N-Pepa holding the reins.