Salt-N-Pepa

Blacks' Magic

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Prior to the release of their third album, Blacks' Magic, Salt-N-Pepa were viewed as little more than pop crossover artists. Most of their singles had been rap remakes of old R&B songs, and they hadn't even rapped all that much on their biggest hit, "Push It," which got by on its catchy synth hook. But Blacks' Magic was where Salt-N-Pepa came into their own. It wasn't that their crossover appeal diminished, but this time they worked from a funkier R&B base that brought them more credibility among hip-hop and urban audiences. More importantly, they displayed a stronger group identity than ever before, projecting a mix of sassy, self-confident feminism and aggressive -- but responsible -- sexuality. The album's trio of hit singles -- "Expression," "Do You Want Me," and the playful safe-sex anthem "Let's Talk About Sex" -- summed up this new attitude and got the group plastered all over MTV. But there was more to the album than just the singles -- track for track, Blacks' Magic was the strongest record Salt-N-Pepa ever released. Even if there's still a bit of filler here and there, Blacks' Magic successfully remade Salt-N-Pepa as their own women, and pointed the way to the even more commercially successful R&B/pop/hip-hop fusions of Very Necessary.

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