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 10. UGK



 9. Fugees


 8. Salt 'N Pepa



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 1. Run-DMC



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  The Brain Trust speaks


No group can be compared to the Wu-Tang Clan. RZA's production is incredible. I can't see how they wouldn't be #1.
                 — Eric, 24
                   Buffalo, NY

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Rank: 8

estimonial
With a whole lot of sass and class, Salt, Pepa and DJ Spinderella revolutionized the game for the ladies in hip-hop. Their unique combination of intelligence, sexuality, fashion trendsetting (the clothes and the fly, dyed hair were too fresh) and the feminist slant in their lyrics made every girl want to emulate their style, and had all the fellas wanting to get with them. Right out of the gate, they set the tone for their rambunctious catalog on their first two tracks, "Showstopper — where they leveled disses at their male counterparts Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh — and  "Tramp," which was a wake-up call boldly stating that they could not be played. But with a zeal for more, the fiercely independent trio took matters into their own hands, contributing increasingly to the writing and production of each subsequent album, resulting in even greater success for the group. Tackling an array of subject matter from safe sex ("Let's Talk About Sex") to black male images ("Whatta Man") to flashing their toned, post-pregnancy bodies in "Shoop" ... Just ask Queen Latifah, Mary J., Foxy, Kim and even Lauryn how much inspiration they got from the Queens from Queens, New York. Not just the first female rap act to win a Grammy, Salt, Pep and Spin proved that ladies really can be first.

Co-Signer: Luke, 2 Live Crew
"I would say Salt 'N Pepa classifies as the first female group to bring the sexiness into hip-hop. When they did 'Push It,' that was the first female act to use bass music. I remember talking to Hurby 'Luv Bug' [Azor, the song's producer] when he did it, he said that was his version of a bass record. Hurby, every year he took them girls to the next level, as far as the music production. He kept them into what was going on. Some people do records and get dated. They don't elevate the music, only elevate the talent. I remember 2 Live Crew got hot and we used to tour with them. That's when 'Push It' came out and the girls became sexier than the regular traditional hip-hop girls.

"Women wanted to be like them — they had the fly hairdos, the fly clothes. What they did paved the way, and girls like Lil' Kim came and took it to the next level. Musically, they had a helluva message, especially with 'Let's Talk About Sex.' That was a real serious message. That let you know, 'We portraying this role of being real classy, sexy women, but let's talk about it.' "

100 Percent Proof
"Givin' a little bit of heart and soul/ As we do it to you in your earhole/ Huh, I ain't going out like a sucker/ And if you think so, boy, then pucker up/ And kiss the butt of this lyricist/ Blow on the mic and make a wish." (Salt, (Salt, "Get Up Everybody [Get Up]")

"You know if I was a book I would sell/ 'Cuz every curve on my body got a story to tell/ Yeah, word 'em up, word 'em up." (Pepa, "My Mic Sounds Nice")

Selected Catalog
*Hot, Cool & Vicious (1986), A Salt With a Deadly Pepa (1988), *Blacks' Magic (1990), Very Necessary (1993), Brand New (1997).

* = undeniable classic




NEXT: Ice Cube says of our seventh greatest group, 'When I think of [this group], I think of beats — I think of the ultimate beats.' ...
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Photo: Ernest Paniccioli

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