Sandy “Pepa” Denton is giddy like a schoolgirl about her new show. Joyfully laughing throughout her quick Q&A with HipHopDX earlier today (January 11th), the 40-something stunner is genuinely excited for folks to check out her latest foray into reality television, Let’s Talk About Pep. The “show about sex, dating, and finding Mr. Right,” as its being billed, premiere’s tonight (January 11th) at 10:30 p.m. eastern time on Vh1.
The Viacom-owned subsidiary has become Pep’s television and publishing home since her debut for the network in 2005 as part of the celebrity cast of the fifth season of The Surreal Life, which was followed two years later by Pep’s joint reality series with recently reunited group-member Cheryl “Salt” Wray for 2007’s The Salt-N-Pepa Show, with the release of her Let’s Talk About Pep memoir via Vh1’s publishing arm trailing the conclusion of the show’s second season. And now one-half of Hip Hop’s first female group to gain national acclaim (and subsequently sell millions and millions of albums) is back with her own show co-starring her girlfriends Jacque (who is currently a co-host of the DL Hughley Morning Show on New York’s 98.7 KISS FM), Joumana (a television journalist and ex-wife of NBA star Jason Kidd) and Kali, a.k.a. “Kittie” (the show’s firecracker formerly best known as the voice of “Cita” on the BET animated series).
Pepa spoke to DX about why the site’s mostly male readership should tune in tonight, what her college-age son thinks about his mom’s new sexy show, and maybe most notably where Pep currently stands in regards to her ex-husband, Naughty By Nature’s Treach, as well as the long-planned reunion on wax with Salt.
HipHopDX: The first most obvious question is, is there toe sucking in every episode [like there is in tonight’s premiere]?
Pepa: [Laughs]. No, there isn’t. [Laughs] Oh my goodness. Apparently [co-star] Kali’s date is very fond of toes, so…that was her date. [Laughs] That’s her friend. But no it isn’t [in every episode]. [Laughs].
DX: “Your toes taste like meatloaf.” [Laughs].
Pepa: Like meatloaf, I know, right?! That [was] too funny! [Laughs].
DX: You couldn’t have scripted that better. Now I gotta ask with the show’s whole Sex And The City vibe, why should our mostly male readership watch? Besides the toe sucking tips, what would you say to a guy to convince him to watch this show?
Pepa: First of all it’s four beautiful single women [Laughs]…with a whole lot of personality. And these are women that got they own…. That is one of the reasons I just think a guy should watch it. [Laughs] But no, it’s fun and we’re close friends. And [it shows] our individual outlook on relationships, and what we’re looking for in a date, and how we go about dating…So I guess…it’s enlightening. Someone might take [co-star] Jacque’s situation [of searching for a sperm donor], [and] a guy might think because she got [an] education or [can’t] have orgasms [that]…a guy might wanna watch it and feel like he might be the one [Laughs], or think he could be the one to do that for her [Laughs], give her an orgasm. [Laughs] But no, not just that, it’s a lot [more] to it, it’s interesting, very interesting this show.
DX: Now out of curiosity, your son is part of HipHopDX’s target demo – college age, male – so I’m curious to know what he thinks about the show, what his first impressions of it were?
Pepa: It’s so funny. I was talking to him just now. I was like, “Okay boo, just trust me, there’s nothing you’re gonna be ashamed of.” Because he never let me [live] down – I don’t know if you remember I did this little banana thing when I was [on] The Surreal Life, I just did this little banana trick, whatever, it wasn’t nothing bad but I did a little banana trick, and poor thing has never let me [go] for that! He was like so embarrassed. So I was like, “Don’t worry.” And all his friends are [over and he’s like], “Oh we would watch. What time’s it come on?” I’m like, “Oh God.” [Laughs] ‘Cause he is 19, [and] I got all [these] boys at the house. But, I say it is for the grown and sexy. And I don’t do anything too bad, not too bad.
DX: Now, since I’m old enough to remember watching [Naughty By Nature’s] “Written On Ya Kitten” video on Rap City back in the day [Laughs], and since your new show is about finding the right man…I think you know where this question is going…can we get a status [update] on your current situation with Treach, where that stands as of today?
Pepa: Oh well, Treach and I are, really – we are cool. Actually, we’re [now] doing shows together. We’re [booked] on a show together, actually next month we go to Australia. He’s on that bill as well. We have a daughter together, so our relationship is very cool. And that’s all I can say, like we’re just really cordial with each other. We don’t hang out, nothing like that, but we’re cool. We are very cool with each other so…that’s good.
DX: I just remember seeing that video interview with Egypt, I think it was last year, where he was responding to what you wrote in the Let’s Talk About Pep book [about allegations of abuse during their relationship] and…
Pepa: Right, and she was biased. [Laughs].
DX: Yeah a little bit.
Pepa: Everybody shut her down from what I seen was on the blogs. No, no, but that’s her friend, they’re friends obviously, clearly.
DX: Do you address any of this in the new show just out of curiosity?
Pepa: No, not at all. My book is actually coming back out in paperback February 16th, so I’m gonna be promoting that again. It’s still a message in there to be heard, and a lot of people still go through what I went through.
DX: And you said you guys are doing a show together?
Pepa: Yeah, we’re actually going to Australia next month. And he [is on the bill], like Busta [Rhymes], a lot of people are on that bill. So we’re gonna be in Australia for a couple of weeks, like a week-and-change… so it’ll be good, it’ll be good for my daughter ‘cause I’m bringing her with me.
DX: Is that Salt-n-Pepa or just you [performing]?
Pepa: Yeah Salt [is performing]. Salt’s enjoying it, honey. She’s loving the road now again. [Laughs].
DX: Speaking of, since you got the new show going are the plans to do a new [Salt-n-Pepa] album still in place?
Pepa: Yes, Salt and I are back in the studio. We’ve been in the studio, but it’s taking a little minute doing these different things [outside of music]. But, we are working on some new music, and a lot of it is coming out really good. I’m happy with it. It’s not all the way complete yet, and you know how this music business is now so we’re finding different ways to put it out. But, we’re definitely almost finished with completing [that process].
DX: Is that song on the intro to your show like a whole [new] song? I just heard the intro.
Pepa: You know what? It’s not, but I was just thinking like – Everybody was like, “That’s a cool song, you should just do a whole song.” It was only for the intro of the show, but I did like the way it came out. It wouldn’t be nothing for me to complete it. But, I didn’t think of it at the time ‘cause we was rushing and everything was like, “Oh we need this song right now, [it needs to be] 30 seconds.” I shoulda just did the whole thing, but…
DX: Is Salt-n-Pepa deejay Spinderella gonna be involved with the reunion, the actual album project?
Pepa: She lives in California, but she is – you know we do a lot of shows as well, we travel a lot [together]. We do a lot of shows, overseas a lot and in the states. So she’s on our shows with us when we perform.
DX: And let me hit you with the old name…you think y’all might bring group founder and producer Hurby Azor back into the fold for this reunion album?
Pepa: [Laughs]. You know what? Hurby’s not in the country. I think Hurby’s [been] out of the country for a while now. He’s not even around. Hurby’s doing some other big things in another country. I’m not mad at him with that. So he’s making moves somewhere else.
DX: You can’t do “Push It” anymore with [him] anyway [with] Salt [converting to Christianity].
Pepa: No you gotta see our show; we do “Push It” all the time. But I love the way we added “Push It” now because Cheryl [Salt] said we’re changing the meaning – We sing the song but before we go into it we will just say that we’re pushing it for change like [for] the President, [or] we’ll say we’re pushing it to stop violence, we say we’re pushing it for our soldiers to come home, pushing it for all the single moms. So we do this whole push it thing, what we pushing for now. So it’s a cute little setup, and she loves it. [Laughs].
DX: [Laughs] Yeah that was the original intention [of that song]. [Laughs].
Pepa: Right, [but] it works. [Laughs] So we keep pushing it. [Laughs].