Sandra Denton and Cheryl James of rap group Salt-N-Pepa on Feb. 8 (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
The link between Deadpool and Salt-N-Pepa is real and extends beyond any mere soundtrack. The First Ladies of Hip-Hop turned up at a New York Fan event for the superhero film in February (where they video-bombed star Ryan Reynolds’s interview with ET Canada). They also helped the actor celebrate his Best Comedic Performance win at this weekend’s MTV Movie Awards, and this Monday afternoon, even hosted a panel for the movie’s upcoming Blu-ray release on May 10. “We’re kind of stalking Ryan,” Salt joked shortly afterwards.
Stalking or not, it’s been a fruitful relationship for both parties. The film’s use of the seminal rap group’s single “Shoop” provides a perfect backdrop for the pop culture-loving antihero’s shenanigans, and in turn, the 1993 hit has enjoyed renewed popularity and sales.
During the panel, Reynolds and director Tim Miller credited Deadpool executive producer Aditya Sood for first thinking of “Shoop” as the track that would spring the Merc with a Mouth into action as he raps along to the track while sitting on a highway overpass in one of the film’s opening sequences. SnP members Cheryl “Salt” James, Sandra “Pepa” Denton, and Deidra “DJ Spinderella” Roper gave Yahoo Movies their side of the story during an exclusive sit-down.
Watch Salt-N-Pepa perform at the MTV Movie Awards:
Fox’s request to use the song came through the representative who administers the group’s publishing rights, like any other licensing ask would, the group explained. But there was a delay with the agreement. “I had no idea that it was such a big deal,” Salt said, “and Pep called me and she was like, ‘Oh my God, They want 'Shoop’ in Deadpool, and somebody’s holding it up!” “I went crazy, I was pissed!,” said the group’s biggest superhero fan, Pepa.
It was a longer process than usual, but ultimately the song was cleared — and it gave the rappers some serious cred with their children. “I had no idea it was that huge until the trailer came out, and I showed it to my [16-year-old] son,” Salt recalled. “And he almost passed out. When he saw Ryan on the bridge singing 'Shoop,’ he couldn’t believe it. He was speechless. He was like, 'Mom, you don’t understand how huge this is.’” Pepa and Spinderella had similar experiences with their own kids.
The song’s placement in the hit film, which opened to a record-breaking $132 million and went on to gross a staggering $358 million in the U.S. ($756 million globally) also gave the 23-year-old song new life on the music charts. Soon after the film’s release, the single shot up to No. 19 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop digital downloads. The group said they’ve also noticed younger fans turning up at their live shows. Before it was primarily '60s, '70s, and '80s babies. “Now '90s babies are coming to our concerts, and they actually know the music,” Salt said.
Watch the ‘Deadpool’ trailer with a snippet of “Shoop:”
And the Deadpool-Salt-N-Pepa connection could soldier on. “If we’re lucky enough to have an opportunity for a sequel, Deadpool’s gonna fight Salt-N-Pepa in the sequel,” Reynolds quipped. Salt-N-Pepa is game. “They made a commitment,” Salt laughed later.
Even if Salt-N-Pepa doesn’t actually get onscreen action in Deadpool 2, there are plenty more jams from their catalog to explore. “Whatta Man,” which will be featured in this summer’s Dwayne Johnson-Kevin Hart buddy comedy Central Intelligence, could work. There’s the timeless classic “Push It.” And considering Wade Wilson has such a filthy mouth, “Let’s Talk About Sex” would be pretty apropos as well.
Or they could write a new original track for it. “It’d be called 'Stalking Deadpool,’ Pepa said, laughing. "There you go.”