Cheryl “Salt” James was born on March 28, 1966, in Nyc. As a college student she teamed up together with her pal Sandra Denton to form the hip hop/rap duet Salt N Pepa. Cheryl “Salt” James was born Cheryl Wray on March 28, 1966, in Nyc. James, her older brother and younger sister were raised by their parents in the Nyc borough of Queens.
While she was a pupil at Queensborough, James met a fellow nursing student named Sandra Denton. Even though the two had quite distinct styles—James was soft spoken and private, while Denton was rowdy and extroverted—they became close buddies. When James started working part time at a Sears department store in Queens, she found a job for Denton there, also. While working at Sears, both young women met aspiring music producer Hurby “Luv Bug” Azor.
Recognizing that they showed potential as a rap duet, James and Denton took the stage name Salt N Pepa and chose to continue working jointly with Azor as their supervisor. James also became romantically involved with Azor for quite some time. Salt N Pepa’s first major hit was the song “Push It,” which had initially been recorded as a B-side. Shortly later, they hired Deidra “Spinderella” Roper (now called Deidra “Dee Dee” Roper) as their new DJ.
In 1993, James, Denton and Roper released Really Crucial, typically the most popular record in their livelihood. With this particular record, and its own hits “Whatta Man” (recorded using the female R&B act En Vogue) and “Shoop,” Salt N Pepa established themselves not only as groundbreaking female figures in rap but also as chart toppers in the pop music world. Their single “None of Your Business” was given a Grammy for Best Rap Performance. Nevertheless, Salt N Pepa’s record Brand New, released in 1997, was less successful. With now, the group had started to endure some internal tensions. Although they still performed collectively, the three girls started to discuss breaking up.
Salt N Pepa formally disbanded in 2002. After having several years’ hiatus, James has reunited sometimes with Denton and Roper for Salt N Pepa concerts and special occasions. The three girls also appeared together about the reality television show The Salt-N-Pepa Show in 2007 08. James and her fellow bandmates continue to be considered groundbreaking figures in the music world of the late 1980s and early 1990s, both for his or her job as girls in rap as well as for their unprecedented success on the hip hop and pop charts. James wed created Gavin Wray in 2000. She and Wray have two kids, daughter Corin and son Chapele.