Pepa (rapper)

Sandra Jacqueline Denton (born November 9, 1964[9][10] or 1969[11][12][13][14]) (sources differ), better known by her stage name Pepa or Pep, is a Jamaican-American hip hop rapper and actress, best known for her work as a member of the Grammy Award-winning female rap trio Salt-N-Pepa. Denton starred in The Salt-N-Pepa Show, a reality TV series focusing on reforming the group which aired on the VH1 network in 2008. Since January 2016, Denton has appeared as a supporting cast member on the music reality television show Growing Up Hip Hop which airs on WE tv.[15][16]

Pepa performing with Salt-N-Pepa at the Canberra Theatre, Australia in 2013.
Sandra Jacqueline Denton[1][2]

(1964-11-09) November 9, 1964[3] or
(1969-11-09) November 9, 1969[4][5][6]
(sources differ)
Other names
  • Pepa
  • Sandy Denton
  • Pep
  • Sandi[7]
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • actress
Years active1985–present
(m. 1999; div. 2001)
Musical career
OriginQueens, New York, U.S.
Associated acts

Early life and education

Born in Kingston, Jamaica to Jamaican parents Charles and Enid Denton (née Hyacinth),[17][18] Denton was the youngest of eight children. Denton lived on a farm in Jamaica with her grandmother until she was six years old.[19] Denton's family moved to Queens, New York when she was three; and she later joined them. Denton has been a performer since childhood. Although her personality was full of joy growing up, Denton was molested as a child. Denton released a book about her life in 2008 entitled "Let's 'Talk About Pep'" in which she talked about being molested, her many abusive relationships, and how Salt-N-Pepa formed.

In 1979, 15-year-old Denton was sent to live with her older sister Patsy in Logan, Utah when her family home in Queens caught fire and so she could have a better life.[20][21] According to Denton, she was the only Black student attending Logan High School during that time. Denton became inspired by rock music; citing AC/DC and Led Zeppelin as her inspirations during her time in Utah. After a year in Utah, Denton returned to New York, later graduating from Springfield Gardens High School. After high school, Denton enrolled at Queensborough Community College to study nursing. While attending college, Denton met fellow nursing student Cheryl James.


With the production by Hurby "Luv Bug" Azor whom she and James met while working as customer service representatives at Sears, James and Denton released a single called "The Showstopper" which became a moderate R&B hit in late 1985.[22][23] They were joined with Latoya Hanson who was the original DJ of the group. Shortly after in 1986, Deidra "Spinderella" Roper joined as the group's DJ as a full-length debut album, Hot, Cool & Vicious, was being released. The trio released a total of five studio albums: "Hot, Cool, and Vicious" (1986), A Salt with a Deadly Pepa (1988), Blacks' Magic (1990), Very Necessary (1993), and Brand New (1997), plus several greatest hits albums. Salt-N-Pepa disbanded in 2002, several months after their Brand New album was released on Red Ant Records. Denton's group member Cheryl James had stated she was ready to leave the music industry. The trio reunited for a performance on VH1's Hip Hop Honors program on September 22, 2005. In 2005, Denton was a cast member of VH1's The Surreal Life (season 5).

Denton's acting credits also include the motion picture Joe's Apartment, an appearance in the HBO movie First Time Felon, and a stint as Officer Andrea Phelan on the HBO drama, Oz. She also starred on The Surreal Life: Fame Games. Salt-N-Pepa reformed in 2008, and are still in the process of releasing an album since reforming as they work out past issues. Denton teamed up with James for VH1's The Salt-N-Pepa Show. Denton also starred in her own reality show on the network entitled Let's Talk About Pep, a name play-off the group's hit song "Let's Talk About Sex". She can also be heard speaking Jamaican Patois in the song "Need U Bad" by Jazmine Sullivan. In August 2008, Denton released her autobiography, which was also entitled Let's Talk About Pep. It was co-written by Karen Hunter, and it offered a look behind the fame, family, failures, and successes of her life in one of hip-hop's most successful groups. It features an introduction by Queen Latifah, and an epilogue by Missy Elliott. To accommodate the book, Pepa launched her own social network for her fans. On October 23, 2008 Salt-N-Pepa performed at the BET Hip Hop Awards. In January 2011, Denton appeared in an episode of the TBS sitcom "Are We There Yet?" as Tammy, a woman who falls for the Terry Crews character of Nick. Denton joined the reality television show Growing Up Hip Hop as a supporting cast member in January 2016 along with her daughter Egypt (who's a main cast member) and niece Tahira Francis.[24][25]

Personal life

Denton once dated and was engaged to rapper Prince Markie Dee sometime during the mid-1980s.[26] On July 6, 1990, Denton gave birth to her first child, a son she had with New York rapper Tyran "Tah-Tah" Moore[27][28][29] whom she named Tyran Jr. Denton. She made a guest appearance on Ricki Lake in 1994, teaching teenage girls the responsibilities of being a mother. Denton was the owner of HollyHood, a retail clothing store in the Buckhead section of Atlanta, Georgia which opened in November 1995.[30][31][32] On April 2, 1999, Denton married Treach (whose real name is Anthony Criss) of the rap group Naughty by Nature at a Kansas City tattoo parlor after dating on and off for seven years.[33][34] Their wedding ceremony was held at their home in Morristown, New Jersey on July 24, 1999.[35] Denton and Treach had one daughter, Egypt Jahnari Criss (born September 2, 1998). After allegations of physical abuse by Treach, they divorced in 2001.[36][37]


Studio albums


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Stay Tuned Herself (with Salt-N-Pepa)
1993 Who's the Man? Sherise
1994 Jason's Lyric Sandy
1996 Joe's Apartment Blank
1997 First Time Felon Laverne
1997 Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child Little Kitten (Voice) Episode: Mother Goose
2000 Linc's Herself Episode: "The Music In Me"
2000-2003 Oz Officer Andrea Phelan 6 episodes
2001 3 A.M. Ellen
2002 Love and a Bullet Female with cue stick
2002 Book of Love Herself
2007 The Perfect Holiday V-Jay
2010 Let's Talk About Pep Herself 8 episodes
2011 Are We There Yet? Tammy Episode: "The Oh No She Di-in't Episode"
2011 Queen of Media Herself
2014 Sharknado 2: The Second One Polly
2015 Family Time Herself Episode: "Salt N' Spice N' Pepa"
2015 Cookin' with Salt-N-Pepa Herself 7 episodes
2015 Lip Sync Battle Herself Episode: "Sandra Denton vs. Cheryl James"
2017 Sandy Wexler Testimonial


  1. Bynoe, Yvonne (2006). "Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip-hop Culture". Google Books. Greenwood Press. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  2. Magazine, Vibe (2001). "Hip-Hop Divas". Google Books. Three Rivers Press. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  3. BET.COM - This Day In Black History (Nov 9, 1964)
  4. Let's Talk About Pep - By Sandy Denton
  5. BCC - Sandra Denton
  6. The Encyclopedia of Popular Music - Sandra Denton
  7. JET Magazine (April 3, 1995). "Salt N' Pepa: Take Control Of Their Careers With New Business Ventures". Google Books. Johnson Publishing Company. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  8. Company, Johnson Publishing (May 3, 1999). "Jet". Johnson Publishing Company via Google Books.
  9. Hollywood - Sandra (Pepa) Denton
  10. Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide - Salt N' Pepa
  11. Worldcat - Denton, Sandra 1969 -
  12. Hip Hop Culture - Salt N' Pepa
  13. Complete UK Hit Singles - Salt N' Pepa
  14. Women, Music, Culture: An Introduction - By Julie C. Dunbar - Salt N' Pepa
  15. "EXCLUSIVE: Salt-N-Pepa Makes a Cameo in Sneak Peek of 'Growing Up Hip Hop' Season Three -- Watch!". Entertainment Tonight. July 19, 2017. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  16. "EXCLUSIVE: Master P Gets Flirty With Sandy 'Pepa' Denton on 'Growing Up Hip Hop'". Entertainment Tonight. July 27, 2017. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  17. Magazine, Vibe (2001). "Hip-Hop Divas". Google Books. Three Rivers Press. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  18. Ebony Magazine (October 1999). "Wedding Of The Decade (Pepa & Treach Wed In Star Studded Ceremony)". Google Books. Johnson Publishing Company.
  19. "Sandra "Pepa" Denton". Biography.
  20. "Let's Talk About Pep". Google Books.
  21. "Behind The Music - Salt 'n' Pepa: Behind the Music #145 - VH1". VH1.
  22. Hook, Sue Vander (February 6, 2018). "Hip-Hop Fashion". Capstone via Google Books.
  23. Hess, Mickey. "Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture". ABC-CLIO via Google Books.
  24. "Growing Up Hip-Hop: Meet The Cast". WE tv. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  25. "IS PEPA'S NEW HOUSE HAUNTED? SEASON 3, EPISODE 2". WE tv. July 27, 2017. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  26. "Salt 'n Pepa Shake It Up, Laying a Cold Rap on Men".
  27. Pepa D, Sandra. "Wishing my son, my first born a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I can't wait until your back back in LA and we celebrate! As Mama Says All the Best! Love you Ty ! @tysensei07". Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  28. "Rapper's life story, Pepa'd with violence".
  30. Vibe Magazine (March 1, 1996). "Pepa's Hollyhood". Google Books. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  31. Vibe Magazine (November 1, 1996). "Strictly Business: Rappers Get Entrepreneurial Itch". Google Books. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  32. JET Magazine (December 18, 1995). "Signing In:". Google Books. Johnson Publishing Company. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  33. "Lovers". Google Books. Vibe Magazine. December 1996 – January 1997. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  34. "Icons of Hip Hop: 1". Google Books. ABC-CLIO. 2007. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  35. Brady, Lois (August 1, 1999). "VOWS; Sandra Denton and Anthony Criss". The New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  36. "Sandy "Pepa" Denton: Pep Talk". Essence. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  37. "Sandy 'Pepa' Denton Keeps an Open Dialogue with Kids".
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