Push It

Album: Hot, Cool & Vicious (1987)
Charted: 2 19
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  • This hip-hop-meets-dance track was written by the group's producer/svengali Hurby Azor (Hurby Luv Bug), who is also famous for discovering and producing the duo Kid 'n Play. He can be seen in the music video performing backing vocals and playing keyboard. Azor also wrote the trio's other big hit, "Let's Talk About Sex."
  • Hurby Azor shares writing credits on this track with The Kinks frontman and main songwriter Ray Davies, as the opening lyrics to The Kinks third single "https://www.songfacts.com/facts/the-kinks/you-really-got-me" are used towards the end of "Push It." Authors of the 1999 Sisqó hit "Thong Song" were found similarly liable for lifting the primary lyrical phrase from "Livin' La Vida Loca," and were also forced to share the writing credit.

    The lyrics to "Push It" are really an afterthought, just there to support the beat and add a lascivious flavor. The song was perfect for club play, where lyrics like, "come here, gimme a kiss, better make it fast or else I'm gonna get pissed" can get lost in the groove. The big hook is the "Oooh, baby, baby" section, which complements the percussive production. Another memorable section is the vocal interlude, where Hurby implores us to get on the dance floor, but "only the sexy people."
  • The repeated line "get up on this" is a lyrical sample from James Brown track "I'm a Greedy Man" from his 1972 album "There It Is."
  • This follows the tradition of edgy-but-ambiguous songs about "it," which can mean just about anything. When Rick James sang "Give It to Me Baby," in theory he could have been asking for just about anything. Same thing with "Push It," which Pepa insisted in an NME interview was "not a sexual song." No one was buying it, but it was impossible to prove otherwise.
  • Though Salt-N-Pepa are well known for their feministic lyrics, Cheryl James (Salt) considered the song a step back on these principles. In a 2011 interview with Digging a Hole, James said, "There were times when I felt like we were just doing what was expected of us when we should have been expressing ourselves."
  • The song has been remixed and sampled frequently. Most notably, Timbaland sampled the distinctive synthesizer riff on his 2007 hit single "The Way I Are." Destiny's Child also sampled the track on "Nasty Girl" from the 2001 album Survivor. Elements of the song also appeared in the 1998 Garbage track of the same name.
  • This was originally released as the B-side of Salt-N-Pepa's fifth single, a 12" release of "Tramp" in 1987. Later that year, a 7" single of "Tramp" was released, requiring a shorter version of its B-side, so a San Francisco DJ named Cameron Paul remixed "Push It" into the version that became the hit. This version of "Push It" got it's own release late in 1987 and was added to subsequent copies of the group's first album Hot, Cool & Vicious, originally released in 1986.
  • Salt-N-Pepa hated this song, as they thought it undermined their rap credibility and didn't have any lyrical direction they could support. They didn't think much about it though, as it was considered just a throwaway cut. Little did they know it would become their most popular song.
  • In 1989, the track was nominated for the first Grammy award for Best Rap Performance; however, the trio, along with fellow nominees LL Cool J, and DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (who won the award for "Parents Just Don't Understand"), boycotted the show because the award wasn't televised.
  • In 2009, Internet meme Crazy Frog covered the track on his third album Everybody Dance Now, whilst the Glee cast covered it in the show's second episode "Showmance."
  • The Hot, Cool and Vicious album was a million-seller, making Salt-N-Pepa the first female rap act to ever go either gold or platinum. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Guy - New York, NY
  • Salt-N-Pepa appear in a 2014 commercial for Geico insurance where they spoof this song, telling various people to "push it" in literal situations: an elevator button, a lawn mower, even a birthing class (for the "baby baby" parts).
  • The jackets the ladies wore in the video - the ones with an "S" on one sleeve and "P" on the other - are icons of hip-hop fashion. They were made by the Harlem outfitter Dapper Dan and designed by Christopher Martin, who is "Play" of Kid 'N Play.

    The jackets were stolen, so when Salt-N-Pepa did the Geico commercial, replicas were created that they could wear in the spot. Those jackets sold at auction in 2020 for $23,940.
  • "Push It" is featured in a 2022 Super Bowl commercial where various woodland creatures sing it after consuming Flamin' Hot Cheetos and Doritos. In a further Frito-Lay tie-in, Megan Thee Stallion released a song called "Flamin' Hottie" where she samples "Push It," sprinkling references to the packaged snacks in the lyrics.

Comments: 1

  • Tania from Brisbane, AustraliaI remember reading an interview with Salt-N-Pepa a while back and a club DJ had flipped the “Tramp” single over and lined up “Push It” in error, but managed to work it in, and people crammed the dance floor. He kept getting requests for it, and soon there were plenty of clubs doing the same. Meanwhile, Salt-N-Pepa were in Europe touring (somewhere in Germany I believe), when they got a call from someone in management Stateside telling them they needed to add “Push It” to their set list because it was getting major club play. They were like “WTF”, and didn’t really want to add it, but Herby insisted. The rest is history!
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