In mid–1985, Brooklyn–native Cheryl James met Queens–native Jamaican rapper Sandra Denton, both studying nursing at Queensborough Community College.
The pair became close friends and co–workers at Sears.
The group undertook production duties once again, but without Azor involved in any part of the album.
The result was their fifth album, Brand New (1997), which hit stores a few months later.
Hot, Cool & Vicious provided some moderate R&B hits with the singles "My Mic Sound Nice", "Tramp", and "Chick On The Side".
But when San Francisco DJ and producer Cameron Paul created a remix to "Push It", the B-side of the "Tramp" single, it gave the group their first major hit.
It was nominated for a Grammy Award, and the strength of that single catapulted the album to platinum sales in the US with over one million copies sold, making Denton, James, and Roper the first female rap act to go platinum.By the time of their next album release, Salt-N-Pepa had gone through the legal process of completely breaking away from Azor, whom they accused of unfair royalty payments.Salt had already stopped being romantically involved with him due to their many ups-and-downs.The independent Pop Art Records gave it an official release, and "The Showstopper" became a modest R&B hit. In 1987, the group recruited Deidra Roper, a 15-year old high-school student-DJ named "Spinderella" after the departure of Hanson.The group entered the music industry at a time when hip-hop music was believed to be a fad and major record companies were reluctant to sign hip hop artists.Produced by Azor, The single utilized a melody from the 1984 film Revenge of the Nerds.