South Carolina

Rap icons Salt-N-Pepa will headline Famously Hot New Year celebration

When it comes to 2019, Columbia has the perfect guests to “Push It” out on Dec. 31.

Salt-N-Pepa will headline the Famously Hot New Year celebration, event organizers told The State.

The Grammy Award-winning rap icons will perform at the free event that has been called South Carolina’s Largest New Year’s Eve Party.

“Having Salt-N-Pepa headline Famously Hot New Year is yet again a huge win for our region and proves that the place to be on New Year’s Eve is in downtown Columbia, South Carolina,” event co-chair Laura Valleni told The State. “We’re very excited to welcome these empowering women to one of the most vibrant cities in the Southeast, where diverse communities from across the state come together to celebrate new beginnings while dancing in the street.”

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Salt-N-Pepa are hip-hop trailblazers who are coming to perform in the Midlands. Mary Kate Korpita (Flock and Rally)

Famously Hot New Year, Columbia’s nine-year-old annual celebration, regularly draws tens of thousands of revelers downtown.

The event will start at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 31 on Main Street, near the intersection with Gervais Street, in front of the South Carolina State House. It will run for about six hours and include a midnight fireworks display — hailed as the largest in South Carolina — and performances by multiple bands, closed out by Salt-N-Pepa.

As the first female rap act to receive a Grammy and attain platinum status, Salt-N-Pepa has blazed a trail for female hip-hop artists for the past 35 years, selling more than 12 million albums. Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandra “Pepa” Denton have had a string of hit songs, including “Push It,” “Shake Your Thang,” “Let’s Talk About Sex,” “Shoop,” and ”Whatta Man.”

On “Whatta Man,” they collaborated with En Vogue, headliners of last year’s Famously Hot New Year event.

Other Famously Hot New Year’s headliners include Elle King (2017), Trombone Shorty (2016), Lauryn Hill (2015), The O’Jays (2014), Kool and the Gang (2013), The Wallflowers (2012) and George Clinton (2011). Other acts to perform on the Famously Hot stage include Z.Z. Ward, Atlantic Starr and Biz Markie.

Salt-N-Pepa are as active as ever, recently performing on the New Kids on the Block “MixTape Tour” and appearing on the BET special, “Ladies Night.” The group’s rise will be the subject of a Lifetime miniseries, Entertainment Weekly reported.

“People come up to us and mention that our music touched them, brings back so many great memories for them and helped them just see life differently,” Salt said in a news release.

“Salt-N-Pepa’s legendary Grammy Award-winning music has changed the industry and pop culture as a whole, and they are one of the most charismatic and influential hip-hop acts of all time,” Valleni said. “They’ve also been on our radar for a while now, because of their reputation for putting on an energetic, live show, and we know that they’ll lead a phenomenal New Year’s Eve party!”

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Salt-N-Pepa are hip-hop trailblazers who are coming to perform in the Midlands. Mary Kate Korpita (Flock and Rally)

Salt-N-Pepa will follow lead in performances by The High Divers and Cottontown Soul Society.

Comprised of Hilton Head natives, The High Divers blend influences from Motown and rock ‘n’ roll to produce a unique sound, according to a news release. The band also has a dynamic stage presence and is known for getting the crowd involved in its performances.

Called “funky, dynamic,” Cottontown Soul Society is a Columbia band that has origins in jazz, but blends musical styles to connect with listeners in a “show the audience won’t soon forget,” organizers said.

“We are honored to host such impactful and influential talent at this year’s celebration,” Valleni said. “Famously Hot New Year is one of Columbia, South Carolina’s favorite traditions, serving as a time to celebrate our community with friends, neighbors, and visitors from near and far.”

While the performances are free, the celebration features regional food vendors, and cash bars with beer, wine and champagne to ring in the new year, according to organizers.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.