Push It (Salt-n-Pepa song)

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"Push It"
German 12-inch single
Single by Salt-N-Pepa
from the album Hot, Cool & Vicious
ReleasedMarch 8, 1987
  • 4:31 (album version)
  • 3:28 (UK radio edit)
Producer(s)Hurby Azor
Salt-N-Pepa singles chronology
"Push It"
"Chick on the Side"
Music video
"Push It" on YouTube
Alternative cover
Side A of US 7-inch retail single
Side A of US 7-inch retail single
Professional ratings
Review scores
Number One[2]

"Push It" is a song by American hip hop group Salt-N-Pepa, who originated in Queens. It was released as the B-side of the "Tramp" single in 1987. It peaked at number 19 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in early 1988 and, after initially peaking at number 41 in the UK, it re-entered the charts after the group performed the track at Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday concert, eventually peaking at number two in the UK in July 1988. The song has also been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The song is ranked number 446 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and was ranked number nine on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.[3]


The original version of "Push It" was first released as the B-side to the 12" single "Tramp" in 1987. The corresponding 7" single contained a "Mixx-It" remix by San Francisco DJ and producer Cameron Paul; this was the radio version that gave the group its first mainstream hit. It advanced into the US Billboard Top 40 the week of December 26, 1987, eventually reaching its peak of number 19 the week of February 20, 1988. "Push It" and "Let's Talk About Sex" tie as the group's highest-charting UK hit, both peaking at number two in that country.

The original 1986 editions of the album Hot, Cool & Vicious did not contain "Push It". When the Cameron Paul remix of "Push It" became a radio hit, the album was reissued with the "Push It" remix added, along with the original versions of "Tramp" and "Chick on the Side" replaced by remixes.


The song quotes a line from "You Really Got Me" by The Kinks, with the word "girl" replaced with "boy": "Boy, you really got me goin'/You got me so I don't know what I'm doin'." (For this, Ray Davies received a songwriting credit for "Push It.") It also quotes "Pick up on this" from "I'm a Greedy Man" and "There it is" from "There It Is", both by James Brown. The whispered "Push it" is sampled from a 1977 recording called "Keep on Pushin'" by the band Coal Kitchen. This song is written in the key of A minor.[4]

Recognition and sales[edit]

"Push It" was nominated for a Grammy Award, and the strength of that single catapulted the reissued Hot, Cool and Vicious album to platinum sales in the US with one million sold, making Salt-N-Pepa the first female rap act (group or solo) to go gold or platinum. The album ultimately sold 1.3 million copies worldwide.

Critical reception[edit]

Paul Lester from Melody Maker wrote, "'Push It' is to hip hop what M's 'Pop Musik' and Trio's 'Da Da Da' were to electro-pop."[5] Debbi Voller from Number One stated, "Bound to be a big hit in the present hip hop/house/rap mania climate, and why not? 'Push It' pumps and grinds like a street version of James Brown's classic 'Sex Machine' and these gals can rap a mean, errr, rap!"[2] Robin Smith from Record Mirror named it Single of the Week, writing, "Salt-n-Pepa produce enough energy to put life into a stuffed chimpanzee. 'Push It' is as sharp as a broken bottle on a mean city street, with forceful rhymes and heavyweight rhythms that just won't let up. If I was LL Cool J I'd put my gold chains in a safe and hide in a cupboard at home."[6]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video for "Push It" features a concert performance of the song, along with DJ Spinderella and Hurby "Luv Bug" Azor on keyboards and backing vocals. The group wears eight-ball jackets during the video.[7]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[39] Gold 50,000^
Sweden (GLF)[40] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[41] Gold 400,000
United States (RIAA)[42] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Usage in media[edit]

In 2006, the song is sung by actress Linda Cardellini in an infamous karaoke scene from the movie Grandma's Boy.

In 2009, the song was covered on the musical television show Glee's first season episode "Showmance" sung by Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), Artie Abrams (Kevin McHale) and other glee club members.

In 2011, the song was featured in a season 4 episode of Chuck called Chuck Versus the Push Mix in a scene where the characters Lester Patel and Jeffrey Barnes portrayed by Vik Sahay and Scott Krinsky play the song while Ellie Bartowski portrayed by Sarah Lancaster, the sister of the title character is seen giving birth to her first child named Clara Woodcomb. Additionally, both of the characters wear the jackets of Salt-N-Pepa while singing.

In 2014, the song was featured in a commercial for the GEICO auto insurance company with a featured cameo appearance by Salt-N-Pepa themselves as part of the "It's What You Do" campaign.[43]

The Big Bang Theory used the song twice. In 2016, the song was featured in a season 9 episode called "The Positive Negative Reaction" in a scene where the characters Leonard Hofstadter and Raj Koothrappali portrayed by Johnny Galecki and Kunal Nayyar cover the song in a karaoke party. In 2018, the song was used in episode 4 of the series, "Deutschland 86" where a cook is listening to it on a Walkman while he grills food.

In 2020, the song was featured as the theme song of the ABC U.S. revival of TV game show Supermarket Sweep hosted by actress and comedian Leslie Jones.

In 2021, the song was briefly used in The Boss Baby: Family Business after Armstrong turns all adults in the holiday pageant into zombies.

The song is used frequently in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.


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  2. ^ a b Voller, Debbi (March 19, 1988). "Singles". Number One. p. 40. Retrieved March 12, 2023.
  3. ^ Stone, Rolling (April 7, 2011). "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone.
  4. ^ Ray, Davies; Herby, Azor; Salt-N-Pepa (December 26, 2007). "Push It". Musicnotes.com. Retrieved June 8, 2021.
  5. ^ Lester, Paul (July 13, 1991). "Albums". Melody Maker. p. 32. Retrieved April 29, 2023.
  6. ^ Smith, Robin (March 19, 1988). "45". Record Mirror. p. 37. Retrieved March 9, 2023.
  7. ^ "The 20 Coolest Types of Jackets in Hip-Hop History". Complex. Retrieved January 27, 2022.
  8. ^ "Salt-N-Pepa – Push It". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  9. ^ "Salt-N-Pepa – Push It" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
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  11. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 8939." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  12. ^ Danish Singles Chart. September 23, 1988.
  13. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 5, no. 31. July 30, 1988. p. 11. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  14. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3.
  15. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 10 (4. nóvember 1988)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). November 4, 1988. p. 44. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  16. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Push It". Irish Singles Chart.
  17. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 30, 1988" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  18. ^ "Salt-N-Pepa – Push It" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  19. ^ "Salt-N-Pepa – Push It". Top 40 Singles.
  20. ^ "Salt-N-Pepa – Push It". VG-lista.
  21. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  22. ^ "Salt-N-Pepa – Push It". Singles Top 100.
  23. ^ "Salt-N-Pepa – Push It". Swiss Singles Chart.
  24. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
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  27. ^ "Salt-N-Pepa Chart History (Dance Singles Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  28. ^ "Salt-N-Pepa Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
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  31. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1988". Ultratop (in Dutch). Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  32. ^ "Top 100 Singles of '88" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 49, no. 10. December 24, 1988. p. 9. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  33. ^ "1988 Year End Eurocharts – Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 6, no. 52/1. January 1, 1989. p. 17. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
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  37. ^ Scaping, Peter, ed. (1991). "Top 100 Singles: 1988". BPI YearBook 1989/90. London, England: British Phonographic Industry. pp. 64–65. ISBN 978-0-9061-5410-6.
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  42. ^ "American single certifications – Salt 'N Pepa – Push It". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  43. ^ GEICO Super Bowl 2015 TV Commercial, 'Push It: It's What You Do' Ft. Salt-N-Pepa - iSpot.tv