Pepa was the victim of a setup for her 51st birthday -- her friends and family organized a baller surprise party to kick off a month-long celebration.
Pepa told us her husband, Gurps Singh Rai, was the mastermind behind the whole thing. He pretended they were going out for a quiet dinner, but ended up at SIXTY LES in NYC with about 300 people.
We're told guests feasted on a soul food themed spread -- mac & cheese, chicken wings, cupcakes and cake. This was just the start. Pep says she and Gurps are vacationing in Dubai later this month.
Of course ... it wouldn't be a real party without the birthday girl busting out "Shoop."