RAW LIKE SUSHI by Neneh Cherry

Neneh Cherry…the reason why I love British Black women. Raw Like Sushi is her debut album, released on Virgin Records in 1989. Neneh was probably the first artist who sang and rapped almost equally.

Opening with the track BUFFALO STANCE, her first single. That song was the jam back in the day. It’s funny, but to this day, even reading the lyrics online, I’m still not entirely sure exactly what she’s rapping/singing about. But damn, the chorus is still so damn catchy.

Next up is the slow jam, MANCHILD, with Neneh wistfully singing (& rapping) about a playboy who refuses to grow up and become a man. Then that’s followed up with the song KISSES ON THE WIND, an uptempo track about local girl who’s budding sexuality is causing her to grow up too fast.

INNA CITY MAMA is a mid-tempo track about a girl with big dreams. THE NEXT GENERATION is a straight rap song, which fit right in with the “socially conscious” raps that were prominent at the time, as Neneh raps about the need to guide the youth responsibly. LOVE GHETTO is a mid-tempo track about leaving a lover who is bad for her. That’s followed by HEART, another uptempo song with an empowering theme.

PHONEY LADIES is an interesting song about a man trying to use other women to make Neneh jealous, and OUTRE’ RISQUE’ LOCOMOTIVE is a fun head-nodding song. And then the final song (on the original version of the album) is SO HERE I COME, a rap song about her childhood, from her first day at school to her first kiss. “My first kiss, hit and miss/He wasn’t impressed ’cause I wouldn’t get undressed/Wrote my name on the wall, my hair was pressed, he had blue balls.”

I originally had this album on cassette (remember those?), and only recently learned that the DC version including an 11th track called MY BITCH, where she raps with some bloke named Gilly G. He plays some dude trying to hit on her in the song, and she rebuffs him. The digital version of the album also includes remixes of Heart, Buffalo Stance, and Manchild.

What a fantastic album. Still just as awesome today. I like some songs better than others, but I can still listen to the album all the way through without skipping anything. Chacebook rating: FIVE STARS


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