When Neneh Cherry burst onto the scene in 1989 with this superb debut, she really did open the gates for the many hip-hop artists who found a wider audience in her wake. What set Cherry apart at the time, however, and still sets her apart in retrospect today, is the quality of the writing, which is front and centre above the spot-on musical production that lies underneath.
Whether it's the irresistible strut of 'Buffalo Stance', the bittersweet lullaby of 'Manchild', the power pop of 'Kisses on the Wind' or the addictive anger of 'Inner City Mamma' (all huge hits), Cherry's often painful, sometimes tongue in cheek, but ultimately triumphant autobiographical themes give the whole affair a real shot of authenticity and insight, a depth which is rare in this genre of music, or any other for that matter. She can move from pathos to comedy in one line, and then straight back again, playful, beguiling, confessional, uplifting, revealing - it's all here, and abundant in every glorious track.
None of the few yet superlative projects that followed quite caught the refreshingly brash, youthful and exuberant energy of Cherry like this one did, and this makes 'Raw Like Sushi' an album to be truly cherished by the artist herself and music-lovers everywhere.