”Buddy X” by Neneh Cherry (1992)/“Buffalo Stance” by Neneh Cherry (1989)

Neneh Cherry deserves more props. She jumped onto the scene with a helluva 1-2 punch of albums. 1989’s Raw Like Sushi positioned Neneh (daughter of jazz great Don Cherry) as a tough-as-nails rapper, singer and social observer. “Buffalo Stance” is as chock full of attitude as any Salt ‘n Pepa record, plus it boasts an ass-wiggling dance groove and a lyrical message that promotes female empowerment without getting preachy about it.

1992’s Home Brew might get my vote for the single most underrated album of the ‘90s. More eclectic and less easily classifiable than its predecessor, Neneh’s second album featured ruminative downtempo tunes, a jazz-rap collaboration with Gang Starr, crunchy alt-rock guitars, Michael Stipe (rapping!) on a safe-sex duet, and this slinky funk tune about a mysterious low-life named Buddy, who treats his wife like shit and is a general creep.

Turns out the creep in question was Mr. “Let Love Rule” himself- Lenny Kravitz. “Buddy X” was Lenny’s hotel alias, and the song was written about Lenny’s hypocrisy-preaching love to his then-wife Lisa Bonet while gallivanting with other women. Goes hard as any hip-hop dis record (without mentioning LK by name, of course). I can’t imagine Lenny was too happy about “Buddy X”, especially since he and Neneh were label mates. That had to make for some awkward interactions at company events. Interestingly, Neneh would not release another album in the U.S. for over twenty years.

“Buddy X”’s remix is inferior to the original, but it features one of the first appearances on record of The Notorious B.I.G., who’d become quite familiar with dis records himself.

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