We ranked the Somali-Swedish singer Cherrie’s hit “163 För Evigt,” one of our ten best videos of 2017. The ode to her hometown of Stockholm, is sung entirely in Swedish but has created a resounding buzz in the global mainstream that transcends the need for translation.
Mirroring, at times, Aaliyah’s catchy R&B bops and baggy style, the daughter of Somali immigrants tells the story of her culture—one she’s had to craft on her own. “I remember being a young girl and having parents of African heritage but living in a Scandinavian white city with almost no black people,” she told Vogue. “But if I went back to Africa, I wouldn’t be 100 percent home there—because I’ve never been there, right? So, the third culture concept comes from creating your own culture of what you do have.”
Still, she’s more self-aware than most, riddling her songs with her social surroundings. Take for instance a song called “Tabanja,” on which she discusses the gun violence in her city. It’s a direction not many female R&B and rap stars take, but Cherrie isn’t shying away.