Lucky Dube was a South African reggae musician who found international success. He was born to a single mother who named him “Lucky” because she had already suffered several failed pregnancies before his birth. Dube grew up to become a Rastafarian who made pop music and then reggae music.
By the 1980s, he had become popular in his homeland; by the 1990s, he had become popular around the world. Sadly, Dube was murdered by carjackers in 2007. Still, his music lives on, particularly since his themes continue to resonate with interested individuals.
Here is our opinion on the 10 best Lucky Dube songs ever released:
10. “Back to My Roots”
Rastafarianism believes in a return to Africa, which is sometimes literal and sometimes metaphorical. As such, it is easy to read deeper meaning into a song called “Back to My Roots.” Indeed, Dube sang about how reggae music was all he needed, a statement that came hand-in-hand with a rejection of unspecified genres of party music.
9. “Reggae Strong”
By the early 1990s, Dube had become a notable reggae musician. Thanks to that, he had the clout to organize a concert with other South African reggae musicians to push for peace, which was important because violence was a real issue during the transition period that marked the end of Apartheid in their homeland. “Reggae Strong” was the theme song that ended the concert. It is every bit as powerful as one would expect based on its name.
8. “It Is Not Easy”
“It Is Not Easy” is a song released in the 1980s. On it, Dube sang about how making the wrong choices can cause people to experience enormous heartache. With that said, one can also read a message of resilience in the song, seeing as how it also comes with a reassurance that the viewpoint character will eventually be able to move on.
Besides this, “It Is Not Easy” is also notable because Dube performed it as a duet with Peter Gabriel in 1992, which was the start of a relationship that would see Dube heading out on an international tour with the latter.
“Slave” is a song about alcohol addiction. As such, it goes into a fair amount of detail about the damage that the condition inflicts on a person and their loved ones. Chances are good interested individuals can guess Dube didn’t have a good opinion of alcohol and other drugs, which is why he tried to push back against their use.
6. “Rastas Never Dies”
By this point, it should be clear that Rastafarianism was extremely important to Dube. For further proof, consider “Rastas Never Dies,” which is yet another song that drew deep from his faith. Since Dube’s death, “Rastas Never Dies” has continued to connect with listeners, thus enabling it to prove the truth of its claim.
5. “Together As One”
Dube was very political. For instance, “Together As One” sees him urging people to come together rather than remain divided, which was a clear shot directed against Apartheid. This isn’t the best of his songs on the topic. However, it is very close to the top, particularly since its message remains as relevant as ever.
4. “The Way It Is”
“The Way It Is” came out quite a bit later than most of these songs. Specifically, it was the title track for a studio album of the same name in 1999. By that point, Apartheid was already several years gone. Despite that, Dube remained as political as ever, which makes sense because the pursuit of justice has always been an ongoing matter.
Here, it is clear that he was aiming at African politicians who rose to power through popular support but have proceeded to ignore their people. The song comes with a reminder that leaders should treat their supporters well because they cannot afford to disregard their supporters once they have made it onto the metaphorical throne.
3. “Is This Freedom”
Speaking of which, “Is This Freedom” came out in 2001, one of the songs on the studio album Soul Taker. Like “The Way It Is,” it reminded people that injustice persisted. People could describe the times using pleasant-sounding terms. Even so, they weren’t those things because the substance hadn’t changed enough to make them those things.
“Is This Freedom” is a rhetorical question. That makes sense because the song knows its position beforehand. It is just using that to challenge the notion that everything is over and done with just because there have been some superficial changes on the surface.
2. “Remember Me”
As mentioned earlier, Dube was born to a single mother because his parents went their separate ways before he was even born. Still, it seems safe to say that he often thought about his father because “Remember Me” is rich with emotion. There is a strong sense of misery because his father has been absent from his life.
Even so, Dube doesn’t hate the man. Instead, he says he loves his father and longs for his father’s love, which is very much in line with the rest of his thoughts on hatred. It is interesting to note a couple of other things about “Remember Me.”
One, it shows noticeable signs of mbaqanga, which was Dube’s genre before he switched over to being a reggae musician. Two, the song has caught on with single mothers raising their children on their own for one reason or another.
1. “Different Colors, One People”
“Different Colors, One People” is a song with a similar theme to “Together As One.” Once again, it saw Dube singing about how we share a common humanity despite our physical differences. As such, politicians shouldn’t try to divide people based on arbitrary and artificial lines.
There is a strong sense of triumph in the song, which makes sense because it was released in 1993. For context, that was the same year in which Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk won the Nobel Peace Prize for their roles in bringing a peaceful end to Apartheid. Furthermore, that was just one year before the multiracial elections in 1994. The rest of Dube’s studio album Victims also did very well, as shown by how it sold more than a million copies.
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