It has been proved that music influence humans in a good way. If you don’t listen to reggae, perhaps you have not had the opportunity to give an ear to one of the most powerful genres. Reggae relates to news, social gossip and political comment. Most of all music makes us relax and be in a state of peace.
Ask South Africans about the word “contemporary reggae”, and majority of them will answer with Lucky Dube. The album “Prisoner” is the fifth album out of 14 of his reggae collection. My initial impression of the album was that Lucky Dube has a huge role in exposing the injustice of the South African apartheid system which put millions of blacks behind bars.
Lucky Dube was born in Ermelo, Mpumalanga on the 3rd of August 1964. He started his career by singing Umbhaqanga (Zulu Pop Music). He moved to reggae after the release of his fifth album, Mbhaqanga. His first reggae album was Rastas Never Die which he released in 1984, his last album was Respect, released in 2006, and earned him a European release through a deal with Warner Music before he died in 2007. This album stands out for me because the songs connect with each other and it helps me to understand how people felt during the apartheid era.
The more I listened to the album, the more there was a stand out theme which clearly came across- empowerment. There are different mood swings in the album, in the track “Prisoner” he is bitter, but in the track “Remember Me” he is emotional and spiritual. In the lyrics of “Prisoner”, Lucky says “they won’t build no schools anymore, they won’t build no hospital. All they will build will be prisons, prisons”. During “Remember Me” he says, “Daddy wherever you are remember me. In whatever you do, I love you”.
These are the two tracks that stand out for me, “Prisoner” and “Remember Me”. “Prisoner” shows that Lucky is fed up, not only with politics but also with the lies. In “Remember Me”, Lucky sings for his family and his long lost father. I can relate to that song since my dad passed away when I was nine years old. The track that sag for me is the extra/bonus track which is “Steel Bars” for the reason that I don’t hear him but only the female singers. Compared to other albums in this genre, Dube’s stands out for me because he was brave enough to write about the dark days of apartheid, and he pours his heart and feelings out into his music.
This is one of the best albums from the South African reggae genre. In my opinion, Lucky Dube is one of the finest singers, post Bob Marley, in the reggae field. He is energetic in the album and is confident in what he is singing about and for. I would give this album a 4 out of 5 stars because of its excellence.