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Lucky Dube as the Icon in the Reggae Music Industry Analytical Essay

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Updated: Dec 1st, 2019


He is among the greatest icons in the reggae music industry. Born in South Africa on 3rd August 1964, Lucky Dube was destined for greater things in the music industry. His interest in world history and that of his native country, accompanied by his Rastafarian roots and religion played a pivotal role in his desire to express relevant issues through his music.

Consequently, he launched his music career in 1974 as a member of various bands before he decided to go solo in 1982. Among his songs was “different colors-one people” which touched the lives of his many fans worldwide.

Song overview

The song is in the album titled “Victims” which was released in 1993. The lyrics to this song were originally written by lucky Dube, and the song recorded at Downtown studios in South Africa. It fits the composers singing style in regards to the instruments, pace, genre and message. The composer tries to unite people of different races through the lyrics of this song.

He asserts that in as much as we have different skin colors, we are one people. He reinforces his claim by quoting the bible where God created man in his own image irrespective of their races. He urges the governments and politicians not to separate the people depending on their race.

As regarding to the song itself, Lucky Dube uses back up singers to reinforce his main point throughout the song. The alternation between him and the back up singers is common in his songs and plays a vital role in ensuring that the audience understands the message (short lines that are easy to cram).

Song analysis

The song is written and produced in accordance to the reggae music format. The lyrics and choice of instruments used in the song gives it a somber mood clearly reflecting on the sadness that the issues being raised project.

The theme of this song is unity. Through the lyrics, the composer effectively conveys his message about racial discrimination and recommends that people shun this unbecoming habit. The lyrics are carefully selected to ensure that they can be easily understood by the audience without malice. In regards to the structure, the lyrics are written in continuous prose from the first verse to the last.

It seems like a story. What makes the structure hard to analyze is the fact that the lyrics actually reflects on the thoughts of the composer. The words used in the song generate mixed feelings in the audience and the meaning may differ from one person to another. The only option that the audience is left with after listening to this song are either to understand and relate to the situations expressed in the song or to just listen to the music and embrace the feelings that it generates within our hearts.

The form taken by the song consists of three short verses which Lucky Dube sings alone and a repetitive chorus which is sang in collaboration with the instrumentalists and the back up singers. The form which is taken by this song is a common style used by lucky Dube and other reggae music artists who sing Roots.

According to Routledge, Lucky Dube is known by many of his fans as a global ambassador for peace, equality and justice (497). In all his lyrics, he managed to bring out critical and controversial issues that affected people around the world. This song was no different and the album sold millions of copies worldwide showing the impact that his songs had on humanity.

In relations to the instruments, the CDuniverse website reports that the personnel used in the recording of this song included Lucky Dube who composed the lyrics, Alistair Coakley who was in charge of the guitar and Vuli Yeni playing the saxophone. In addition to this, other instruments used included the bass guitar, trombone, keyboards, drums, the trumpet and percussion.

According to the website (cduniverse), Ross Anderson a famous music programmer in South Africa was in charge of the programming processes while the background vocals were done by Marilyn Nokwe and Victor Masondo among others. Each instrument used in the song played an important role towards the presentation, synchronization and unification of the whole set. Being a reggae song, the Bass guitar is consistent throughout the whole song as is expected in the songs that fall under this genre.

The percussions in this song are used to give it an African decent and they alternate with the trombone which gives the song a serene pace. The drum set act as a general pacemaker for the whole song. The drums in this song are used to compliment the piano which also plays a role in setting the rhythm.

In the chorus, I noticed that the pitch of the song raised and this was complimented by the piano. During this part the piano can clearly be heard and it has more melody. At the same time, the bass guitar and the trombone become more vivid as they work together to maintain the tone and rhythm of the song. During the verses, the percussions alternate with the lead guitar and the drum rolls.

The bass guitar during the verses can only be heard in the background. This gives the verses an empty sound further depicting the desperation portrayed by the lyrics. The keyboard and the guitars in this song are effective in bringing out the clarity in the tune of the song and to unify the voice patterns used by the singers. On the same note, the trumpet is used to highlight the chorus giving it a different tonal variation and creating a sense of drama and climax.

In regards to the mixing and the mastering of the song, I noticed that during the introduction and the bridge, the drums are effectively panned giving the song a surround effect. In addition to this, the pitch of the singers tends to rise during these parts of the song while the instruments gradually sink into the background. Also, the voice of the lead singer has been amplified throughout the song ensuring that the audience concentrates on the message as opposed to the beats.


The various aspects pertaining to this song have been discussed and analyzed. Evidently, it is a great work worth appreciation. The reason behind choosing this song was because Lucky Dube was a great reggae artist whose songs and lyrics clearly reflected on his personality. In addition to this, the song talks about a contemporary issue which affected and still affects the lives of millions of people globally.

As such, his lyrics have played a pivotal role towards the understanding of human suffering and the need for unity in the world. He stands as a great example to the fact that one man can indeed make a difference. His core legacy to make a better world for us and the future generations should be embraced by all.

Works Cited

Cduniverse. “Victims CD”. Cduniverse.com. 2010. Web. <> Routledge. “International Who’s Who in Popular Music.” 8th ed. USA: Taylor and Francis, 2006. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2019, December 1). Lucky Dube as the Icon in the Reggae Music Industry. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/lucky-dube/

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1. IvyPanda. "Lucky Dube as the Icon in the Reggae Music Industry." December 1, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/lucky-dube/.


IvyPanda. "Lucky Dube as the Icon in the Reggae Music Industry." December 1, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/lucky-dube/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Lucky Dube as the Icon in the Reggae Music Industry." December 1, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/lucky-dube/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Lucky Dube as the Icon in the Reggae Music Industry'. 1 December.

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