Ras Kimono: Late Reggae icon’s greatest song was an anthem with a social conscience

Ras Kimono: Late Reggae icon's greatest song was an anthem with a social conscience

The Nigerian music society has been cast into mourning following the death of Ras Kimono, whose music touched the lives of many.

Ras Kimono passed away on Sunday afternoon, June 10 2018 and amidst tears and condolences, his songs made a return to major playlists as Nigerians remembered the man with not just the music but a message.

In death, many have paid glowing tributes, acknowledging the legend who was an inspiration to those who were to come after him.

What words can adequately capture the right attributes to pay a man the size of Ras Kimono? A man who used his music as a tool against Apartheid, a man with boundless gifts and one of the greatest Reggae artists of his time.

For proof of Ras Kimono's legacy, one needs to look no further than his songs, his persona, his message, and the vast number of people who were influenced by it.

Protest music became a thing in the late 80s with the emergence of Ras Kimono, as his brand of music was one propelled by happenings around him.

ALSO READ: Nigerians react as Ras Kimono passes away

 

Ras Kimono resonated with people of all ages, both within and outside the country, with his accomplishments spreading far beyond his four body of works.

That he was an advocate however should not distract us from the music that he offered and its brilliance, Ras Kimono was a different breed of Reggae artist, with a distinct sound and consciously inspired messages.

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With a career that spreads over 37 years, coming up with his most iconic song is one of the hardest task assigned to a music lover, as his debut album Under Pressure, regarded as one of his highest selling albums spanned hit records like Under Pressure, Natty Get Jail, Kill Apartheid and the fans' favourite, Rhumba Style.

He was to further release three other albums, We No Wan in 1989, What's Gwan and Rub A Dub in 1990. Out of the lot, one song that stands out is 'Under Pressure'

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Under Pressure was an anthem that touched on societal issues, becoming a hit single with a powerful message that Nigerians could identify with, backed by a video that captures his mood as he delivers his trademark Rhumba dancesteps.

Delivered in a mix of English and Delta language, and interspersed with rhythmic chanting, it was to grow into one of his most significant recordings as Ras Kimono painted a picture of events and situations not limited to Nigeria but on the continent.

His lyrics crisply captures the suffering, agony, hunger and cries of the masses.

 

Recounting the reasons for writing Under Pressure in one of his final interviews before he passed away, Ras Kimono said, ''there was always a need to tell the truth, irrespective of what happened, the truth had to be addressed with no apologies''.

What continues to strike about this song is that 29 years after its release, everything he spoke about in his lyrics remains a part of our society.

While the present crop of artistes have been accused of turning a blind eye even as topical issues continue to rise, Under Pressure is the perfect definition of an evergreen song that sold revolutionary music to the people and aptly captured what the man stood for with his music.

Ras Kimono was a legend, an icon and a visionary, while Under Pressure is timeless music, a song ahead of its time and one that will be passed from generation to generation.

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