During his career, Lucky Dube has witnessed major political changes in his native South Africa. When he first earned recognition in the '80s, the country's apartheid system was still in place. But when the Peter Tosh-influenced reggae hero recorded his eighth album, Taxman, in 1997, apartheid had been outlawed for several years, and the once-imprisoned Nelson Mandela held the position of prime minister. One of his strongest albums ever, Taxman deals largely with the struggles of the new South Africa. The title song asks the same question many Americans ask -- where are all our tax dollars going? -- while "Is This the Way" and "Well Fed Slave/Hungry Free Man" poignantly address the poverty that was still very much a problem in Dube's country. Dube's songs may have been inspired by events and problems of South Africa, but their appeal is universal -- one doesn't have to be from Johannesburg or Cape Town to appreciate his reflections on the struggles of the poor, the unemployed and the homeless. Whether you live in Philadelphia, London or Kingston, Lucky Dube writes songs that hit home.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson