Rocky Dawuni – African Thriller

While I like to know which movies are getting Oscar nomination buzz, I don’t normally care about which albums are up for any type of music award.  Maybe this is because I don’t listen to pop music, or maybe because it seems like there are so many damn types of music awards.  Perhaps a combination of both 🙂  However, I’m about to make an exception to this rule of thumb.  I stumbled across a list of this years Grammy nominees for Best Reggae Album.  I was literally shocked to not see Protoje’s “Ancient Future” album on the list.  While I was glad to see a nomination for Jah Cure’s album, it was definitely not better than “Ancient Future”.  One of the nominations was for what appeared to be an acoustic collection of Barrington Levy’s biggest hits.  I love Barrington, but come on, seriously?  “Ancient Future” is one of the best reggae albums of the last decade.  How did I come to that conclusion?  The last album that I can think of that I enjoyed as much as “Ancient Future” was Damian Marley’s “Welcome to Jamrock” which was released in 2005.  Granted this is my opinion, and thus totally subjective, but who cares, it’s my blog 🙂

The one good thing that did come out of this though was that on the list of nominees, I saw a name I did not recognize at all; someone named Rocky Dawuni.  Of course, as is wont to happen, it led me down the rabbit hole of investigating who exactly this Rocky Dawuni guy was.  Turns out he hails from Ghana, and is a pretty big star in Africa.  The first track that came up in my YouTube search was called “African Thriller”.  It’s a super catchy tune, with a really well done video to go with it.  The director of the video drew his inspiration from a documentary about the “Rumble in the Jungle”, the legendary 1974 fight between Ali and Foreman which took place in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo).  The visuals and choreography are amazing and go perfectly with the track, and you can tell within the first minute that it’s a hit.


There are so many things to like about this song, but one of my favorites is the percussion section which sounds so rich.  The mix of a regular drum kit, African drums, and the hand clapping are great; they even almost use the human voice as a percussion instrument in the chorus every time they say “Hot! Hot!”.  The bass line is tight, and I obviously love the use of the horns as well (that almost goes without saying).  On a related note, one of the really cool things about this song was what I found when I looked it up on SoundCloud.  The record label has a page on SoundCloud where they have shared all the musical sections individually.  If you click the link below and scroll down a bit, you will see individual tracks for the lead vocals, percussion, guitar, horns, etc.  For DJ’s, the remix potential here is almost limitless which I think is a very smart move to help spread the popularity of the track.


Anyways, I’m still not happy that Protoje was not nominated.  But I am very happy that I discovered this track, and wish Rocky Dawuni the best of luck.  I hope all of you enjoy this track and that it can bring a bit of warmth to the long dark of the Canadian winter.



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