Dukes of Roots, the new movement that celebrates roots reggae music, has teamed up with multi-award-winning country music star Darius Rucker for their new single “John Punch,” available tomorrow, June 16, via all streaming platforms. The song explores the story of the first slave in the United States and the injustices he faced. It is the fourth single from their upcoming debut album, which is expected to be released in Fall 2023. Pre-save HERE.
The moving song narrates the life of John Punch, who was originally an indentured servant, but was sentenced to lifelong slavery in 1640 by Virginia Governor’s Council for attempting to escape Maryland with two other servants. A powerful and emotional expression of the history of slavery in America, the song serves as a tribute to the resilience and courage of John Punch and his descendants. The song also celebrates the diversity and complexity of American identity, and the possibility of overcoming oppression and injustice.
The band shared their inspiration behind “John Punch” in a statement:
“One day, during a break from recording, we started talking about how amazing it is that three people from different countries and cultures somehow found each other and decided to create new roots reggae music together. This conversation led to a deeper discussion about the emigration of Africans to The United States, most not by choice. It was this discussion that inspired us to write ‘John Punch.’ The song tells the story of the first slave in the United States, the passage, families in Africa and the injustice. Producer Sean ‘YoungPow’ Diedrick added authentic tribal drums, a wooden flute and other percussion instruments to complement the song. Lead vocalists Mermans Mosengo and Darius Rucker execute the vocals with the emotion this song deserves.”
This collaboration showcases a unique musical fusion of two amazing artists from two genres coming together to tell a story, which will resonate throughout the world. Both having admiration for each other’s work only made it easier to work together.
“I’ve always loved roots reggae music and I was honored when Dukes of Roots asked me to join them on this song. I was blown away by their talent and passion for telling stories through music. ‘John Punch’ is a powerful song that speaks to our history and our humanity. I’m proud to be a part of it,” expressed Darius Rucker.