Yes, the time is right for this super group.
Rock, rap and hip hop meet and hold hands on the self titled debut album from Prophets of Rage.
Cypress Hills’ B-Real, DJ Lord and Chuck D from Public Enemy and Rage Against the Machine’s stalwart backline of Tim Commerford, Brad Wilk and Tom Morello get heavy but groovy. The new group and producer Brendan O’Brien keep the songs to the point and stream lined.
The heavy rock riff juggernaut of Rage Against the Machine are acting as a heavy-handed Muscle Shoals type backing act, not mercenary guns for hire. Like they did with Chris Cornell in Audioslave (for three albums), the Machine musos retain their blood and guts attack.
Unlike the Cornell-led band, there’s no break for ballads because there’s no one to sing them.
Prophets of Rage is closer to the Zack De La Rocha version of Rage Against the Machine with no angry shouting, more rapping and moments of humour. These, courtesy of B-Real and Chuck D, are most effective given the context of the bludgeoning rock/rap background.
Legalize Me is a super groove travelogue of weed-friendly cities declaimed by Public Enemy and Be-Real in a call and response. It’s an anthem waiting to be taken up.
Of course, the times are right for firebrands like this and tales and sounds of unrest abound on the album.
Living on the 110 talks urban blight and chronic poverty.
Hail to the Chief (the obvious target of Trump and company) and Unf—k the World stands out as an atmospheric call for unity. This record isn’t the first time out for rap and rock but it’s one of the most potent and hard hitting.
This is protest and outrage at its most grooving and rocking.