PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | The use of music as a medium to react to politics and injustice is not a new idea. Tracing back to Irish folk songs and bard’s tales from ages ago, to Baez and Dylan’s antiwar folk movement of the ‘60s, to Black Sabbath’s metallic railings against a conformist society in the ‘70s, the message has been the same, even though the method of delivery has varied. As the ‘80s were drawing to a close and the ‘90s approached, two of the biggest voices of musical revolution were Public Enemy and Rage Against the Machine. Whether it was Chuck D’s unmistakable baritone demanding that the masses “Fight the Power” or the fury of Zach de la Rocha’s cry for justice, the face of rebellion in music was forever changed.
If there was ever a right time to bring these outspoken musical forces together to make a statement, that time is now. With the election right around the corner, America has turned into a polarized, partisan, daily minefield of he-said-she-said rhetoric. Thus, the Prophets of Rage were born.
The idea was simple, yet effective. First, you have three of the four members of Rage Against the Machine (singer Zach de la Rocha declined to participate but gave his blessing). Filling his shoes is the aforementioned Chuck D of Public Enemy, B-Real of Cypress Hill, and DJ Lord, also from Public Enemy on turntables. All the pieces were in place, and after some rehearsal time and two performances in Los Angeles and Cleveland (coincidentally at the same time and in the vicinity of the GOP Convention), the “Make America Rage Again” tour was ready to launch at EagleBank Arena in the DC suburb of Fairfax, VA.