By Brian Ives
Here’s what we think we know: Rage Against the Machine is planning to announce something; they’ve just launched a website with a countdown clock, counting down to May 31.
Last night, a rumor making the interweb rounds said that Rage’s guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk were going to form a new band, Prophets of Rage, with Chuck D. of Public Enemy and B-Real of Cypress Hill.
For the purposes of this list, we’ll just presume that that’s what’s going to happen. And with that in mind, here’s some songs that we’d love to see the supergroup collaborate on.
“Know Your Enemy”
One of the classic songs off of Rage’s immortal 1992 debut (really, all the songs on that album are pretty classic), the vocals are particularly reminiscent of Chuck D, who would sound right at home rapping “With the D the E the F the I the A the N the see the E: mind of a revolutionary/So clear the lane/The finger to the land of the chains/What? ‘The Land of the Free?’ Whoever told you that is your enemy!” It also has some of Tom Morello’s most mind blowing playing, ever. Finally, B-Real could sing the “I got no patience, man…” vocals that were originally performed by Tool’s Maynard James Keenan on the studio version. (Or even better, get Maynard to come out with the supergroup as well!)
“Sleep Now in the Fire”
One of the highlights from Rage’s 1999 classic, The Battle of Los Angeles, the video actually showed someone holding up a sign that said “Donald J. Trump for President.” At the time that seemed, at best, far fetched, and at worst, like a joke. The clip, directed by Michael Moore, saw the band playing in front of the New York Stock Exchange while spitting lyrics about corporate greed, something that would surely resonate with the members of the band today.
“Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos”
A classic jam from P.E.’s immortal 1988 album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. In this era of hip-hop artists aiming to be meme-d and trying to curry huge Instagram followings, it’s easy to forget how terrifying hip-hop was to the mainstream in ’88, particularly Public Enemy. This song was about a guy who was jailed for dodging the draft and instigating a prison riot to facilitate his escape. Amazingly, it reached number 11 on the Hot Rap Singles chart. Unsurprisingly, top 40 didn’t take notice. In the above video, you can see Chuck D. joining Rage for a performance of part of the song, so we know the guys have an arrangement for the song already.
“Prophets of Rage”
Also from It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, it seems like an obvious choice and it’s another classic.
“Fight the Power”
The definitive Public Enemy jam, originally from the 1989 Spike Lee film Do The Right Thing (Lee directed the video as well), and later released on 1990’s Fear of a Black Planet.
“Can’t Truss It”
An underrated cut from P.E.’s 1991 effort Apocalypse ’91: The Enemy Strikes Black, it’s nevertheless one of Public Enemy’s most powerful. Flavor Flav has big presence on this song, but B-Real could probably put his own stamp on Flav’s ad-libs (although we’re not sure how he’d feel about the line “Pointin’ to the joint: put the buddha down!”
“How I Could Just Kill a Man”
A classic from Cypress Hill’s 1991 self-titled debut, Rage covered it on their 2000 album Renegades, and included a live version with B-Real and Cypress Hill’s Sen Dog as a bonus track. And while B-Real can probably handle the Flavor Flav vocals on the Public Enemy songs, Chuck D could probably return the favor by doing Sen Dog’s parts when the Prophets play a Cypress Hill jam.
One of Cypress Hill’s rock songs from 2000’s Skull and Bones album, which featured Brad Wilk on drums. Plus, we want to hear Chuck D do Sen Dog’s line: “You wanna act trendy! In the Bentley! Be a snob and never act friendly!”
Here’s hoping the reports are true, we’re looking forward to seeing this band.