A few weeks ago, an anonymous website arrived with a countdown clock, one set to hit zero on May 31. The domain, Prophets Of Rage, is named for a Public Enemy song, and arrived with a red-and-black militaristic logo.
Prophets Of Rage also started posting oblique Instagram photos and embeds of Public Enemy and Cypress Hill tracks. It did all this while referencing a hashtag: #takethepowerback.
It didn’t take long for sleuths to decipher the tease. This wasn’t a political movement or an armed insurrection. After all, its Twitter feed’s first tweet was posted by a publicist for a high-profile music agency.
The news was announced at 8am when the clock ran down. Prophets Of Rage is a supergroup featuring members of Rage Against the Machine, along with Chuck D of Public Enemy, and B Real of Cypress Hill.
“We can no longer stand on the sidelines of history. Dangerous times demand dangerous songs,” reads the site.
The participating members of Rage – guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk – will be joined by founding members of Public Enemy and Cypress Hill. Absent from the picture: Zack de la Rocha, Rage’s front man.
Morello is no stranger to grouping up. After de la Rocha first left Rage in the mid-1990s, the remaining three members teamed with vocalist Chris Cornell to form Audioslave. Morello formed the Street Sweeper Social Club with rapper-provocateur Boots Riley of The Coup. When he performs solo, he uses the name The Nightwatchman. When he joins Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band on tour, he is, simply, Tom Morello.
The two rappers Chuck D and B Real will join members of Rage to perform both tracks by the band and by their respective crews. Public Enemy’s incitements are tailor-made for volume, and Cypress Hill’s simmering, hazy grooves should offer a stoned counterpoint. – Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service/Randall Roberts