If pioneering rap-metal foursome Rage Against The Machine embodied the boiling point of Gen-X angst and disillusionment, then Zack De La Rocha was the voice of that revolution.
Riding in on tidal waves of distortion and feedback provided by guitarist Tom Morello, De La Rocha’s seething, politically charged lyrics were a vicious counterattack against societal oppression throughout the 1990s. As the rapper/lyricist once explained, “I’m interested in spreading ideas [of social activism] through art, because music has the power to cross borders, to break military sieges and to establish real dialogue.”
While tensions within the band eventually led Zack to part ways with Morello, Brad Wilk, and Tim Commerford in 2000, the inherently volatile group was responsible for some of the most iconic music of the ’90s, although RATM did have plans for a full-scale reunion tour in 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In honor of De La Rocha’s 51st birthday today, January 12th, take a look back at Rage in their prime, performing at the infamous Woodstock ’99 in the video below.
Rage Against The Machine – Woodstock 1999 [Full-Show Video]
[Video: RATM on MV]