Rage Against The Machine: Killing In The Name of Christmas
Hailing from Orange County, California, Rage Against The Machine are a group of rap metal-heads who are hugely vocal against all manner of sociocultural and political concerns. The bands morals stem from lead singer Zack de la Rocha, the son of a Chicano political artist and grandson of a Mexican revolutionary, and Tom Morello, the scion of African insurrectionists.
Rage Against The Machine’s single ‘Killing In The Name’ comes with quite an astonishing story, and has essentially become the flag bearer for anarchism. The track was Rage Against The Machine’s first single and resonated with society on so many levels. It was the thrilling combination of modern punk with elements of hardcore and hip-hop thrown in for good measure. ‘Killing In The Name’ was a loud and violent statement targeted towards what the band saw as endemic racism in US security agencies, with De la Rocha’s politically fused lyrics citing ‘Some of those that work forces are the same that burns crosses’ alluding directly to the Ku Klux Klan.
‘Killing In The Name’ is perhaps most notorious for the final verse of the song in which the song has escalated to the point where de la Rocha is screaming: ‘Fuck you! I won’t do what you tell me!’ repeatedly, 16 times at that, before topping it off with: ‘Motherfucker! Uggh!’.
The single established even more substance by the time it was released on the album, and really grew into the political spearhead we know today. In November 1992, Rodney King’s police assailaints had unbelievably been acquitted by a jury in court that April, a verdict that instantly triggered the LA riots. The riots added so much more depth to the claims of institutional racism in certain sections of American society.
Fast forward to 2009, and the track that was first released in 1991 had suddenly re-emerged, but this time with a different motive. ‘Killing In The Name’ had resurfaced in an attempt to topple the generic pop that was cluttering up the music charts, and act as a big fuck you to the X Factor. The single went on to sell 500,000 copies and downloads, and ultimately beat Joe McElderry’s ‘The Climb’ in the race for Christmas number one. Speaking on the BBC Radio 1 chart show, Zack de la rocha said: “It says more about the spontaneous action taken by young people throughout the UK to topple this very sterile pop monopoly.”
Garth Richardson, producer of ‘Killing In The Name’ explained: “This band is like no other, what they stand for and what they’ve done. I don’t think anyone will be able to copy them. They changed the musical landscape forever.” What a crazy life cycle Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name’ undertook, becoming the spearhead for many political and social revolts. It’s a song that shows how much power people have, and the incredible things that can happen when people work together collectively.