Prophets of Rage is a Cringe Masterpiece

1You may have already forgotten (good for you) that the “rap rock supergroup” Prophets of Rage formed last year featuring most of Rage Against the Machine/AudioSlave, two members of Public Enemy, and B-Real of Cypress Hill.

The amalgamation of middle-aged artists who have never written a good song in their 30+ years in the industry (with the possible exception of Chuck D) were described by Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine as “…an elite task force of revolutionary musicians determined to confront the mountain of election year bullshit, and confront it head on…”

Leave it to Communist “artists” in Che Guevara shirts to tell you whose opinions deserve to be violently “silenced” in this video for the incomprehensible Radical Eyes.

Last January, when Prophets of Rage came onto the scene, people were excited for a refreshing hardcore take on the “system” and the “racist evil” of the man running for President–a man who couldn’t possibly win.

Predictably, the project’s excitement and virility went flaccid, and a major album release from Prophets of Rage in September 2017 falls on deaf ears. But that won’t stop Tom Morello and Chuck D trying to sound cool on the failing Daily Show while they stumble through tired political rhetoric and drag their feet through another version of the same song they’ve been making for three decades.

None of this stopped me from checking out the album out of morbid curiosity. Let’s call it…my version of “cutting.” I’m always anxious to test my tolerance for pain. To get the full effect, you’d have to force yourself to listen to these individual tracks (don’t). But let’s establish that they all sound the same, and they’re all faux-edgy with goofy outdated record scratches. Now let’s get into the best part: the cringe lyrics.

TRACK 1: Radical Eyes

Can’t resist don’t even draw / All the things all you do / Now your part on the trees / You’ve distracted again / Your fantasy when you walk and for the fight for the win
They didn’t hear my cry / He said fuck my pride
The say I’m radicalized
(See my radical eyes)

It’s actually amazing that the album starts out like this. It’s the most apt introduction to what the rest of the album is going to be. The lyrics make no artistic or literal sense, and it’s clear that whoever is writing the words is deeply struggling for loose rhymes that sound like they may be intentionally deep. They’re not. But what else is new for Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy, or Cypress Hill?

TRACK 2: Unfuck the World

No Hatred / Fuck Racists / Blank Faces / Time’s Changin’ / One Nation / Unification / The Vibration / Unfuck the World!

There are so many good lines in this track, but the desperate attempt for the chorus to become a chant reminiscent of Green Day‘s “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA” is palpable. This is Black Eyed Peas level cringe.

TRACK 3: Legalize Me

Yo, where those candles lit / Teenagers blown to bits / I’m filling radio with hits / Prime nights at the Ritz

I’ll be honest, it was refreshing to find out this song wasn’t about illegal immigration. But it was distressing when I couldn’t fathom what else it could possibly be about. I don’t know. You tell me. Weed, maybe?

TRACK 4: Living on the 110

Living on the 110 / There’s no end to the poverty, stopping me / You pretend there’s democracy, hypocrisy / This is the reality / Living on the 110 / There’s no end to the poverty, stopping me / You depend on democracy, hypocrisy / This is the reality

OK–finally we get a song with a defined purpose. The 110 is a California highway with lots of tent cities. Got it. Tom Morello said that everyone is rich and the tent city people are the ones suffering. Because Tom Morello lives in a world of grandstanding black & white. Sorry, Tom. You’re the elite. You’re sucking Trevor Noah’s cock while LA’s Democratic gov’t does nothing for homelessness. You do have democracy, Tom. But you depend on hypocrisy. Oh, shit. I should be Chuck D.

TRACK 5: The Counteroffensive

[Scattered Vocals Amongst Record Scratching] / Counteroffensive / Counteroffensive / Prophets of Rage / Counteroffensive / Prophets of Rage

Um…let’s call this one an “intermission”? Oof…

TRACK 6: Hail to the Chief

All Hail to the chief who came in the name of a Thief to cease Peace / He’ll be comin’ round that mountain / All Hail to the chief who came in the name of Thief to cease Peace / And he didn’t even run

It’s becoming more and more clear that this album was either written in 2003 and released today, or that it was written and recorded last weekend. Title makes it sound like it would be the album’s big ANTI-TRUMP song…but I’m not even sure what this is. Lots of cowboy references. I honestly don’t get it; nor do I see why anyone else would.

TRACK 7: Take Me Higher

Drones! / They got ya tapped, they got ya phone / Look out! / Drones! / They got ya trapped, they spot ya home / Cuz you’re a target! / Drones gonna take you out / Drones gonna shut yo mouth / Drones flyin’ checkin’ ya’ll out / Drones in the hood like ‘wow’

So far, that’s two songs in a row with titles that other artists performed much more competently. This one…this one was a doozy. I have to believe this is the last song they wrote. Tom Morello said “We need 12 tracks! We have 11!” to which Chuck D replied, “So what, man? I’m tired of writin’.” To which Cypress Hill responded, “What about just yelling DRONEZ?” And the rest is history. Seriously, though. This track is a fucking embarrassment to rap, rock, and rap-rock.

TRACK 8: Strength in Numbers

Standing on a rock / Staring at the cop / With the [?] / While you wanna hit the fucking blunt / We don’t want no pipeline / Injustice of a lifetime / Brothers turn away / Like they don’t see us spend a lifeline / High crimes / Does it make you wonder? / Stand together / Because there’s strength in numbers

Even the hardcore dedicated fans who scribe and dissect these awful lyrics have given up trying to figure this shit out. This is a mishmash of references to Left Wing causes randomly assorted with zero context. “Standing on a rock”? May be a throwaway allusion to the Standing Rock protest? Who’s to say? There has to be someone literate in this “super-group.” Right?

TRACK 9: Fired a Shot

Look who fired the shot / I just fired the shot / We fired the shot / Look who fired the shot / Look who fired the shot / I just fired the shot / We fired the shot / Look who fired the shot

Everyone in this “super group” has Down Syndrome. They should’ve called it Prophets of the Syndrome and gave all the proceeds to some kind of charity that takes WEED away from these water-heads.

TRACK 10: Who Owns Who

Know your rights but you should understand / Who owns who / Systematic breakdown / Know your rights but you should understand / Who owns who / We fuckin’ matter

I think this song is about immigrants crossing the borders, having sex with American women, burning the American flag, and then whining about how they own the streets and matter to the country. I disagree.

TRACK 11: Hands Up

Hands up x3 / Had enough x3 / What the fuck?

I truly hope you’re starting to sense a theme here, and I think if you’re playing along at home, you too could write a Prophets of Rage song (or really any Rage Against the Machine song).
Pick a phrase that’s mildly provocative, but only enough to rile up a 13 year old. Repeat phrase with some familiar power-guitar riffs and some archaic record scratches that make you sound even more out-of-it than you ever could have done verbally. Done.

TRACK 12: Smashit

They say what the must to gain our trust / But once the ballot’s cast they forget about us / Standing on a mountain high above the downtrodden / They forgot about Michigan like all is magnificent

Well it was a long road, but we finally made it. Last track of the album. The only possibly respectful thing I could say about this album is that it clearly would have been exactly the same no matter who won the election; but that has very sinister undertones. Because while their political ideology isn’t swayed by Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, they aren’t swayed by reality at all.

It’s all just a ledger of causes their retarded fan-base can feel politically stimulated over. Does anyone believe that these wealthy hall-of-famers give a shit about “the downtrodden”? Are we supposed to believe that these has-been performers whose aging fans only respond to out of nostalgia have any real clue about the nature of the world outside of violent rhetoric and communist iconography?

If you liked this album, you may want to have your chromosomes checked.

My review: Zero out of Ten Hot Dogs. Fuck it.

HotDog0

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Semi-Important Thoughts on Truth and Football

Two unrelated but equally intriguing thoughts have been rattling in my brain over the Thanksgiving holiday. Oddly, it’s taken a fair bit of moving around the procrastinating in my schedule to find the time to formally write them down. While it’s true that the magnitude of my procrastination has reached epic proportions, I am yet to completely veg out and abandon all conscious thought.

Let’s start with the trivial—and like most trivial concepts, we’ll begin with the wide world of sports and entertainment. When Michael Vick, convicted superstar of the Eagles (convicted of taking part in the systematic fighting and execution of dogs, not specifically of being a superstar), was accepted to the Philadelphia team, he was met with a fair level of dissent. The rally cries were either “Torture Vick the same way he tortured helpless animals” or “Give Vick a Second Chance.”

Both of these statements were short-sighted and made hastily with no real sense of what the fuck Vick as a human being was (and certainly still is) capable of. It seems that when celebrities, athletes, or marginally talented famous people are convicted of a semi-serious criminal activity, they are treated with the most delicate sensitivity by the majority of Americans.

E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!

I’ll explain. So often do we hear the naïve battle cry of, “Celebrities get away with everything.” And, of course, this is true. The rich do enjoy a certain buffer zone within the laws many of us take for granted. A parking ticket or traffic violation that may take groceries out of our budget could quite easily be pennies and pocket fluff for someone else.

Automobile violations aside, how often does our celebrity culture jump to the defense of the rich and famous when they’re taken in for a crime that would land any “normal” American either behind bars, or up to their tits in court fees and bail costs?

Stop me if any of these sound familiar: FREE WEEZY, FREE WINONA, OJ’S INNOCENT, GIVE VICK A SECOND CHANCE!

The truth is that Vick has had several blown chances (not as many as McNabb though! ZING! No, I don’t give a shit) and his true nature is simply ignored and pushed aside in favor of him being a possible golden ticket to the Super Bowl.

Meanwhile, celebrities who’ve really done nothing wrong but be cocky, arrogant douchebags are vilified despite their undeniable talent. Just ask a bunch of Football fans what they think of Kanye West.

Changing gears on the conversation a little bit, I wanted to touch on an issue that’s already been covered at length. That issue is, of course, simple-minded, willfully ignorant, probably racist, redneck conservatives. Specifically, the notion their acceptance and/or denial of the necessity for proof.

As a self-proclaimed reasonable, rational, and often skeptical human being, as I may rightly or wrongly assume most of you are, I can honestly say that I do my best to seek out proof of stories and new bits of information before I accept or deny them. If no solid proof is available, I’ll generate a reasoned opinion based on the facts available depending on who they information is coming from. But, obviously, you know all of this already, because you, like me, live in the real world.

You and I live in a world that is almost certainly godless; a world where people are only as good as the content of their character; a world where judgment is only passed based on outside factors like racism, jealousy, bigotry, love, honor, or stupidity…not in the unseen and unknowable opinion of an obsolete bronze age deity.

Yet, to the faithful—that is, to the stubborn and myopic faithful—god, faith, stereotypes, and misplaced ideologies are the only things that seem to be accepted with no determinable evidence.

But where do they put their collective foot down when it comes to the “burden of proof” in the 21st century? Obama’s Birth Certificate, Global Warming, Evolution, Healthy Living, and whether or not it’s actually Michael Jackson’s voice on his first of inevitably too many posthumous albums.

I don’t mean to be alarmist, but I don’t think our species has long left.

Alex G/

Soundtrack to the Week (If you care)

Recovery—Eminem: “Fuck my last CD; that shit’s in the trash.” Eminem drops some knowledge in his latest release, reminding us that we fell in love with him for his personality and passion. If you haven’t heard the full album yet, you’ve likely heard the single, Not Afraid; so take your response to that song, multiply it by infinity, and that’s how much you should love this record. It’s incredible that the rapper can so easily transition from barely poetic novelty-hip hop nonsense to this genre-defining masterwork. The bar has been set. Next time anyone plays anything off Relapse, push them down a flight of stairs.

Thank Me LaterDrake: At some point, we have to get past the fact that Drake was Jimmy from Degrassi. He clearly goes above and beyond to crush the association between him and teen melodrama, and it’s a damn shame that it’s not working. Most of his lyrics, while captivating and melodic, are at their core—psychologically immature. But we’re still listening, so fuck it. Keep doing what you do, Drake. After all, Blink 182’s still doing songs about the girls who broke their hearts in high school, and they’re, like, 40.

The Almighty Defenders—The Almighty Defenders: We’re a bit behind with this one—released in September 2009—but we’ve obviously not been paying enough attention. One could call The Almighty Defenders a “super-group,” if one recognized either of the amazing bands involved. The band is made up of The Black Lips and King Khan and BBQ Show, joining forces for the first time to produce 11 incredible “spirituals” that conjure up a dream of walking awkwardly into a Baptist Church only to realize the party’s being hosted by Satan with every blues, jazz, and rock god playing the devil’s music.

Teargarden by Kaleidyscope Vol. 1: Songs for a Sailor—The Smashing Pumpkins: Surely the length of the title is more impressive than the actual album. To call this a “new Pumpkins album” is the rambling of a madman. Billy Corgan probably decided that it would be a fun experiment to see how much people who still buy CDs would pay for a CD. Answer: way-too-fucking-much. You probably won’t find this release for less than $30, as it comes in a wooden box with a little marble obelisk for some reason. The EP is 4 songs that wind up being a combination of Zwan and The Decemberists—which, in theory, would be pretty rad…but in practice, it’s wholly unsatisfying–especially when you try to pass it off as Pumpkins.

Brothers—The Black Keys: It’s nice to see The Black Keys switching up their sound, if only slightly. Not that I’ve grown weary of their perfected straight-forward rock n’roll/blues, but after an already extensive catalog, it’s pleasant to see some variation on the theme. I’m ashamed to say that I hadn’t actively listened to The Black Keys before they were featured in the 2007 film Black Snake Moan, despite them having been around for the better part of the last decade. I was a fool, and I now accept the error of my ways.

Rebirth—Lil Wayne: I have to be honest and say that it took a while for Weezy to grow on me, but this album is such solid fucking gold that I feel mentally disabled for ignoring Lil Wayne for so long. We should all offer our thanks to Aerosmith and Run DMC for creating the genre of “Rap Rock” despite Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, etc, etc, etc. The difference, of course, is that Lil Wayne is a legitimately talented rapper who decided to rock out for an album, and we’re glad he did. His collaborations with Eminem, the gorgeous Nicki Minaj, and the power ballad “Die for You” are possibly the greatest tracks here, but that’s like saying that the white and red Smarties are the best. They’re all wonderful, so just shut up and eat your fucking candy.

Alex G/likes when rappers are able rhyme words that should never, ever, ever rhyme.