Former Rage Against The Machine man and hot hip-hop duo Run The Jewels bring you this beefy track coupled with a video that seems to be continuing a current and very welcome vogue.
When I penned this review of the latest Pussy Riot single I was ruminating on how there seems to be almost nothing in the way of protest songs in 2015, a lack of social commentary borne of a fear of alienating any part of an artist’s fan-base. The Pussy Riot song dealt with the emotive contemporary issue of cop-on-black violence in 21st century America. Then a couple of weeks later I reviewed Benjamin Booker’s latest video which also dealt, albeit in a very different way, with the same issue. Well I’ll be darned if this week’s New Reels isn’t continuing this same thread. It seems we live in an age where the protest song has been usurped by the protest video.
This time it comes from hip-hop duo Run The Jewels, a collaboration between former Company Flow man El-P and Killer Mike who some of you may remember from his work with Outkast. They’ve teamed up Zack de la Rocha, still raging against the machine nearly 25 years after he started. What we get is a track that throbs and bristles nicely, with de la Rocha supplying the hook and a killer verse. It’s all about the video though, which contains an almost comically inept weaponless fight between a cop and a young black man. You can read your own intent of meaning in to it, I’m still undecided. Given the equitably pathetic nature of the fight maybe it’s a comment on how if we took away all the weapons etc etc… Something like that. Or not.
Whatever the meaning is, no matter, I love it, and it’s great to hear ZdlR, who unfortunately only ever seems to make appearances on other people’s records these days. If there are further additions to this current spate of protest videos I’ll be sure to let you know. Finally, the award for the best song title of 2015 so far goes to…..