In 1992, Rage Against The Machine was already taking its first steps in the great leagues of music. After releasing a demo and gaining recognition with some presentations in clubs and stages, Zack de la Rocha’s band signed with the Epic label and prepared their debut album.
The full-length is an unexpected success and quickly reaches the top of the Billboard charts. Pioneers in the fusion of hip hop and metal, they were characterized by their rebellious, irreverent spirit and their protest lyrics against the system. De la Rocha sang in a very visceral way, and accompanied by his powerful band they created an explosive fusion that reached the ears of people in search of spokesmen against injustice. The music spread throughout California and much of the United States.
On the first album, the homonymous song appears: “Killing in the Name Of, which has a whole story behind it and is surrounded by events to remember. Movement is a problem that has been present for many years in the society of the United States and that even today prevails: racism.
Guitarist Tom Morello revealed how one of Rage Against The Machine’s greatest hits, the song “Killing In The Name”, was born in an interview with the podcast Rolling Stone Music Now.
According to him, the lyrics, “one of the most brilliant composed by Zack de la Rocha”, refer to the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who stated that the moment he became free was not when he was physically released from his bonds, but when the master said “yes” and he said “no”.
“‘Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me’ is a universal sentiment,” Tom Morello told Rolling Stone about the track’s famous chant. “While it’s a simple lyric, I think it’s one of [Zack de la Rocha’s] most brilliant. And to me, it relates to Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass said the moment he became free was not the moment that he was physically loosed from his bonds.”
“It was the moment when master said, ‘Yes.’ And he said, ‘No.’ And that’s the essence of ‘Fuck you, I will not do what you tell me.’ And that’s why it’s encouraging to hear it shouted at the Fed goons who are shooting tear gas at American citizens,” he added.
Tom Morello also told about how he created the instrumental “Killing In The Name”, when he was teaching guitar and showing his student how to play drop-D, taught by Maynard Keenan from Tool.
Commerford’s isolated bass sets the track into a full brand new scope and it is still warranted to give shivers down your ridge. It’s arguably the right musical significance in the song that sells the whole thing. Though De La Rocha’s cryptic theme is poetic and poignant, with a few strums, Commerford has us on the corner of our couches.
Listen to the Isolated Bass Track Below: