New Audio: Zack de la Rocha Teams Up with El-P for a Fiery, Tweeter and Woofer Rocking Track

At the time of Rage Against the Machine‘s initial break up in 2000 due to “creative differences,” the band’s frontman, Zack de la Rocha had been working on a solo album featuring an All-Star cast of collaborators including  DJ Shadow, El-P, DJ Muggs, Dan the Automator, Roni Size, DJ Premier, and The Roots‘ Questlove and production partner James Poyser. And while there was quite a bit of buzz around the project, featuring one of contemporary music’s most fiery and political voices, through the years that passed without its release, the project became several things simultaneously:  the stuff of apocryphal legend, in which rumors abounded to its actual existence and eventual release; a missed opportunity to righteously strike back against the social and political forces of the far right wing; and in other ways, the project was viewed in a similar fashion to Guns ‘N’ Roses’/Axl Rose’s Chinese Democracy album or in other words like New York City’s Second Avenue Subway — that is something that should be viewed as never happening in anyone’s lifetimes. However, relatively recently, a few tracks from those sessions have surfaced; although it’s difficult to tell what direction, if any, the album may have taken. After the reportedly failed initial recording sessions, de la Rocha then worked with Trent Reznor for about 20 tracks, which were also never released.  But despite those setbacks, de la Rocha had been pretty busy making guest appearances on several politically charged singles as part of the countless protests before and during the second Iraq War.

Over the years, the members of Rage Against the Machine have reunited for a number of live shows and over the last couple of the years and it included de la Rocha’s collaboration with former The Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore on the bass synth and drum-based musical project One Day as a Lion. And during that time the rumblings that de la Rocha’s long-awaited solo album grew louder and louder, especially over the past year. As rumored by countless sources, the album would feature production by some of the original collaborators — including El-P, Questlove, Trent Reznor and DJ Premier. So coming across both a friend’s Facebook post and a press email that read “Zack de la Rocha releases ‘Digging for Windows’ from Forthcoming Solo Album” was a moment of stunned disbelief. Naturally, that was followed by a moment in which I thought “Finally! Righteously furious, revolutionary music for these frighteningly uncertain, fucked up times.”

The yet unnamed album is slated for release sometime next year, and its stomping and rampaging first single “Digging for Windows” pairs an ambient and somewhat abrasive, industrial-leaning production consisting of enormous, stomp tweeter and woofer rocker beats, slashing synths, electronic bleeps, distorted vocal samples with de la Rocha’s imitable and furious vocals rhyming from the perspective of the disenfranchised, the downtrodden and fucked with, the victims of abuse, injustice and greed with profound empathy, understanding and hatred of the powerful and unchecked forces behind it. And although he may not ever be in your list of Top 10, Top 20 or hell, even Top 50 emcees, he’s absolutely necessary — now more than ever.

Check out the lyrics below.


fuck that bright shit
the spot or the flashlights
we in la ducking both
in the shadows with lead pipes
the days are all night


see if i pay edison
no medicine
these blues ain’t more better when
my fever rise in the jungle
as quick as the price spikes
the days are all night


my future snapped like a rubber band
off my fold on a hand to hand
he drew from his waist
i put two in his roof
and i can still hear his screams
all night


now they ride their portfolios
like rodeos
rise every time my cherry glows
on the end of my cig as
the smoke blows through the bars
and the co’s laugh fades
as he strolls away
says i gotta pay
off that roll away
or its fuck your visitation days
and i pop off so in solitaire
i dream of offing these fred astaires
and the skin off my fingers tear
we digging for windows here
where the days are all night


this city’s a trap my partner
under the lights of they choppers
bodies tools for they coffers
not worth the cost of our coffins
i stare at a future so toxic
no trust in the dust of a promise
won’t mark the name on a ballot
so they can be free to devour our options
and just like you I’m a target
ill defined by the guap in my pocket
but the stage make figures
as quick as it off em
what marley  and pac get?
i put these caps in capitals
leave minds blazed in they capitols
i step with a fury so actual fact
that my offense could be capital

we digging for windows here