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.
we digging for windows here