duke-new“The Party’s Over”
 – Prophets Of Rage –
 Caroline Records

This writer, who is a die-hard socially-conscious hip-hop fan, has always contended that rap music at its core is not and does not have to be “political”. Rap music though, is at its “BEST” when it “IS” political.
The conscious community at times, has been guilty of trying to re-write history which makes them no better than the machine they’re raging against.
“Hip-Hop, you don’t stop” is essentially party music. But anything conceived by Black people in America by nature is political at its core because America for Black people is still a slave colony, as all other corporate plantations in the Diaspora are. In the words of Chuck D., Black people around the world are just picking “digital cotton” now, but still picking cotton nonetheless.
So one can cite the musical genius of Biggie Smalls, N.W.A., Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Lil’ Wayne and countless others. But the powers that be were never afraid of them.
However, Public Enemy, KRS-One, Eric B. and Rakim, De La Soul, Poor Righteous Teachers, King Sun and Ice Cube (circa 1991’s “Death Certificate”), scared the bejesus out of the American government.
So much so, that they even invented “gangsta rap” to take its place.
Alcohol, weed, hoes, guns, cocaine and violence were ok as subject matter for the masses of young Black people to listen to in hip-hop.
Education, respect for the Black woman, ending Black on Black crime, Islam and The Honourable Minister Louis Farrakhan were not.
That sort of subject matter might bring about “revolution”. And like The Last Poets said in their early 70’s classic “Niggers Are Scared Of Revolution”; “all revolution means is change”.
They call 1987-1992; “the golden age of hip-hop”
Classic records by; Big Daddy Kane, Boogie Down Productions, Ice-T, Eric B. And Rakim, Digable Planets, A Tribe Called Quest, M.C. Lyte, De La Soul, The Jungle Brothers, Arrested Development, Queen Latifah, Monie Love and at the forefront was Public Enemy with “It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back”.
Fast-forward to the mid to late 1990’s, when Black Power’s firm grasp on hip-hop was no more, you had a new breed of conscious rappers trying to peel through the layers of hip-hop’s “gangsta tapestry” like dead prez, Common,  Mos Def, Talib Kweli and on the occasion, certain tracks by 2Pac, Wu-Tang and Nas.
Rage Against The Machine appeared with its Black and white members and Mexican front-man Zack De La Rocha and appeared to almost obliterate rap music’s revolutionary tone with its blend of heavy-metal meets Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five reality lyrics. During that same time, Cypress Hill appears and although their manifesto was essentially about their fondness for herb and gang life in East L.A., their solidarity as Cuban mc’s joining music hip-hop forced with other Black youth, was another meeting of the gods that Uncle Sam had tried for years to prevent.
Fast Forward to 2017, where yet another new wave of conscious rappers such as Jidena, J. Cole and the incredible Kendrick Lamar attempt to reignite the flames of Black Power Hip-Hop, we also have Rage Against The Machine minus De La Rocha, meaning the incomparable Tom Morello on guitar, Tom Commerford on bass and Brad Wilk on drums and lead vox shared by B-Real of Cypress Hill and The Rhyme Animal Himself, Chuck D.
The superband’s name comes from a classic off of PE’s 1988 “Nations”.
It’s also the name of the ep’s 1st single that has Chuck and B-Real doing lyrics from the original and new ones that represents the collective’s thoughts on the recent American Presidential election.
The title track is probably the strongest track on the set with B-Real waxing poetic about AmeriKKKa;  “here comes the prophets while the devil’s making the profits”.
The American corporate structure is also attacked again on a live version of PE’s “Shut ‘Em Down” from 1991 “Apocalypse ‘91” – The Enemy Strikes Back”. Once again Chuck D. reminds us; “I like Nike but wait a minute, the neighbourhood supports so put some money in it”.
Another live track which is a mash up of PE’s “Fight The Power” and  “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn” by the Beastie Boys rechristened  “No Sleep ‘Til Cleveland”, a reference to the site of the 2016 Republican National Convention, a city the group actually performed in the night of the convention.
And of course, Rage’s manifesto is featured here; “Killing In The Name Of” with updated lyrics; “Some of those in congress are the one that burn crosses”.
This writer attended their Montreal 2016 Bell Center show backstage and the atmosphere was ripe for revolution.
The slogan for the tour was “Make America Rage Again”. “You listenin’ Mr Trump ?”
Rating 7/10