The arrival of Prophets of Rage has essentially brought with it two reactions.
Reaction 1: Oh, cool. This band makes complete sense.
Reaction 2: Hey, I wonder what Zack De La Rocha is up to?
Well, now we know a little bit more about that second response. On Thursday, the former frontman of Rage Against the Machine dropped an absolute banger of a track, “Digging for Windows,” and the single, produced by previous collaborator El-P of Run the Jewels, is grungy, thumping and foreboding. And that’s just the music. Hearing De La Rocha’s signature vocals again is a forceful reminder that very few artists rap with his ferocity and passion.
Since Rage Against the Machine called it quits in 2000, there have been rumors — that gradually became more like myths as the years passed — that De La Rocha was working on a solo album. But that effort never came, and it wasn’t until 2008 when the former RATM frontman reemerged with the EP from One Day as a Lion, his collaboration with the Mars Volta’s Jon Theodore. The EP was only five songs, though; really just a tease and the group was never heard from again. Shortly after it was released, De La Rocha seemed to once again disappear.
It wasn’t until 2014 when we heard from De La Rocha again, as he contributed vocals on Run the Jewels’ joint “Close Your Eyes (And Count to F*ck.)” The return was years in the making, though: When he was work-shopping ideas for solo record back in the early 2000s, one of the producers De La Rocha worked with was none other than El-P. So, “Digging for Windows” is then a reunion of sorts for the two, and it’s a heck of a reunion. And as great as it is to hear De La Rocha rapping again, it’d be even better if this was a taste of things to come, rather than a precursor to him disappearing again.
“Digging for Windows” is currently available as a free download on BitTorrent.