A solo album from Zack de la Rocha, former frontman of Rage Against The Machine, has got to be one of the most mythical and mysterious non-entities in all of music.
For years, artists and collaborators have hinted at new, solo work. Meanwhile, the remainder of the band have existed in various non-RATM incarnations, having recently teamed up with members of Cypress Hill and Public Enemy to create the formidable Prophets of Rage.
De La Rocha has all but disappeared entirely, save for a collaborative EP with The Mars Volta‘s Jon Theodore in 2008 and a brilliant feature on Run The Jewels’ Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck) in 2014.
Now, finally, a solo single is here. More than that, it’s produced by El-P. More still, it’s really fucking good.
The song – De La Rocha’s first solo output in more than ten years – is called Digging For Windows. Of its release, El-P has stated that it was written in 2016 and that a full solo album will out next year.
the ZDR the album is happening. 2017.
— el-p (@therealelp) September 8, 2016
It’s been released as a free download on BitTorrent, and you can listen right here:
The beat is sparser than expected, but that’s just a result of 15+ years listening to RATM. The core beat is deep, heavy and synthetic, with the remainder of the instrumental peppered by bulging synths and sound effect. El-P’s penchant for the post-apocalyptic is the perfect accompaniment to this powerful song. Lyrically, it’s a dark and visceral depiction of the world surrounding him – lyrics here.
El’s industrial beats and Zack’s starkly poetic lyrics are an impeccable match. I cannot wait for more.
Welcome back Zack. We’ve missed you.
The image credit is as follows, as written by Zack: Thanks to the late Manuel Alvarez Bravo for creating the cover art photo “Fireworks for the Infant Jesus”, 1990 (Castillo en el barrio del Niño), by Manuel Álvarez Bravo (c) Copyright 1990 Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, S.C.