"We're not a supergroup," claimed Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello last summer when they released their debut EP The Party's Over. "We're an elite task force of revolutionary musicians determined to confront this mountain of election year bullshit, and confront it head-on with Marshall stacks blazing."
It was a pre-emptive strike, because what else would you call a band comprised of the following members: Chuck D and DJ Lord from Public Enemy; Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford of Rage Against the Machine; and B-Real from Cypress Hill?
They "aren't here to play," claims the official Prophets of Rage website. "All of them are veterans of the 'rage politik' genre, each bringing their talents to signal boost the frustration and discontent fomenting throughout the citizenry as a result of current political turmoil and upheaval."
This year's first new Prophets of Rage material, Unfuck the World, has all the characteristics you'd expect from RATM and Public Enemy, not least a blistering weird-yet-perversely-wonderful guitar solo from Mr Morello and an unashamedly profane, supremely rousing lyric from Chuck D and B-Real that hits out at racists and politicians and anyone who seeks to increase the divisions and decrease the unity in society. Frankly, it feels like it was made for the Music to Fight Evil playlist. And the truth is, there's very little music around like this in the mainstream (with or without the F word).
"You are not going to hear music like this from other artists on the radio," B-Real told TheRealNews.com last year. "Most bands that are trying to talk about what's going on, they're pretty much pushed down to an underground level and they're not getting any light on radio, or anything like that, because there's no money in the message. Because their record companies perhaps don't see the marketability in it. Whereas we don't care about that. We've had our successes... we've all done well for ourselves in our careers."
It's pretty easy to by cynical about a group of musicians - who admit they've "done well for themselves" - telling us what to do and to think. And it would be naive to suggest that they're doing it out of a sense of pure altruism. On their website, you can buy a Deluxe Resistance Party Pack for $100, which includes the Unfuck The World Windbreaker Jacket but not the fetching red "Make America Rage Again" hat - that's another $21.99. They tell us that "a portion of the proceeds go to whyhunger.org" but it would be an exaggeration to say they're not profiting from our rage.
"This meant something different for us," continued B-Real. "It gave us the platform to speak the mind of the people and how we feel about what's going on right now. The injustices going on with law enforcement, the overall fuckery in our political system and just the state of the world right now. It's just crazy. There's lack of compassion. Most people, if you see somebody on the street getting jumped by two and three people, most people are likely to film it instead of going and trying to help that person. And all this stuff that we're trying to do speaks to all this: the numbness and the hopelessness that people have right now because there's nobody out there championing their cause or speaking for them. So we took it upon ourselves to be that."
The video for the song is a cut-and-paste of live Prophets of Rage footage inter-cut with images of food factory mincing machines, street protests, smug politicians, police harassment and brutality, and people walking the streets with their heads obliviously in their smart phones.
It concludes with the stark white-on-black typewriter text: "The world is not going to change itself. That's up to you."
And as the song says, the time for waiting is over. "What the fuck are you waiting for? Stand up and rise like the tide".
You can learn more about Prophets of Rage here
About the curator
After graduating from the University of Keele in England with a degree in Politics and American Studies, Jon worked as editor of a music and entertainment magazine before spending several years as a freelance writer and, with the advent of the internet, a website designer, developer and consultant. He lives in Reading, home to one of the world's most famous and long-running music festivals, which he has attended every year since 1992.