Rage Against the Machine (RATM) was incredibly popular when I was in high school. Not only among my friends, but in general. Their politically charged music (their style being rap metal) can really rile up a joint. And all of it was politically charged.

Their self-titled debut album is one I've listened through in its entirety numerous times, not just skipped around to one or two tracks I liked. Naturally, I won't be sharing the whole album (though they have links for that on YouTube!), but "Killing In the Name" is definitely a track I will be:

Does that not get you pumped up?

I was hoping to find a music video for the next song, but it seems most are only live appearances, which I try to avoid. "Know You Enemy" features vocals from Maynard Keenan, of Tool and A Perfect Circle fame, and also appears on Rage Against the Machine. This is the remastered track from their 20th Anniversary boxset released in 2012:

I don't believe it was common, but I do know that their work has been featured on a few soundtracks. The Crow being the main one coming to mind. The good movie where the soundtrack complimented the film, unlike The Crow: City of Angels, which I still say was made only to have another sweet soundtrack (featuring the likes of Deftones, Filter, Hole, and Korn).

In 1996, four years after the first studio album, Rage Against the Machine released Evil Empire, its title apparently referencing Ronald Reagan's description of the former Soviet Union. Like their debut album, Evil Empire was a commercial success. I feel there are more popular tracks from the CD, but "Down Rodeo" is one I like a lot:

I don't recall if "Down Rodeo" was played on the radio, but if not and you're unfamiliar with the band, hopefully you enjoyed it. "Bulls on Parade" and "People of the Sun" frequented the airwaves. They, along with "Tire Me", were nominated for multiple awards, the latter winning a Grammy.

This next video of "Testify" is a favorite, despite there being other songs I'd like to share from their third and final studio release — in regards to original material — The Battle of Los Angeles:

I feel like this video demonstrates the duopoly that people forget, whether willingly or otherwise, each and every election cycle. Unless there is a revolution of sorts within the political structure/environment, it's never going to change. Its scary just how relevant their message still is.

Rage Against the Machine went on hiatus in 2000 (after releasing their cover album, Renegades), citing differences of direction for the band. Lead singer/songwriter, Zack de la Rocha did some collaborative work (one being with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails) and went on to a solo career. During this time, the other band members formed Audioslave (with Chris Cornell of Soundgarden) and eventually Prophets of Rage (adding DJ Lord and Chuck D of Public Enemy and B-Real of Cypress Hill).

Rage Against the Machine has reunited and toured often during their hiatus. Fans have been clamoring for new material, but so far no official word has been released of it ever coming to fruition. It's a shame, because with how deep they were involved with activism, in their music and elsewhere, I'm curious what they'd churn out now. Especially after this last election cycle.

Are you familiar with Rage Against the Machine? Did you enjoy the songs/videos? Do you have a favorite song and/or album? Have you ever seen them live? If so, how was the performance? Do you feel some of the messages in their music is still relevant? What are some other bands you know that produce politically charged music and use it as a form of activism?