Hip Hop Fan Freaks Out When He Hears Rage Against the Machine’s Debut Album for the Very First Time

I consider myself lucky to have been a child of the nineties. As you know from Portlandia’s tribute to the decade of slack, it was a time when “people were content to be unambitious and sleep to 11 and just hang out with their friends.” Start a band, start a t-shirt company, build a website, go to clown school, or don’t, whatever, no pressure…. In contrast to the hypercompetitive, social media-saturated, precarious gig economy lives of harried, overworked, underpaid millennials, we had it pretty easy. But we knew things were poised to explode. At the same time, it was a decade of cultural passion for revolution, peace, and justice—conscious hip hop, Riot Grrrl, Lilith Fair, and Rage Against the Machine, maybe the most radically uncompromising band since Crass. The rap/rock/metal hybrid seamlessly blended the revolutionary funk and political fury of Public Enemy with the virtuoso riffage of Eddie Van Halen.

I only wish that, like the guy in the video above, I could hear them again for the first time, blasting from the car stereo, blowing my mind every few seconds. How is it that this guy had never heard Rage’s incredible self-titled debut? For one thing, I guess, he probably hadn’t even been born when it came out in 1992.

For another, he’s a hip-hop head who didn’t listen to rock and metal until recently, when, as his YouTube channel documents, he decided to start sampling bands in his car and uploading his real-time reactions. How very 2018. He’s exposed himself to some great stuff—Megadeth, Deftones, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Motörhead. He’s sampled Audioslave, guitarist Tom Morello’s post-Rage supergroup. And some other bands I won’t comment on.

He also put together a mixtape of metal he thinks would cross over to his hip hop friends. Unsurprisingly, many of the bands he recommends pull heavily from Rage Against the Machine, who themselves pulled from the Beastie Boys, AnthraxSuicidal TendenciesFaith No More…. Rage didn’t come from nowhere—we’d heard conscious rap and metal meet before, even just the previous year when Anthrax and Public Enemy put out their version of “Bring the Noise.” The late eighties/early nineties produced organic rap/metal crossovers before the problematic advent of “nu metal.” But when YouTuber YouYouYou!!! hits pause at 3:38 and screams “WHAT IS THIS! WHAT IS THIS!” I relate. It was more or less my reaction when I first heard “Know Your Enemy,” “Take the Power Back,” and “Killing in the Name” blast from the tape deck. YouYouYou!!! takes recommendations. I recommend he work his way through all of Rage’s catalog.

via Twisted Sifter

Related Content:

Hear a 4 Hour Playlist of Great Protest Songs: Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Bob Marley, Public Enemy, Billy Bragg & More

What Makes This Song Great?: Producer Rick Beato Breaks Down the Greatness of Classic Rock Songs in His New Video Series

A Massive 800-Track Playlist of 90s Indie & Alternative Music, in Chronological Order

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

by | Permalink | Comments (19) |

Support Open Culture

We’re hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture’s educational mission, please consider making a donation. We accept PayPal, Venmo (@openculture), Patreon and Crypto! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (19)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • BW says:

    He already did all the Rage albums.

  • Moonchild1084 says:

    That was totally awesome watching that video. It reminds me of the excitement I felt when I first started listening to metal and rap when I was in middle school. Being my an 80s baby and a child of the 90s myself I can totally relate to everything you described about the decade of the 90s. Reading this made me miss those days. But hey I still have all my favorite music from then that I listen to pretty much daily. I also found a new YouTuber I will be subscribing too. I got excited watching him get pumped up by such an awesome band like Rage and being I’m a huge metal head myself I have quite a few suggestions for him. I wonder if he has heard Slipknot’s older stuff especially there first album. I have a feeling he may like “Spit It out”.

  • Barry Lam says:

    This is delightful Josh, so happy you shared this. I’d love millennial to discover Rage. Excuse while I go down Rodeo with my shotgun.

  • Rogier van Vugt says:

    At 1:04 in the ‘sleep now in the fire’ video is a man holding up a sign ‘Trump for president’…
    Talk about prophetic.

  • Nancy says:

    Loved it. Laughed so hard!

  • Katy says:

    Dude has got to cover KMFDM! Dogma kicks some serious ass!

  • True says:

    KMFDM is awesome, for sure. That album (XTORT) in particular… and Symbols and Nihil

  • Davey says:

    How 2018. Lols, this video has been out since last year. Get with it now.

  • Johan Engström says:


    Funkadelic – Maggot brain album. I think you will love it.

  • Dale Berkebile says:

    Watching you listen to this album for the first time gave me the chills. If you do not get this reaction where it blows you mind then we probably are not going to be good friends. It is such a powerful album and your response was PERFECT.

    This is a “movement”. It is “art”. It is some Public Enemy type-shit. HA!

    You just made my day!

  • Eddie says:

    I love honest first impressions like this. Thanks for sharing!

  • Danny Meeker says:

    He’s listening to the debut album from Rage…I liked the Evil Empire LP more, though.

  • John Izzolino says:

    Yo… Zak DeLaRocha has a song w/ KRS-1 that is 🔥🔥🔥🔥… If you like his lyrics, check it out

  • Jacob says:

    And I would like to add some credits to “Mental Floss For The Globe” from Urban Dance Squad, 1989. My first metal/rock/rap sensation.

  • CLO says:

    Whoa….watching him discovering RATM took me back some. I first heard them back in ’93 on a college station, WSOU, while driving to a decent paying customer service job for a Japanese copier machine company. Nice benefits, bonuses, and everything. Within three years I had quit with barely a week’s notice and went to grad school for theatre. I’m not saying Rage was the reason, but I believe them to be a contributing factor.

  • Chris McKenzie says:

    It’s called Punk Rock Not metal! If you like Rage you should love the Bad Brains!

  • Tammie Parrish says:

    I just happened upon this. I’m a Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, AC/DC etc… fan so I just got turned on to this myself as I watched this guy diggin it hard. I gotta say, I enjoyed it just as much! I’m gonna listen to the whole CD! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing him totally eating it up!

  • Andy “Poppa Bear” says:

    Watching your reactions to hearing Rage for the first time made me want to share this music with my own children. I grew up in the late 70’s and early 80’s and lived with the music. I can recall hearing some of the bands that have been referenced in the comments above for the first time while driving as well. I’m not sure that my reaction was near as good as his though. I thought the lyrics reminded me of PE as he mentioned, but also gave me the NWA vibe as well.
    I will be looking for more of his videos so I can see what else I need to turn my kids onto as well. Songs that I know, that my kids may have never experienced as of yet. Mad respect to you for sharing this video with me!
    Again just thinking about this … I am now recalling that first weekend that MTV went live on cable for the first time! A couple of us gathered in a buddy’s house and stayed there from Friday afternoon until we had to leave for school Monday morning. Ahhh, the music has never been the same after that first weekend! Back when MTV was actually Music Television …. how I miss those days!

  • Seahawk says:

    What a joy that was. I felt the exact same way when I first heard it.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.