A wave of rap-rock is rising -- and it’s far removed from the boorish, white-washed strain that dogged the genre’s turn-of-the-millennium heyday led by acts like Limp Bizkit. Hyro the Hero, a black artist from Houston, spent 11 weeks on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart in late 2018 with “Bullet,” a cry against police brutality. Fire From the Gods, an Austin mixed-race metal band, worked rap and antiracist messaging into two recent albums for hard-rock standby Rise Records.
But no act is better capitalizing on this trend than Los Angeles-based FEVER 333, whose incendiary single “Made an America” recently spent 20 consecutive weeks on Mainstream Rock Songs and earned a Grammy nomination for best rock performance. The song’s lyrics attack state-sanctioned violence (“Cop cars, true killers and they still at large”), and its video shows frontman (and director) Jason Aalon Butler forced into shackled labor and a minstrel-like song and dance while a white audience looks on. (The 3s in the band’s name represent C, the third letter in the alphabet, and stand for community, charity and change.)