Rock supergroups are a dicey proposition. For every Them Crooked Vultures, there’s a SuperHeavy (If you don’t know, don’t bother finding out). Many times in rock history, we’ve learned a band can be so much less than the sum of its parts.
Fortunately for Rageaholics eager for their favorite ’90s rap-rock group to reunite again, Prophets of Rage is different.
Comprised of Public Enemy‘s Chuck and DJ Lord, Cypress Hill‘s B-Real and Rage Against the Machine‘s Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk (3/4 of the band), Prophets played their first two shows in Los Angeles (May 31 & June 3) before hitting Brooklyn (June 4), and announced a massive 35-date tour — including a protest appearance in Cleveland on the same date as the Republican National Convention — the next day.
After witnessing their mighty power on stage, we can wholeheartedly endorse Prophets of Rage. They’re more than a trip down ’90s nostalgia lane — they’re a vital live force breathing new life and meaning into songs from three classic groups.
Here are 5 reasons you should go check them out.
1. Chuck D Is the Best Conceivable Person To Take Over RATM Songs
While a Prophets show involves a good mix of Cypress Hill, Public Enemy and RATM material, the Rage songs outnumber the PE tracks at a ratio of approximately 2:1. And considering Prophets have repeatedly made it clear there’s space open for Zack de la Rocha to join the group if he ever wants, it’s not a stretch to say this group is primarily a Rage-related project (hell, every RATM member except for the frontman is in this outfit). In a lot of ways, this is RATM reunited with a new leader. And if you had to reunite Rage and replace Zack, there is literally no better choice than Chuck D, who pioneered the furious-yet-firm hip-hop political proselytizing RATM specializes in. And no slur on de la Rocha, but Chuck D is THE master when it comes to this stuff. No, he doesn’t sound as unhinged as de la Rocha on the mic, but his flow is more commanding and masterful, so it’s a fair trade off.
2. Suddenly, the Familiar Is Fresh Again
The blessing and curse of any successful artist is that once you have material people actually give a shit about, you’re going to be playing those songs night-after-night the rest of your life. And no matter how unique a song is, it might end up feeling a little too familiar for the artist after the 200th time. With Prophets, however, that’s not the case. Chuck D and B-Real are tackling Rage songs from a fresh perspective, and the presence of these two rappers is clearly making the old Rage stuff fresh again for the RATM vets. Bassist Tim Commerford plays with a pinch-me-I’m-standing-next-to-Chuck-D glee on his face, and Morello — who set aside hard rock to focus on his political folk alter ego The Nightwatchman for the last few years — shreds like an animal unleashed every song (whether its from his band, PE or Cypress Hill). This is not the kind of energy you typically see from bands touring behind 20-to-30-year-old material.
3. Their “No Sleep Till Brooklyn/Fight the Power” Mashup
The sheer glory Prophets melding the Beastie Boys’ party-hearty guitar riff with Chuck D’s no-bullshit “Fight the Power” lyrics is a mashup that you really just have to see to believe.
4. The Crowds Are Lit
Usually when an act that dates back to the ’80s or ’90s goes on tour these days, the crowd — no matter how thrilled — greets the material with head nodding and quiet smiles. Not the case here. If you doubt that thirtysomethings can still mosh, Prophets are here to prove you wrong.
5. It’s An Election Year
It’s no coincidence that this rap-rock dream team was revealed just five months before a presidential election. And it’s no surprise that they came together in a year that’s given us the most openly racist presidential candidate from a major political party within most people’s lifetimes. The timing keeps the energy level high, and the songs seem relevant as ever. When they open their national tour the same day as the RNC in Cleveland (July 19), expect things to get interesting.
Prophets of Rage 2016 Tour Dates
July 19 – Cleveland, OH @ TBD
Aug. 19 – Fairfax, VA @ EagleBank Arena
Aug. 20 – Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion
Aug. 21 – Mansfield, MA @ Xfinity Center
Aug. 23 – Hartford, CT @ The Xfinity Theatre
Aug. 24 – Toronto, ON @ Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
Aug. 26 – Holmdel, NJ @ P.N.C. Bank Arts Center
Aug. 27 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center
Aug. 28 – Wantagh, NY @ Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
Aug. 30 – Noblesville, IN @ Klipsch Music Center
Aug. 31 – Burgettstown, PA @ First Niagara Pavilion
Sept. 1 – Clarkston, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
Sept. 3 – Tinley Park, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Sept. 4 – St. Louis, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Sept. 5 – Kansas City, MO @ Providence Medical Center Amphitheater
Sept. 7 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Sept. 10 – Auburn, WA @ White River Amphitheatre
Sept. 11 – Ridgefield, WA @ Sunlight Supply Amphitheatre
Sept. 13 – Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
Sept. 15 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Forum
Sept. 17 – Phoenix, AZ @ Ak-Chin Pavilion
Sept. 25 – Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion
Sept. 27 – Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
Sept. 29 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
Oct. 1 – Tampa, FL @ MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater
Oct. 2 – West Palm Beach, FL @ Perfect Vodka Amp
Oct. 4 – Alpharetta, GA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Oct. 5 – Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
Oct. 7 – Tulsa, OK @ BOK Center
Oct. 8 – Houston, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Oct. 9 – San Antonio, TX @ AT&T Center
Oct. 11 – El Paso, TX @ El Paso County Coliseum
Oct. 12 – Albuquerque, NM @ Isleta Amphitheatre
Oct. 14 – Las Vegas, NV @ Mandalay Bay Event Center
Oct. 16 – Chula Vista, CA @ Sleep Train Amphitheatre