11. Zach de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine.

Zacarías Manuel “Zack” de la Rocha (born January 12, 1970) is an American musician,poetrapper and activist best known as the vocalist and lyricist of Rage Against the Machine. While attending junior high school, de la Rocha became involved in the punk scene and played guitar for a band called Juvenile Expression with Tim Commerford. His interest in bands like The ClashSex Pistols, and Bad Religion turned into an appreciation for other bands like Minor ThreatBad Brains, and The Teen Idles. Soon after entering high school, Zack joined the straight edge band Hardstance. De la Rocha and Hardstance bassist Mark Hayworth eventually formed the hardcore band Inside Out, which gained a large national underground following. They released a single record, No Spiritual Surrender, on Revelation Records in 1990 before breaking up. In de la Rocha’s words, Inside Out was “about completely detaching ourselves from society to see ourselves as…as spirits, and not bowing down to a system that sees you as just another pebble on a beach. I channeled all my anger out through that band.”[4][5] After Inside Out broke up, he embraced hip hop and began freestyling at local clubs, where he met Tom Morello and Brad Wilk. Eventually, de la Rocha’s Juvenile Expression bandmate Commerford joined them and Rage Against the Machine was formed.

__zackRage-Against-The-Machine

Rage Against the Machine was on the main stage at Lollapalooza in 1993 and was one of the most politically charged bands ever to receive extensive airplay from radio and MTV. De la Rocha became one of the most visible champions of left-wing political causes around the world while advocating in favour of Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal, and supporting the Zapatista movement in Mexico. He spoke on the floor of the UN, testifying against the United States and its treatment of Abu-Jamal. Rage’s second and third albums peaked at number one in the United States, but did not result in the political action de la Rocha had hoped for. He became increasingly restless and undertook collaborations with artists such as KRS-OneChuck D, and Public Enemy

The best Rage Against the Machine songs showcase the band’s unique ability to deftly mix rap and rock to deliver music of the most powerful kind: politically charged, pointed and with a purpose. Frontman Zack de la Rocha’s venom and vitriol was wrapped around a message, and he was often seen performing maniacally, with his signature dreads flailing around his head, while Tom Morello’s guitar functioned like a turntable, thanks to whammy bars and wah-wahs. The rhythm section of bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk added some bluesy and jazzy heft. All those factors combined were what made the music so explosive and incendiary.

To celebrate his birthday here’s my Top 10 Rage Against Songs.

10. Freedom

9.  Testify

8.  Bombtrack

7. People of The Sun

6. Renegades of Funk

5. Sleep Now In The Fire

4. Guerilla Radio

3. Bulls of Parade

2. Know Your Enemy

1. Killing In The Name

— images from diaryofa3rdperson.blogspot.com and outoforder.com words: from many sources