Borderline Latin: Rage Against The Machine

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Borderline Latin is an exploration of the influence of Latin music in styles, places and rhythms beyond its traditional borders, and of different types of cross-pollination between Latin music and other musical creatures. Each week, we will feature the works of a ‘non-Latin’ artist via song or musical style whose rhythm, themes, melodic inflections or influences have earned it the name of Borderline Latin.


By mixing fierce politics with hip hop, powerful metal riffs and rap, Rage Against the Machine carried on a violent takeover of the 1990s. It took them only three albums to cover the entire decade; by the year 2000, shortly after releasing Battle of Los Angeles, their last original studio album, the band had broken up. But that didn’t stop them from releasing the now legendary video The Battle of Mexico City, recorded during their 1999 concert at the Palacio de los Deportes.

RATM’s myth stayed alive during the early 2000’s, with a few releases and their members going to separate projects –basically, Zach de la Rocha’s solo career and Audioslave. The big news came in 2007, when they reunited to perform in Coachella. Since then, they have been performing together on an ongoing basis. Memorable gigs include a concert at the Hollywood Palladium to boycott Arizona’s infamous anti-immigrant law in 2010, and last year at their own LA Rising festival, where they shared the stage with Monterrey’s El Gran Silencio.

Zack de la Rocha’s Hispanic roots are key to the sound and the spirit of RATM –de la Rocha’s family is Mexican, for real: he’s like the opposite of Mitt Romney. More than simple left wing politics, RATM is about true Revolución. The band famously supported the Zapatista movement in the ’90s; their rage against Arizona’s law was unsurprising. And they’re getting ever closer to Latino artists, too. Rumor has it that One Day as a Lion, de la Rocha’s solo project, will be part of the lineup of an upcoming, brand new festival that will be heavily loaded with Latin artists, later this year. Is that why Coachella’s lineup looks so depleted? I’ll keep you posted about this. In the mean time, here’s the UK’s 2009 Christmas number one hit:

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For comments and suggestions, please contact me at: For more info on my “Borderline” works, visit Borderline Projects.