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21 Artists Indebted to Rage Against the Machine

When was the last time an album made you want to start a revolution? Odds are, if it was a record that came out in the last two decades, it owes a debt to Rage Against the Machine, who combined mammoth, ass-shaking riffage a la Led Zeppelin and Funkadelic with Public Enemy’s urgent, in-your-face political rap. The sum transcended its parts, due in part to the band’s, well, rage — a violent storm powered by the napalm of Tom Morello’s guitar and Zack de la Rocha’s verses. The band implicated each and every listener in the injustices of the world and commanded them to take action.

Rage dissolved in 2000 when de la Rocha quit, and the hole they left wasn’t cultural as much as it was musical. Of all the bands that professed to be directly influenced by them, did any of them sound as dangerous? Were any as willing to so blatantly back political causes? In some ways, the void feels as wide today as it did then, but there are artists – rappers, punks, folk singer-songwriters and others – who take the danger, the outspokenness, and the unapologetic political anger to new and different places. Check it out in the gallery above — our list of 21 artists who proudly carry the revolutionary torch Rage Against the Machine passed along.

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