The Power of Three: The Odd Combination of Hip Hop and Metal


Kerry Naylor

Three hip-hop and metal collaborations.

Eli Vaglica, Staff Writer

Rap and metal have always been thought to be completely opposing genres, but is that really the case? If you’ve ever listened to bands like Public Enemy and Rage Against The Machine, then you’d know that there was a time where rap and metal artists would collaborate to make a combination of this music or a singular group would combine these two genres of music. Both the groups took a stand in fighting for justice and the destruction of the evil empire that the media and corporations had become. From the late 80s into the 90, this music wasn’t always considered decent music, but it existed. Even though not everyone knew these bands, they’d become pretty well known throughout the next century.

She Watch Channel Zero – Public Enemy

Public Enemy/YouTube

The sample of a guitar riff in this song is actually from Slayer’s “Angel of Death.” Public Enemy was a hip hop group consisting of Chuck D., Flavor Flav and other hip hop artists. What do these two completely different artists have in common? They were both signed to Def Jam records around the 80s and 90s. This wasn’t exactly a collaboration, but it would be really easy for Def Jam to make this genre match up as they would sign different genres to their label unlike labels today that are only set up to sell a certain genre of music. Modernly, Def Jam mainly signs more well-known pop and hip hop acts.

Bring The NoisePublic Enemy with Anthrax

Public Enemy/YouTube

This was a collaboration between Public Enemy and Anthrax. Anthrax was probably one of the more liked thrash metal bands on the scene, they were considered one of the Big 4 (the others being Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth.) Public Enemy was, however, a hip hop grouping. They not only produced 1 song with parts of it coming from a metal band, but they also collaborated with a metal band. Two genres that people liked or were starting to like, coming together in one song. That’s a smart move for a record label in my opinion. It would make a little more sense for these two to come together musically as thrash metal is fast and Public Enemy’s verses could be quick enough to match the beats.

Down RodeoRage Against The Machine

Rage Against the Machine/YouTube

Rodeo Drive is an upscale are in Los Angeles, this is what the song refers to by going down Rodeo Drive. The meaning is about how the poor should rise up against the rich rather that fight, kill and destroy each other and poor communities. There’s a line that goes: “So make a move and plead the fifth ’cause ya can’t plead the first.” This is about the 5th and 1st amendments because in a court you would normally plead the fifth, which states things about self-incrimination or silencing yourself so you don’t get in trouble. However, this is saying basically you should plead the fifth because you can’t tell the court your crime was freedom of expression, religion, speech or the right to peacefully assemble. That’s rough. As influential as these artists are as musicians, their contributions to the general awareness of less fortunate people will continue to change the hearts and minds of people for a long time to come.