Rage Against the Machine – I’m Housin’

Year :
System of a Down / Bad Brains / Eric B. & Rakim

Controversial statement: Renegades, the all-covers 2000 album by Rage Against the Machine, is the band’s best work.


  • In ending their career with an album of covers, Rage effectively shut the door on after the fact critical analysis. “These are our influences. End of story.” How Rage of them.
  • Every selection on this album makes perfect sense. If you create a playlist of all the originals and then try to name a band that can somehow pull off covers of all of them, Rage Against the Machine is the only answer.
  • Thematically, it’s every bit as cohesive as a proper album. It’s a retroactive mission statement.
  • The album art is also a brilliantly twisted (and multilayered) “Cover Song” in its own right.

* * *

Rap-metal became a full fledged thing thanks to Rage. Sadly, Rage was really the only act in that style to really understand rap.

EMPD’s original version sounds almost comically dated today, but the subject matter is visceral and rugged as any anything you’re likely to come across. Rage understood this inherently.

I’m Housin’ (1988)

In covering “I’m Housin’”, Rage draws a direct parallel from the third world horror stories of their “proper” albums to EPMD’s housing projects and city streets. Both are hellish, violent, and in many of the same ways, victims of globalization, politics, and “progress.” It reminds us that there are serious social problems, not halfway around the world, but right in our own backyards. It’s not a celebration of, nor criticism, of the characters in the song. It’s a wake-up call, pure and simple.

Essential listening.

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(@YahSureMan) is the Founder of The Daily Soundtrack and Bark Attack Media. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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