Rewind: Rage Against the Machine, Renegades

[Rage Against the Machine - Renegades]

Oh, shit — the racism in this 20-year-old old review of Rage Against the Machine’s Renegades is barely contained. At the time I wrote it, I hadn’t been exposed to much hip-hop, so I took uninformed digs at the genre.

I have to cringe at the scare quote dis of Cypress Hill. My ignorant mid-20s ass would be surprised to learn I would eventually own the group’s first three albums.

And what the fuck is up with calling Afrika Bambaata’s drum machines “cheesy”? There were no other types of drum machines at the time!

See? Ignorant.

Perhaps the most egregiously racist comment in that review was the suggestion that Zach de la Rocha do something other than rap. Yes, he could be a very good punk singer, but he’s renowned for his flow. The value judgment underpinning the remark was just uncalled for.

I try to be self-deprecating these days about having rockist tendencies, but boy did I take it seriously 20 years ago. It’s appalling how seriously I took it.

Now that I own some Cypress Hill, Devo, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Minor Threat albums, I can tell I downloaded the source material for Renegades and did some half-assed A/B comparisons. I had zero appreciation for the creative license Rage took with this cover album.

Back then, I was trying to meet a self-imposed publishing schedule, and sometimes, you end up with a turd.

That review was definitely filler, and I knew I had no expertise to tackle it. But I gave it a shot anyway.

As Adam Savage said often on Mythbusters, failure is always an option.

Rewind takes a look at past reviews to see how they hold up today. The albums featured on Rewind were part of my collection, then sold for cash only to be reacquired later.

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