Rage Against The Machine - Killing In The Name
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Rage Against the Machine first released Killing in the Name in November 1992. its politically charged lyrics have been used as a protest anthem for people around the world, especially when protesting against abuses of power. Since its first release, Killing in the Name has been a popular song and even reached the coveted number one spot on the Christmas UK music charts in 2009. Thanks to its recognizable, catchy nature and its legendary status in rebellious subcultures and counterculture movements, a Killing in the Name ringtone will help set you apart while earning the respect of the people around you.
About Rage Against the Machine
In 1991, long before ringtones were a thing, Rage Against the Machine was founded in Los Angeles, California. The band consists of vocalist Zack de la Rocha, Tim Commerford on bass, guitarist Tom Morello, and Brad Wilk, the drummer. They've been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame four times between 2017 and 2021.
Rage Against the Machine (or RATM) released their first album in 1992. The self-titled work proved to be a big success, earning a spot on Rolling Stone's 2003 list of the best albums of all time. Their follow-up albums Evil Empire and The Battle of Los Angeles both topped the Billboard charts and were big hits among fans. RATM's popularity and influence have been cited as one of the contributing factors in the rise of nu-metal in the 1990s and 2000s.
Killing in the Name was released on Rage Against the Machine's self-titled debut album in 1992. For ringtones of songs off of their other albums, be sure to check out our exhaustive catalog of rock and heavy metal ringtones!
RATM began experiencing creative differences in 2000. Vocalist Zack de la Rocha quietly began a side solo project, while the rest of the band teamed with Chris Cornell to form the group Audioslave. Audioslave disbanded in 2007, prompting Rage Against the Machine to tour together for four years before disbanding again in 2011. As of 2019, Rage Against the Machine has reunited and is once more planning a series of world tours, although the COVID pandemic has complicated matters.
About Killing in the Name
Killing in the Name has served as a protest anthem for counterculture movements around the world for years. In fact, it's so popular that it's often used by people who disagree with Rage Against the Machine's political views. In recent years, social media has been filled with examples of people being yelled at by RATM members and fans for using the song in their rallies and public appearances.
Killing in the Name features extremely catchy, repetitive lyrics. The verses focus on the idea that the establishment and government are populated by individuals who participate in racist and hateful activities. The pre-chorus emphasizes the idea that the government is in charge and that it makes the rules, placing individuals under its control. When combined with the concept of racist and hateful individuals in governments and police forces, it paints a picture of a tyrannical government that protects its own hate via corrupt policies. The chorus brings the ideas together with a slight twist, referencing how putting on a badge (or uniform, or taking public office) "justifies" the actions of the badge wearer (or office holder). Finally, the outro is the singer chanting a slogan of resistance, punctuated by an expletive at the start of each repetition. When combined with the ideas of the rest of the song, it's a sharp critique of government and police use of policy and force to temper public criticism and infringe on individual rights.
The Rodney King riots were the immediate inspiration for Killing in the Name's political lyrics. The controversial beating of a black suspect by white Los Angeles police department officers sparked unrest and public outcry. After the officers involved were acquitted of wrongdoing, LA erupted into violence and unrest for several days. The lyrics' direct references to racism, badges, and police officers all stem from this conflict. They're often interpreted as metaphors, however, as this allows the song to resonate with political movements around the world, especially those that focus on stopping the abuse of power by authority figures.
Each section of Killing in the Name has only one or two unique lines. These lines are repeated many times with small variations, making Killing in the Name very easy to sing along to. It's a perfect ringtone because of this, as everyone (including you) will get to enjoy singing along with the song in their head. While Killing in the Name makes heavy use of curse words, these explicit utterances don't occur until quite late in the song, so you'll get to maintain your punk street cred at the office without subjecting your co-w0rkers to F-bombs.
Killing in the Name is played in drop-D tuning on a Fender Telecaster. It was famously written by guitarist Tom Morello while he was in the middle of a guitar lesson. He came up with the riff on the spot, paused the lesson, recorded the riff, and then resumed teaching his student about drop-D. At the time, neither of them had any idea that the song would be so popular, nor that people would be searching for it and other Rage Against the Machine ringtones three decades later.
The ending chant of the song, "f-you, I won't do what you tell me," has been performed live on television at least once with no censoring of the expletive. While the band has been warned to not curse, the chant serves as an informative message to TV producers, censoring organizations, and those who advocate for anti-profanity measures in media. Zack de la Rocha will not do what you tell him. This sort of rebellious spirit makes Killing in the Name a perfect ringtone for anyone who's a punk at heart.