Written by: Andrew Kirkpatrick
Florida MC Denzel Curry has dropped a cover of Rage Against the Machine’s iconic “Bulls on Parade” via the excellent YouTube channel, Triple J that’s already racked up a couple million views in just a few days. Needless to say, the attention is well earned.
There are a few keys to success here. On the one hand, Denzel Curry is one of the best young rappers in the game, carrying with him a level of potential that recalls the early days of J. Cole or Kendrick. On the other hand, Rage Against the Machine’s importance and greatness has become evident to the point of near-undeniability in the years since they ended their run.
Most importantly their sounds align perfectly. Curry, already clearly inspired by punk and metal, captures Zack de la Rocha’s trademark high-pitched seethe in terms of sound and, most critically, sheer commanding presence.
Curry and the backing band stay faithful to the original until, in place of Tom Morello’s faux-turntablist solo, Zel starts spitting one of his verses off of Taboo’s “Sirens.” And it works beautifully. A few of the bars Denzel spits—“Birds chirpin’, dogs barkin’, kids missin’, milk cartons / Soul dark as black markets, wars startin’, more Spartans,”—mirror de la Rocha’s second verse in terms of content and structure: “Weapons, not food, not homes, not shoes / Not need, just feed the war cannibal animal.”
I can only imagine that, somewhere, Zack de la Rocha has silently given his approval, and the mere fact that I can make that assumption is the strongest praise I can give.