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“That’s rock ‘n’ roll”: Ice-T, Chuck D break down Rage Against the Machine’s Rock Hall induction

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Disney/Jennifer Pottheiser

For a class of inductees that spans country, rap, R&B, alternative and pop, it’s fitting that the lone rock band entering the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2023 is the famously genre-mixing Rage Against the Machine.

Speaking with ABC Audio on the red carpet for the November 3 induction ceremony, Public Enemy rapper Chuck D, who played with Rage members Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk in the band Prophets of Rage, remembers his reaction when he first heard the “Killing in the Name” outfit.

“Well, number one, it was the funkiest I’ve ever heard rock come so hard,” Chuck D said. “That goes to Timmy C, Timmy Commerford, for almost creating a style in bass that you’ve never heard in rock.”

“You have Zack de la Rocha‘s vocal style, and then you had … Tom Morello, who treated the guitar like a turntable. And then you had the god of hard drums, Brad Wilk, who’s totally underrated as far as his power, his speed, his relentless pursuit. And together, Rage Against the Machine is, as they say, nothing to f*** with.”

Ice-T, who inducted Rage during the ceremony, had a similar characterization of the band.

“You got two kinds of music,” Ice said. “One called pop, you make everybody happy. There’s another music, it’s called, ‘F*** you, I won’t do what you tell me.'”

“That’s rock ‘n’ roll,” he added.

Rage did not perform during the induction, but Morello, the lone member who attended, gave a speech while accepting the Rock Hall honor.

The other inductees included Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Missy Elliott, The Spinners and George Michael.

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