When rap-rock supergroup Prophets of Rage officially announced its lineup on Tuesday, as rumored, one name was conspicuously missing: Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de La Rocha. In his former band, the fiery MC was the center of attention, but ever since RATM originally disbanded in 2000, his output has been sparse. While guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk went on to make three albums in six years with Audioslave, and Morello launched his Nightwatchman project, the world still waits for De La Rocha’s full-length statement as a non-Rage artist.
As rumors of a De La Rocha solo album swirled, RATM reunited in 2007, playing 50 shows in four years, including massive performances such as a Coachella headlining slot and the free ‘Battle of Britain’ show in London’s Finsbury Park. During that time, De La Rocha said, “I think our relationship now is better than it’s ever been.” RATM thrived off that energy until July 30th, 2011, when they played their final show to date at the L.A. Coliseum.
Outside of Rage, One Day as a Lion – a stripped-down collaboration with drummer Jon Theodore – has been De La Rocha’s highest-profile project, resulting in a thunderous EP that dropped amid the RATM reunion in 2008. (Commerford told Rolling Stone in 2015 that the MC had been “working his ass off” on a follow-up, but no further details have emerged.) Otherwise, De La Rocha has remained strangely elusive, popping up only occasionally to work with artists like DJ Shadow, Saul Williams and Run the Jewels. Now that he’s staying on the sidelines while his bandmates revive their incendiary songs with help from Chuck D and B-Real during a politically fraught election year, the mystique surrounding De La Rocha has only intensified. As we await official word on the rap-rock luminary’s next move, here’s a breakdown of his activities outside of RATM.