Cover of Rage Against the Machine

From Rage Against the Machine and 40 other releases

“Wake Up” is a song by American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine. It is the seventh track from their self-titled debut album. While never released as a single, it remains a staple of their live shows and is usually played as the last song before the encore.

The opening riff of the song is reminiscent of the opening chords of the Led Zeppelin song “Kashmir”.

The lyrics discuss racism within the American government and the counter-intelligence programs of the FBI; a spoken portion of the song is taken from an actual FBI memo in which J. Edgar Hoover suggests targets for the suppression of the black nationalist movement. The song also makes references to prominent black figures targeted by the government such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., and goes as far as saying that the government arranged their assassinations.

“Wake Up” is featured in the closing credits to the 1999 film, ‘The Matrix’.


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