The return of Limp Bizkit brings with it some strange, dark feelings that transport us to a strange, dark time when rock bands contained a silly amount of white dudes with dreadlocks. A time when adults with more angst than a horde of pubescent mallrats blurted things like “puh-SHOUW!” and “huh-HA,” sounding as if they were expunging a troublesome BM.
Sure, the merciless reign of rap-rock seems like ancient history, but King Korn and the dukes of rap-metal ruled the airwaves little more than a decade ago. The tribal biceps tattoos may be wrinkled and sagging now, and the spikes of hair graying, but the testosterone tune makers keep plugging away. Let’s see what the movement’s foot soldiers are up to.
Last July the godfathers of nu metal released their ninth studio album, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Korn said it themselves: They’re here to stay. And part of their staying power has to do with their early adoption of social media. That, and the fact that there will always be pimply guys with girl problems who need to vent in a totally macho way.
Remember that Ice Cube movie “The Longshots“? Dumb question, of course you don’t. Well, Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst directed it. He also helmed “The Education of Charlie Banks” starring Jesse Eisenberg. “From the man who brought you ‘Nookie‘…with Jesse Eisenberg, playing every character he’s ever played.” The movie biz(kit) must not have paid the bills, though, because the Limp is back with a new single…and it’s just as mindless as you’d expect. Which is strangely admirable.
Rage Against the Machine
Rap-rock’s resident intellectuals have reunited for various live performances since splitting up in 2000. Meanwhile, mad guitar scientist Tom Morello first joined Audioslave with the rest of Rage, then cofounded the largely unnoticed rap-rock duo Street Sweeper Social Club, all while working solo as The Nightwatchman. Meanwhile, singer Zack de la Rocha started the very Rage-copping Moog-rappers One Day As A Lion.
Kid Rock has rebranded himself as a country rocker, most notably with “All Summer Long.” The rap-rock aesthetic has no shortage of manly posturing and cockiness (emphasis on the first syllable), but to completely sully “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Werewolves of London” in one fell song takes a truly special kind of braggadocio. The kind that would lead you to title a song “Bawitdaba.”
Linkin Park started as just another band marrying clunky power chords with even clunkier rap vocals. But now they’re one of the most successful rock bands of the aughts, and musically they’ve evolved light-years ahead of the rest of their nu-metal brethren. They’ve even been called the American Radiohead, if you can believe it.
In the “misunderstood” and brooding world of rap-rock, 311 was a glimmering ray of California Nebraska sunshine. Their 10th album will be released next month, which will no doubt contain more reggae-lite and saccharine sing-rapping.
Insane Clown Posse
ICP‘s meme-tastic and unintentionally hilarious “Miracles” video brought the Gathering of the Juggalos into the national consciousness. This in turn led the Gathering’s web infomercials to spread faster than [insert fungal rash here] at the Gathering, thus creating an endless feedback loop of internet comedy gold.
Papa Roach has ditched the rap and added eyeliner and emotions, like a cute little nu-metal caterpillar changing into an emo butterfly. Lest you think they’re no longer macho enough for this list, fear not: Frontman Jacoby Shaddix’s screams are still omnipresent. (That’s right, he no longer goes by the name Coby Dick. When you’re mature enough to wear eyeliner, you’re mature enough to stop using a d*** joke as your name.)
This is the part of the list where we hit bands who dissipated into the atmosphere with the rest of rap-rock’s exhaust fumes. In July, depending on how you’re counting, no less than Kottonmouth Kings‘ 11th studio album will be released. Earth: where the combined full-length output of Jimi Hendrix Experience and Nirvana is six albums, and something called Kottonmouth Kings releases double that.
P.O.D. makes covert (and therefore wildly successful) Christian rock. Chalk it up to divine inspiration, but they’re still churning out the angriest, screamiest, rap-rockiest Jesus music out of anyone on this list.
Saliva enjoyed about three seconds of fame with “Click Click Boom” (not to be confused with P.O.D.’s “Boom“). They’re still covering microphones with plenty of saliva today. But their latest single (the aptly titled “Nothing“) shows the band trying their hand at neutered radio rock. Just be yourself, Saliva! Throw on some Adidas track pants, grab a fish-eye lens camera and do what you know (no, not meth).