This is the opening track from British musical production duo Massive Attack's fifth studio album, Heligoland. The song originally featured on their 2009 EP Splitting The Atom.
The song features TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe. The collaboration with Adebimpe came about as a result of mutual admiration. Massive Attack founding member Robert "3D" Del Naja told the NME January 16, 2010: "They opened for us on a tour we did a few years ago. We eventually invited Tunde to do a couple of things. (TV on the Radio's) David Sitek came to the studio a few times too. He's a very curious, techy sort of guy, so he was checking out all our equipment."
The cover artwork for Heligoland was done by 3D and the title refers to an island in the south-eastern corner of the North Sea. He told the NME: "It's a fascinating place. It was the site of the world's largest non-nuclear bomb explosion, detonated by the British in 1947. Though according to official records that never happened."
3D explained the cover art to The Independent February 12, 2010: "The minstrel on the front cover represents this tendency to recreate a fictional reality to replace real reality. That's what's happening now. You create these talent shows and these reality TV shows and you start to replace reality with reality, but the reality you're looking at is actually manufactured.
The black and grey rainbow came about because I noticed that rainbows are popping up everywhere, all over people's advertising. It felt that in the manual for the recession someone had gone: 'Add colour to your advertising! If you can, add a rainbow! It'll cheer everyone up and they'll start spending their money again.' So that's why I thought, 'I'm gonna desaturate the rainbow and present it as it really is'. This rainbow is not going to make you happy. There is no pot of gold."
3D told The Independent: "I can relate to the lyrics in 'Pray For Rain' a lot. Lyrically, it's like a parable and it kind of reminds me a bit of Cormac McCarthy's (1985 Western novel) Blood Meridian: a kind of crazy apocalyptic Western with a sense of connection with the spiritual world as well, which I really dig."