Voice Of The Voiceless

Album: The Battle Of Los Angeles (1999)
Play Video


  • This song is about Mumia Abu-Jamal, a journalist and former black panther convicted of killing the Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in a 1981 altercation. Abu-Jamal, who was shot in the stomach, was sentenced to death but the death sentence was overturned in 2001.
  • Abu-Jamal was a radio host in Philadelphia, where he was referred to as "The Voice Of The Voiceless" for his exposure of issues in poor and underrepresented communities.
  • The song prompted police protests as cops objected to Rage supporting a man convicted of killing one of their own. During a show in Philadelphia, Rage introduced a song with, "Good evening, We want to just quickly send a nice friendly message to uh, the fraternal order of police in Philadelphia. Here's something nice and friendly, and it goes something like this..." They proceeded to play "F--- the Police" by NWA. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Rory - Philadelphia, PA, for above 2
  • Rage guitarist Tom Morello visited Abu-Jamal in jail, and used the band's website to rally support for him.
  • "And Orwell's hell, a terror era coming true. But this little brother's watching you too." This is a reference to the classic George Orwell novel 1984, where the state is basically this unseen authoritarian force that controls everything and everybody. The term Orwell uses for the government is "Big Brother" (which is still used as a metaphor for government over 50 years after he wrote the book in 1948). So "little brother" in that lyric would be the average citizen, who's aware of the government's abuse/authority and knows it's wrong. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Tim - Pittsburgh, PA

Comments: 8

  • Dan C Pants from Springfield, PaThe smell or "smoking gun" test to see if a gun had been recently fired is extremely subjective (instead the police relied on the spent shell caseings in mumia's gun and the 4 eye witnesses that saw him do it). The bullet was confirmed in court by a ballistics to be a .38 that matched the type of gun mumia was found with. The person who originally extracted the bullet thought it was a .44 because it was a very powerful hollow point .38 (why would a pacisfist mumia carry a gun with such a deadly ammo?) And checking a person's hand to see if they recently fired a gun only works if it is down immediatly after the shooting, and any type of movement can deem the test ineffective (like when mumia resisted arrest).

    Try actually reading the trial transcripts before supporting a CONVICTED cop killer.
  • Ryan from Philadelphia, PaIt was proven that Faulkner was shot with a .38 not a .44. And maybe you are forgetting that there are 5 eyewitnesses to the murder.
  • David from Manchester, EnglandNote for Tom, Northport, NY:

    The original suspicion was that a .44 calibre was used, guessed by the person who extracted the bullet, not a ballistics expert. Proper ballistics tests confirmed a .38 calibre was used to kill Daniel Faulkner.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mumia
  • Julien from Carvin, FranceMumia Abdul Jamal is a "citizen" of the Paris city.

    also a street hold the name of Mumia Abu Jamal in St Denis (france)
  • Tom from Northport, NyThe police never even tested Abu-Jamal's gun to see if it had recently been fired. They never tested his hands to see if he had fired a gun. They also never confirmed that Mumia's gun was the fatal weapon.
  • Tom from Northport, NyThe policeman that Mumia Abu-Jamal was acused of killing was shot with a 44 caliber gun, Mumia's gun that he was licenced to carry, was a 38 caliber
  • Vince from Philadelphia, PaJamal never actually won a Peabody award. Wikipedia has a whole article about him. His work was sent in but he never won. He worked as a taxi driver at the time of the murder
  • Jamie Jay from West Oxfordshire, EnglandThe guitar at the beginning sounds like bagpipes (I probably spelt that wrong but hey!)
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Timothy B. Schmit

Timothy B. SchmitSongwriter Interviews

The longtime Eagle talks about soaring back to his solo career, and what he learned about songwriting in the group.


RamonesFact or Fiction

A band so baffling, even their names were contrived. Check your score in the Ramones version of Fact or Fiction.

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete BlondeSongwriter Interviews

The singer/bassist for Concrete Blonde talks about how her songs come from clairvoyance, and takes us through the making of their hit "Joey."

Song Titles That Inspired Movies

Song Titles That Inspired MoviesSong Writing

Famous songs that lent their titles - and in some cases storylines - to movies.

Chris Isaak

Chris IsaakSongwriter Interviews

Chris tells the story of "Wicked Game," talks milkshakes and moonpies at Sun Records, and explains why women always get their way.

Richard Butler of The Psychedelic Furs

Richard Butler of The Psychedelic FursSongwriter Interviews

Psychedelic Furs lead singer Richard Butler talks about their first album since 1991 and explains what's really going on in "Pretty In Pink."