In the late 90’s, early aughts the masses started to have an awakening. Pop culture had birthed a revolution that married the aggression of metal with hip hop beats and found a groove somewhere in the middle. However, while it started with bands like Rage against the Machine, who used these elements to further a political agenda and speak to a larger audience than the hardcore/metal scene could reach; we ended up with ‘Nookie” by Limp Bizkit and “Butterfly” by Crazy Town. Quite possibly two of the most moronic songs about chasing tail ever recorded. It wouldn’t be fair to say those songs, or bands ruined the genre; but the case could be made.
Otep, on the other hand, is a band fronted by a woman who is openly vegan and lesbian; pretty much turning the testosterone fueled bro-down that was Nu-Metal on its head. It’s this mixture of ideals that have kept Otep ahead of the pack when it comes to the genre. Otep came together in Los Angeles in 2000 and were offered a spot on Ozzfest before putting out a proper recording; having been spotted by the eagle eyed of the Osbourne clan: Sharon. They gigged around, paid their dues in the L.A. metal scene and wrote their debut album Sevas Tra; having earned their spot amongst the 2001 Ozzfest line-up. Much like punk rock feminist icons such as Kathleen Hanna before her Otep Shymaya has used her band and her celebrity to bring light to subjects that aren’t typical fair in the metal scene. She is a published writer, having released a book of short stories titled, “Movies in my mind”, she’s an outspoken animal activist and was a speaker at 2008 Democratic National Convention. Due to this and her outspoken stance on LGBTQ causes the band shared the spotlight at the GLAAD awards in 2010 with the likes of Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert as nominees for outstanding musical artists; an honor most metal bands can’t boast about. It really says something about a group immersed in a deeply testosterone filled genre that not only can they sustain a career by going their own way, but making a cultural impact that gets them invited to prestigious events because of their politics and ideology, not just their music.
Get into the pit, bang your head and learn a little something while you acquire that next dose of metallic dopamine release. When people have something worth while to say, you should listen.