House Of Blues, Chicago
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Taking on the popular “side project” concept, Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park fame has constructed a hip-hop venture under the alias Fort Minor.
As with all side projects, there’s a hurdle to cross in establishing a stand-alone group. Although Fort Minor will never overcome the tag “that dude from Linkin Park,” The Rising Tied (Machine Shop/Warner) is worthy of individual recognition.
The album is reminiscent of Linkin Park’s style with roots in rap, rock, and synths, but with an extra shot of hip-hop sequences and deeper bass lines. With the exclusion of vocal powerhouse Chester Bennington, the tracks don’t have the same aggressive nature of Linkin Park. But Shinoda’s forceful flow compensates for this, resulting in hard-hitting, intensive tracks, on which he confronts critics (“Get Me Gone,” “High Road”), calls for respect (“Remember The Name”), and shares his family past in Japanese internment camps (“Kenji”).
Shinoda collaborates with some influential members of the hip-hop community on The Rising Tied including Common, John Legend, Black Thought (The Roots), and is exec-produced by Jay-Z. Most of the songs feature members of Styles Of Beyond, who will be part of Shinoda’s onstage posse at the House Of Blues, along with Holly Brook (singer on “Where’d You Go”).
Alternative rap trio Little Brother will open. The Southern-based crew garnered much attention after trackmaster 9th Wonder produced tracks for Jay-Z and Destiny’s Child. But their major label debut, The Minstrel Show (Atlantic), showcases all three as highly capable MCs. Also opening will be the ever-changing roster of supergroup Demigodz.
– Jill Haverkamp
Click here to download Fort Minor’s “Remember The Name.”
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