Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda Is Set to Debut Hip-Hop Side Project Fort Minor
Fort Minor's Debut, "The Rising Tied," Features Common, Black Thought, John Legend, and Other Special Guests
LOS ANGELES--Apr 26, 2005 -- Multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist Mike Shinoda will be releasing his highly anticipated side project Fort Minor later this summer. Shinoda, the producer and beat-maker behind Jay-Z's and Linkin Park's "Collision Course," sees Fort Minor as an extension of who he is as a musician, producer and visual artist: "I did nothing but hip-hop before Linkin Park started, and haven't gotten a chance to get back to those roots until now. I started casually working on this project a year ago, and it felt like a floodgate opened -- I couldn't stop writing. Once I started playing the songs for people, everyone kept telling me, 'You need to make an album out of this!'"
And so he did. Titled "The Rising Tied," the album is set for a late summer 2005 release on Machine Shop Recordings/Warner Bros. Records. Although produced entirely by Shinoda, Fort Minor's debut is the product of extensive collaboration. For starters, the Linkin Park MC enlisted the guidance of hip-hop giant Jay-Z. As the album's executive producer, Jay-Z is helping to oversee the album's creation. "We have such a great working relationship, having his opinion has been invaluable for me throughout the process," shares Shinoda. "Jay's got a great way of making suggestions while letting the artist keep their creative control and momentum."
Additional backing comes from a strong collective of vocal contributors. "In developing this project, I've been fortunate to be able to work exclusively with friends -- other artists whose talent I respect and who share [with me] a creative vision," says Shinoda. One of the first MCs he spoke with was Common: "I remember asking him about doing a song on the record -- I started playing what I had done so far, and after every track, he said, 'I want to be on that one!'" The excitement about the resulting collaborations ultimately inspired the album's title. Shinoda adds, "From the well-known artists on the album, like Black Thought and John Legend, to the up-and-comers, everyone is performing at the very top level. They are all so hungry and excited for what the future brings with this album. That's why I decided to name the record 'The Rising Tied.'"
The 14-track effort, currently being completed in Los Angeles, pairs this lyrical diversity with innovative instrumentation. "I wanted to make sure this album has a unique identity," explains Shinoda. "Part of that identity is an organic sound -- less keyboard, more instruments." To that end, Shinoda wrote and played virtually every note on the album, giving it a thick, rhythmic sound that's been driving the music from day one.
Having worked on the album for almost a year, Shinoda is eager to unleash the results. "My band-mates [in Linkin Park] have encouraged me to share this music with the world," says Shinoda. "And now that the record is almost finished, I can't wait."