Yes, the dude from the rap-rock fusion group Linkin Park can rap. Not only does he showcase his rhyming ability on his solo project, The Rising Tied, but also breathes a fresh breathe of air into a music genre craving new blood. In addition to proving yet another Caucasian male can spit, he further cements his place as one of the most creative new producers in the hip-hop game. His label, Machine Shop Records, is a direct hint at the very type of sound his style brings. The industrial resonance of his beats makes his material attractive to consumers who enjoy material for both the attractive sound and absolute breadth.
With limited guest spots (Common, John Legend and Black Thought of The Roots) the album thoroughly remains a bridge for Shinoda to showcase his talents instead of the industries finest MC’s. The record’s finest moments arrive early on the first half of the album. He exclaims “Right Now,” a passionate track which reminds us all there is yet another day in life to come: “ Tomorrow I'll be gone I don't know when I'll be back / But in this world everything can change just like that.” On “Feel Like Home” – a DJ Hahn influenced joint– Shinoda and Styles of Beyond begin a journey through life as they intricately advocate why the commodity of comfort is so important to maintain. A cut as addictive as the nicotine product itself, “Cigarettes,” is a cold-hearted plea to stop believing everything you hear. All three songs are delivered with both powerful lyrics and enough emotion to get across the message each holds.
With not much to dislike other than the follow-up single “Petrified,” and the abruptly short battle-rap interlude from Celph-Titled, the album as a whole brings high quality satisfaction. Fort Minor’s equation for success is simple: “This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill / Fifteen percent concentrated power of will / Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain / And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!” Trust us Mike, we’ll remember.