We Moved! WE MOVED

Boston Herald Fort Minor Article

Friday, February 11, 2005

Fort Minor Drops Major-League Debut: Linkin Park’s Shinoda Hits Next Level with Hip-Hop Project

February 2006
After moving more than 35 million albums as the co-frontman for Linkin Park, Mike Shinoda had enough connections to buy himself a rap career. He could have hired Dr. Dre to produce beats, Kool G Rap to write rhymes and MTV to promote his Fort Minor project.

But instead he relied on just one A-list resource: himself.

“I knew I could call people I don’t know and go the route of getting the big names and the crazy producers, but that’s not what I wanted to do,” he said on the phone from his L.A. home. “I basically just called up my friends.”

Luckily, those friends include esteemed rappers Common, Tak and Ryu from Styles of Beyond and Black Thought from the Roots. Their input plus Shinoda’s do-it-yourself production and tenacity yielded “The Rising Tied,” Fort Minor’s highly dynamic debut.

“My goal with the record was to make an organic hip-hop album,” he said. “I wanted it to be based in more traditional songwriting and hand-played instruments. A lot of times when people do that they lose the big sound of hip-hop records, so the challenge was making songs with live instruments but maintaining that big sound.”

Shinoda brings that roof-raising sound to the Avalon Ballroom tonight. His last Greater Boston gig was with Linkin Park at Gillette Stadium. But just because Fort Minor doesn’t rock mammoth venues doesn’t mean Shinoda tones down his live antics.

“We have 11 people onstage. It’s a huge show,” he said. “Even if we sell out every seat in every venue, we’re still not going to make any money on these shows. We’re bringing an arena-sized stage show to a small-capacity club.”

So far, Shinoda says Fort Minor’s tour and album have attracted a wide gamut of fans.

“A lot of rock kids like the Fort Minor stuff because lyrically it doesn’t do the things that a lot of mainstream hip-hop is doing,” he said. “The hip-hop fans like it because it is an alternative to everything else that’s out there. I don’t dislike what thuggish hip-hop does and the things they talk about, but I wanted to make a record that serves as an alternative.”
Going solo was a release for Shinoda. Though he maintains his spot in Linkin Park, hip-hop has been his Plan A since day one.

“I used to do music like this before Linkin Park,” he said. “ ‘The Rising Tied’ was really my record. There are a number of songs on it that are more personal. A song like ‘Kenji,’ which is about my family’s experience during internment during World War II, is my story. I think it would be inappropriate for me to put that on a Linkin Park record.”

Besides lyrical content, another shift for Shinoda entailed composing the beats. A classically trained pianist and all-around musician since childhood, he easily adapted to the numerous live instruments he played on “Tied.”

Shinoda looked to rap music’s reigning authority to ensure that his experimental tracks were on point. The album was executive produced by Jay-Z, with whom Shinoda had split vocal duties on Linkin Park’s “Collision Course.”

“Jay actually didn’t write anything on the record, but I wanted him to get involved because he’s got that expert ear,” he said.

With Jay-Z’s endorsement and Shinoda’s passion for the boom-bap, Fort Minor was bound to make major moves from its inception.

“When do you ever see anybody from another genre be able to break into hip-hop?” Shinoda asked? “It doesn’t really happen, because you have to really love and understand hip-hop to make it work.”

thanks to lptimes.com