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The New Paper Fort Minor Article

Friday, February 11, 2005

Rapper Gets Personal in Major Solo Album

December 2005

One song on Mike Shinoda's new album, The Rising Tied, hits close to home. The song, Kenji, is about the rocker-rapper's family in intern camps during World War II. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the US put Japanese-Americans (and some other Asian-Americans) in secluded camps. This was a harrowing experience for the family of 28-year-old Shinoda. The half-Japanese, half-Caucasian, told The New Paper in an e-mail interview. 

'My dad was 3 years old, and had 12 brothers and sisters. My oldest aunt was in her 20s, and had four kids. Her husband died in camp. They stayed there, captive, for the duration of the war,' he said. 'Once they were released, they returned to vandalise homes amid racial tension. That's what the song Kenji is about.' Shinoda wanted to draw on personal experiences for his first solo, hip-hop side project, Fort Minor - away from his regular duties as a rapper with rock group Linkin Park. 

Another song, Where'd You Go, is about missing someone who is always on the road, away from home and family. 'A lot of people do songs about being on the road or on tour. I wanted to do a song from the opposite side, the other perspective,' said Shinoda, who is married. 'Where'd You Go makes my wife cry every time she hears it.' He said the song was to 'let my family at home know that I know how they feel'.
Shinoda's personal life stories are enveloped in his signature biting raps and hard-pumping rock-rap music, not unlike Linkin Park's style. But he wanted Fort Minor to be distinct as well. 'The goal was to get back to my roots. Before Linkin Park, I pretty much made only hip-hop. I've learnt so much about production, song-writing and people in the last few years.' His earlier influences were rap artistes like Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and Boogie Down Productions. 

Although Shinoda is already well-known, thanks to Linkin Park's string of awards and hit singles, he said he was conscious not to make use of his recognisable name. 'I wanted to name the album rather than have my name on the cover, because I want people to focus on the music, not on me,' he said. 'Fort represents the more aggressive side of the music. Minor can mean a few things. If you're talking about music theory, minor key is darker.' 

Shinoda added that the rest of Linkin Park - Chester Bennington, Joseph Hahn, Dave Farrell, Rob Bourdon and Brad Delson - have been supportive of Fort Minor. Frontman Bennington is also working on his own solo release. He said: 'I told them I wouldn't do it if they didn't want me to. Obviously, since it's in stores right now, they approve!' However, he assured fans that the rise of Fort Minor will not mean the demise of Linkin Park. He added: 'Will Mike Shinoda be on the next Linkin Park album, the answer is yes!'

thanks to lptimes.com