The Rising Tied by Fort Minor

 

Mike Shinoda can rap. No question about that. If you don’t believe it, give The Rising Tied a spin. 16 tracks long, this was Mike’s side project between two Linkin Park albums, 2003’s Meteora and 2007’s Minutes to Midnight.

 

The Mike Shinoda on Fort Minor is vastly different from the Mike we’ve known on Linkin Park. This is essentially a hip-hop album, with little or no rock elements in the music. That sets it apart from any Linkin Park album right away. There is also a significant presence of underground hip-hop artists on many of the tracks on this record including Black Thought, Styles of Beyond, John Legend, Ryu, Tak and even Mr. Hahn among others. These artists add in their own unique style to the tracks, yet don’t eclipse Shinoda at all. It is very easy to distinguish Mike’s voice as he’s white and there are no traces of any local accent or anything like that. The words are so clear that you won’t miss anything.

 

Introduction featuring Jay-Z sets up the tone for the rest of the album. There are a few tracks on the first half of the record that are sure to get you in the groove right away with their crisp, powerful beats, Remember the Name and Petrified among them. Right Now and Where’d You Go, also on the first half are softer tracks yet manage to keep the momentum of the album going. Featured as guest vocalist on Where’d You Go is Holly Brook, not someone you’d expect to feature on a hip-hop record.

 

Mike is a great storyteller. Kenji, which in my opinion is one of the best songs I have heard anywhere is about his family’s experiences during World War II. His family happens to be of Japanese descent and their story is very touching and translates well into the track. Some other tracks have their mini story lines too, like the concept of urban life in Right Now and a message to his detractors in High Road, where he describes the criticism he received for 2004’s Collision Course, the Grammy winning mash up of Linkin Park’s and Jay-Z’s music. High Road is a fantastic example of the unique, electronic beats Mike has brought to the table for this record and also contains a little of the rock influence from his Linkin Park roots. As with any hip-hop record, you would expect to see a DJ featured in the album credits. DJ Cheapshot does the turntables on this record and compliments Mike’s beats rather well. Check out Feel Like Home and In Stereo, where the turntables and the associated scratching are closer to the front than on the other tracks. The final song on the album, Slip Out the Back features Linkin Park’s Mr. Hahn on the turntables.

 

The album also has many more gems, especially in songs such as Cigarettes, which talks about the similarities between the cigarette industry and the hip-hop industry. Due to this rather strong message, Mike had expressed his hesitation over critics’ potential reaction to such a track. The background effects and the subtle yet booming beat make it an enjoyable listen anyway. Another great song is Red to Black, which is a story about a teenager who has come from a broken home and has gotten into alcohol, drugs and the like. Pretty cliche, but Mike, Tak and Ryu pull it off really well. The melody is almost soothing, in fact.

 

16 tracks is just right. It neither keeps the album too short nor too long, especially considering that there are a couple of interludes. Get me Gone  is a short interview about a label’s reaction to Linkin Park before they put out Hybrid Theory. The Battle is a freestyle rap verse though raw in audio quality as compared to the other tracks, which are slick and top notch. The Battle segues onto the album closer, Slip Out the Back. It is the perfect song for the album closer, slowly building in intensity and letting the electronica closing the song out.

 

Overall, The Rising Tied is very entertaining from start to finish and there are some very good rap melodies in there. Remember The Name with it’s powerful beats and synths is one of the tracks that will have you hooked. True, there are some passable songs like Back Home and In Stereo but they don’t drastically affect the flow of the album too much. Though it is probably because of them that I’ve given the album 4 stars and not 5. The bonus tracks on the special and tour editions are studio releases found on their previously released We Major mixtape. The album art is from Mike’s diamonds, clubs, hearts, spades art gallery. Yeah, Mike happens to be a talented artist too.

 

Most importantly, this is not your ordinary side project which has your member from a big band put his photo on the
cover and release a bunch of tracks that hinge on the band’s popularity. The music does the talking on The Rising Tied and the equation is pretty simple. If you enjoy hip-hop, rap and electronica you might like this album. Linkin Park fans, if you liked Reanimation, the vibe is pretty similar here. Even if you aren’t any of the above, do give Kenji a listen. It’s quite worth it.

 

TRACKLIST:

#1. Introduction 0:43
#2. Remember the Name 3:50
#3. Right Now 4:14
#4. Petrified 3:40
#5. Feel Like Home 3:53
#6. Where’d You Go 3:51
#7. In Stereo 3:21
#8. Back Home 3:44
#9. Cigarettes 3:40
#10. Believe Me 3:42
#11. Get me Gone 1:56
#12.High Road 3:16
#13. Kenji 3:51
#14.Red to Black 3:11
#15. The Battle 0:32
#16. Slip Out the Back 3:56
Special Edition:
#17. [Silence] 0:04
#18. [Silence] 0:04
#19. Be Somebody 3:15
#20. There They Go 3:17
#21. The Hard Way 3:54
Tour Edition:
#22.Petrified (Los Angeles Remix) 3:32

 

PRODUCERS:
Mike Shinoda
Shawn Carter

 

DATE OF RELEASE:
November 22, 2005

 

SINGLES:
Petrified
Remember The Name
Believe Me
Where’d You Go

 


 

 

 

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