Now that Mike Shinoda is just on the heels of his debut album (Post Traumatic, which is out tomorrow), the world is gearing up for his solo career to take off full swing. But there are still many questions regarding whether or not he will be up to the task for the long run, and even further be able to carry Linkin Park forward when they inevitably return. These questions, however, were answered long ago. Fort Minor's The Rising Tied is the proof that Mike Shinoda can go solo and ace it with flying colors.
Fort Minor was Shinoda's original side project, first taking off in 2005. While many collaborators make the album what it is, at its core it's all Shinoda. From the singles alone, it's easy to see why Shinoda should have no trouble managing a solo career, given that the album's two main singles were chart-toppers around the globe. The iconic strings of 'Remember The Name' with its infectious hook and nonstop verses are recognizable by anyone who hears them, while the reflective, angry 'Where'd You Go' with Skylar Grey also took off and are still easily recognizable. Even tracks that aren't singles have an anthemic side to them, like 'Believe Me' with its quickfire string stings and 'Red To Black' with its heavier, more alternative instrumentation.
The Rising Tied isn't just another west-coast hip-hop album from the mid-2000s. It has a lot of diversity and many powerful messages behind it. Perhaps most powerful is 'Kenji,' a song about the hardships Shinoda's grandfather faced during World War II, when his family was sent to internment camps. The guitar riff takes a backseat to Shinoda's angry, resentful verses which culminate with samples from real interviews with his grandmother, recalling the event. 'Petrified' is less serious, and more bombastic, but its glitchy and aggressive vibe really adds some texture to the album. 'In Stereo' appeals more to the contemporary west coast hip-hop brand with its thick synths, while other tracks like 'Right Now' and 'Cigarettes' take a more beaten down route to connect with an outsider crowd. 'Get Me Gone' even starts a narrative of fighting against the naysayers as Shinoda explains to Jay-Z the initial label reactions to Linkin Park, which is then confidently faced in 'High Road.' And to end things off, Shinoda goes in on 'Slip Out The Back,' putting his lyricism and delivery first above the dirty beat.
Fort Minor's The Rising Tied is the proof that Mike Shinoda can go solo and absolutely be fine, as this hip-hop centric project already showed his ability to connect with his past, his fans, and look ahead. Now that he faces tragedy with the loss of Chester Bennington, he's sort of doing the same thing with Post Traumatic: finding the answers by facing his past and looking ahead. Shinoda's music has always been about connecting with an audience, but when he needs to connect with himself, he finds no problem there, either.
Favorite Tracks: In Stereo, Remember The Name, Where'd You Go, Slip Out The Back
Least Favorite Track: Feel Like Home
Rating: 80 / 100
Stream or buy The Rising Tied on Apple Music, and follow our Throwback Playlist on Spotify: