Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda – Nu-Metal Went From Corny to Cool Again
Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda has offered his overview of nu-metal's impact on music and his band's role in shaping it, all while giving a thumbs-up to the current crop of non-metal rockstars, including Post Malone, who are succeeding in the modern era by ignoring genre restrictions altogether.
The discussion popped off when the Linkin Park co-founder and solo artist recently talked to Kerrang Radio. On the show, Shinoda offered a measured response when the interviewer compared the growing popularity of today's emo-rap to nu-metal's initial surge at the dawn of the 2000s.
"Honestly, I've lived through I don't even know how many irritations of, 'This thing being dead, and that thing being corny,'" Shinoda responded, per Ultimate Guitar. "That comes back around. Nu-metal went from the biggest thing on the planet to the corniest thing on the planet to the coolest thing again."
Still, despite those moving goalposts he suggested as "typical" of mainstream music, Shinoda praised the "new generation of artists, not just rappers, but artists in general who are infusing lots of rock and other styles into their music. It's exciting — I don't hate them for that. From Ian to 24KGoldn and Kid Laroi and even Post Malone! Post is a rockstar, Post is a singer, guitar player and people think of him as a rapper because he presents himself that way sometimes, but music is just music."
After all, Linkin Park are often held up as the rare rock act who melted mainstream genre restrictions with each release. But how does the musician feel now about Linkin Park's place in the canon?
Shinoda noted that Linkin Park "were called the Hybrid Theory before the album, and we played a role in it. None of us tried to claim that we broke the boundaries between genres, but we played a role in breaking boundaries between genres. Some of the new generation don't even know the way things were before bands like us, and then how albums like Hybrid Theory and so on changed the way people looked at music."
He continued, "They were born after that, and they were born into the things that they are, the mixed genres. 'Hey, what's your favorite type of music?' 'Oh, whatever.' When I was a kid, when somebody said, 'What's your favorite type of music?' you had an answer. It was rap, it was metal, it was a specific kind of metal, and that was it. 'Do you listen to this?' 'No, fuck those things' — It would be that serious. And now people don't even think about it."
Either way, Shinoda knows the importance of discovering new music, especially through artists one is already familiar with — come to think of it, that's how he found some of his formative faves.
"I heard Led Zeppelin because Beastie Boys sampled them," he added. "My first concert was Public Enemy with Anthrax and Primus. Those guys were paving the way for what was teaching me about blending genres. Rage [Against the Machine] had just come out! It was crazy."
Crazy, indeed. Watch some of the Linkin Park rocker's recent interview below. Since the start of the year, Shinoda's also been selling his art as NFTs, the latest craze in music-driven cryptocurrency.