On Thursday, July 20th, 2017 Chester Bennington, the iconic lead vocalist of alternative rock mega-band Linkin Park, was found dead of an apparent suicide. He was 41 years old.
News of Chester's death spread rapidly, and immediately sent a shockwave through the world of music, the Hip-Hop community included.
Since their 2000 debut Hybrid Theory, Linkin Park, under the direction of multi-faceted musician, producer and emcee Mike Shinoda, have displayed a knack for incorporating various genres in their sound, especially hip-hop. In 2004, their collaborative effort with superstar Hip-Hop mogul Jay-Z titled Collision Course made a major splash in music, topping the Billboard 200 in its debut week and earning a Grammy for its lead single "Numb/Encore."
Though Collision Course had perhaps the greatest impact, blending Hov's classic lyrics from albums like The Blueprint and Black Album with the music of Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory and the wildly successful Meteora, Linkin Park's alliance with Hip-Hop did not begin nor end there.
Here's a look at some of Linkin Park's best Hip-Hop partnerships:
Linkin Park feat. Rakim - "Guilty All the Same"
Linkin Park DJ and producer Mr. Hahn lists Rakim as one of his favorite emcees of all time. Coincidentally Linkin Park is one of the God MC's favorite rock bands. So it was only right that in 2014, the group sought out the talents of the Microphone Fiend for the track "Guilty All the Same" as part of their album The Hunting Party. In aninterview with XXL in 2014, Rakim expressed his praise for Linkin Park's approach to music. “I got a lot of respect for Linkin Park,” he said. “I’ve been a fan since they came out.”
The mutual respect and cohesiveness between these super-talented forces was evident during the making of "Guilty All the Same:"
Busta Rhymes feat. Linkin Park - "We Made It"
Originally intended for Busta Rhymes' eighth studio album Back on My B.S., "We Made It"
finds Mike Shinoda with his emcee hat on joining Bussa Buss as both acknowledge their tribulations while glorifying their triumphs in their journey to the top. The celebratory anthem is driven by the empowering vocals of the late Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, Though a video was shot and released for "We Made It," the record did not end up making it onto the B.O.M.B. album.
JAY-Z & Linkin Park - "Numb"/"Encore"
In 2004, JAY-Z and Linkin Park combined efforts to release their aforementioned EP Collision Course. Hov rerecorded his classic verses from Volume 2, Volume 3, The Blueprint and The Black Album over the music from Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory and Meteora. The result was a new batch of records for their respective and shared core demographics. Attracting a swell of fans from both the rock and hip-hop genres, the album rose to the number one spot on on the Billboard 200. The album's lead single "Numb/Encore" also snatched a No.1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and scooped up a Grammy along the way.
Linkin Park feat. Stormzy & Pusha T - "Good Goodbye"
Linkin Park have proven they more than just a surface-level appreciation for Hip-Hop, always keeping their ear to the street for the next wave, and enlisting the services of the genres new, as well as established, heavy-hitters. For their latest album One More Light, Linkin Park dialed up British grime star, the murky one himself, Stormzy along with GOOD Music President Pusha T for the first single "Good Goodbye." As always the veteran rockers enveloped the emcees into their world while allowing them to display their lyrical prowess on the rock-laden track.
Shinoda recently revealed to Genius that the song was inspired by his love for basketball. "I’m a basketball fan," he said. "When I was writing this song, I wanted to capture that moment at the game when someone fouls out, and the cheerleaders sing and kick out the ejected player."
The late Chester Bennington added: "We wanted this song to apply to two things at the same time: Someone getting kicked out of a game and someone getting out of a bad relationship."
X-Ecutioners feat. Linkin Park - "It's Goin' Down"
Back in 2002, around the time Linkin Park was recording Meteora, The X-Ecutioners dropped their album Built for Scratch to heavy acclaim. This was due several bangers, most notably their collab with Mr. Hahn and Mike Shinoda titled "It's Goin' Down." While the legendary DJ crew shredded on the turntables, Mike Shinoda once again got in his emcee bag, pulling no punches with lyrics like "The combination of a vocal caress/ With lungs that gasp for breath from emotional stress with special effects/ And a distorted collage/ Carefully lodged between beats of rhythmic barrage."