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Fort Minor - The Rising Tied

Fort Minor, The Rising Tied

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

FORT Minor is the eagerly anticipated side-project of Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda and this hip-hop hybrid has certainly been worth the wait.

With Jay-Z serving as executive producer, The Rising Tied wastes no time in establishing itself as a class act brimming with talent.

Aside from Shinoda, who proves himself to be quite an astute rapper, the album also showcases a host of the most exciting talents in hip-hop in the form of Black Thought, Common, John Legend, Holly Brook, Kenna and Styles Of Beyond.

As a hip-hop album, The Rising Tied thankfully manages to avoid some of the more obvious stereotypes of the genre, even going so far as to poke fun at them on tracks like Cigarettes (lyrics include ‘man I love this rap game, mainly cos it’s cool, everyone exaggerates a tiny little bit, make that shit sound more gangster than it really is’).

Instead, it seeks to revel in its own freedom, mixing moments of social commentary and personal reflection with a wider scope.

In Kenji, for instance, Shinoda recounts his Japanese family’s experiences in World War II internment camps to poignant, thought-provoking effect.

While on stand-out track, Where’d You Go, he goes down the Eminem path of chastising himself for putting career before family and drops in a deliciously sweet female vocal from Holly Brook.

The mixture of vocal styles, coupled with a sublime piano chord and tip-top beat, is absolutely brilliant and a million miles from the nu-metal terrain occupied by Linkin Park (and occasionally hinted at here).

Strong, too, are the likes of Back Home, featuring Common and Styles of Beyond, that lays down some hard-hitting social lyrics over a slinky beat and a funky guitar loop.

The upbeat funk of High Road features another lively piano chord, some shuffling beats and another highly stylish support act from John Legend.

While The Battle, featuring Celph Titled, offers another scintillating blend of pianos, beats and harder-hitting lyrics.

Hats off to Shinoda, then, for bringing something a little different to the hip-hop mix. He could have charted an overly familiar course but has instead sought to stretch himself and the results are highly impressive.

Track listing:
1. Introduction – Fort Minor
2. Remember The Name – Fort Minor & Styles Of Beyond
3. Right Now – Fort Minor & Black Thought/Styles Of Beyond
4. Petrified – Fort Minor
5. Feel Like Home – Fort Minor & Styles Of Beyond
6. Where’d You Go – Fort Minor & Holly Brook/Jonah Matranga
7. In Stereo – Fort Minor
8. Back Home – Fort Minor & Common/Styles Of Beyond
9. Cigarettes – Fort Minor
10. Believe Me – Fort Minor & Bobo/Styles Of Beyond
11. Get Me Gone – Fort Minor
12. High Road – Fort Minor & John Legend
13. Kenji – Fort Minor
14. Red To Black – Fort Minor & Kenna/Jonah Matranga/Styles Of Beyond
15. Battle – Fort Minor & Celph Titled
16. Slip Out The Back – Fort Minor & Mr. Hahn