XXL magazine got to interview Mike Shinoda and Rakim recently, they talk about collaborating for the first time, working on Guilty All The Same, Mike praised Rakim a lot in this interview! Then they talked about bridging the gap between cross-genres. Mike also discussed some previous rap-rock collaboration like with Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes, and personally inviting Rakim. Read an excerpt below the full interview here.
Interview with Mike Shinoda and Rakim (FULL HERE)
On Collaborating For The First Time
Mike Shinoda: “If somebody tells me their top ten rappers of all time and they don’t mention [Rakim] in the first two or three, then I pretty much disregard them entirely. You basically don’t know what the fuck you are talking about. I’m not being extreme. I’m being real.
“What ended up taking [the collaboration] a step further [towards] making it, and I knew it was going to work, is when we got on the phone and I was telling him about the place where we are at in rock music. ‘Cause rock music right now has gone real pop. I listen to rock radio right now and it sounds like I’m listening to Nick Jr. or the Disney channel. It sounds like commercial jingles.
“So that’s where its gone and we couldn’t see ourselves going there. We couldn’t do it. It felt like, that’s not the moment for us right now. We want to make a heavy record, an aggressive record that’s true to where we come from.”
Rakim: “I got a lot of respect for Linkin Park. I’ve been a fan since they came out. I remember a long time ago sitting down and flipping through the channels, and this animated video came on and I was sitting there with the kids. I immediately started watching it. It was a Linkin Park video. Me and the kids were sitting there rocking to it and the animation was crazy. Naw mean? We figured out the name of the group and we started listening for ‘em.
“Like I said, I’ve been a fan throughout their music. “Pushing Me Away” to “Don’t Stay” to “Be Myself.” I like all they music. I get a vibe off of it and I know exactly what they speaking on and the feeling they bringing across and I respect them for that.
“And when they called to see if I was interested in doing a joint. It was perfect. It’s a band that picks up the integrity and I felt I was going through the same things they was going through when he told me how he was listening to certain music and he didn’t want to do that route. I deal with the same thing in hip-hop. Majority rules, and if everybody is going this way, artists are almost handcuffed to do the same thing. I felt it was a good statement to make and a good chance to try and rebuild what we trying to do. As far as them trying to rebuild the rock sound and me trying to make that statement and let people will know what’s going on. Again, I felt it was a perfect opportunity.”
On The Studio Sessions For “Guilty All The Same”
Rakim: “It was dope. Like I said, everybody’s attitude was down to Earth. The vibe was cool and I’m kind of like a picky person when it comes to my studio sessions. I usually work by myself and I got my own studio in the house. Now, I am really used to working by myself, but I feel no way about going in there and trying something that I never did before. I write in front of them. It was one of them things where the vibe was right and the song was definitely right. It was a matter of me putting that Rakim thing on.”
Mike Shinoda: “People like Rakim are fine artists. There are people who make pop music. They are more illustrative, but they are losing sight of the art in their art. When I see him come in, he’s got it written out on paper with a pencil. It’s not on his phone, it’s not on his laptop. Whatever. It’s on paper with a pencil. He got down at the dinner table in the studio and he’s like, “Give me a minute, I am still working this out. I want to make sure it’s right.” And that’s called craftsmen. You know, attention to detail and making sure the piece is everything you can make it.
“When he performed it, it really showed me the veteran status and attitude. Like, the authority too. This dude goes in there and he does the thing. He’s working it out in his head and working it out as he spits the verse. When he got to the last part, he’d always stop short of the last few bars. And he get everything worked out and then there was this moment where he just went for it. He went all the way through the verse and gave us—if you know the verse—the last four bars is just punchline. It’s such a big climax.”
On The State Of Rap-Rock Collaborations
Mike Shinoda: “A lot of that stuff, it’s more ingrained at this point. It’s more fused together. We always talk about when we make a hybrid of something, there are different ways to do it. Like, you can blend it together, meaning if you put something in a blender, you blend it and the two things become inseparable. It’s like you make a smoothie, you can’t see all the things that are in there. It’s just one thing. But, there’s another approach that’s called making a salad. Okay, you put all those things in there, and you can see every individual thing.
“You can approach all your songs any of those ways, but I feel like right now a lot of the stuff is out there is more like that first thing. It’s really blended together and you can’t tell when you listen to like a Lana Del Rey song. You know that hip-hop is in there, but you can’t pull it out. It’s engrained in the beats and in the production approach. Similarly, you like listen to some rap stuff, like some of Kanye’s stuff. It’s very musical. It’s very rock. It’s jammed in there so effortlessly that you can’t discern one thing from another.”
Rakim: “It’s been going on since hip-hop. I was one of the rappers that wished I had one of the Run-DMC beats. It’s really nothing new. We’ve been showing the similarities between rock and rap for the longest. I just felt it was my turn. Nah, mean?
Mike Shinoda: “This is a landmark in a certain category for us. We’ve never put out a new song on a new record with another artist this way. We’ve done collaborations with other people. But, like, the Jay Z record was based on music that was already put out. We did a song with Busta Rhymes that was a single, it was a one-off. That wasn’t our music either. That was his producer’s music. So, this is the first time we’ve had a track and we invited someone into our house. We don’t do that. It takes somebody that we have to have a special situation in connection and whatever to feel conformable to do that.”
Rakim: “I appreciate that, man. Thanks for the welcome mat. I hope I didn’t burn it out, man. Leave it at the door and I’ll be back.”
Source: XXL Magazine