Fort Minor first burst onto the scene in 2005, shortly after Linkin Park rested in the wake of a mediocre collaboration with Jay-Z. Surprisingly, Jay did a little more than drag out a Grammy Award with them. He brought out the group’s MC, Mike Shinoda, to a level that is only (ironically) matched by himself. The side project later started, and Fort Minor became one of those household names all fanboys love to stand up for. What Fort Minor also did is bring out the almost hidden hip-hop side of Linkin Park, always shifting in formulas and style. Late 2005, The Rising Tied
was released to little critical reception. Although fairly positive, some reviews pointed out Shinoda’s faults and turned it into what critics love doing best to Linkin Park. Irony once again takes the better of it. The Tour Edition
, however, included a few new tracks. Critics saw room for error, fanboys saw room for a new poster on their wall and I saw room for megabytes on my hard drive. What makes the Tour Edition
so different to the original? Nothing at all. The beats continue to pump in fashion, MC’s Shinoda and Styles of Beyond duet continue to murder rhymes one line at a time and Jay-Z continues his glory road in the executive production office.
Apart from the singles, which weren’t as poorly chosen as some might say, the bonus tracks featured are superb. Lupe Fiasco teams up with Holly Brook on Be Somebody
, a song that suggests the same topic as the title. Shinoda drops two verses, but Fiasco’s flow really shocked me. He never really break out until mid-2006, but his style overshadowed Mike’s completely. The Hard Way
is the second bonus track to really shock. It features the pop/rock vocals of Kenna, who does a superb job on the chorus, and like Lupe Fiasco, was never really noticed until later album releases. Unfortunately, Shinoda doesn’t stray too far in lyrics from his days with Linkin Park, and seeing as Fort Minor is a break from it, this doesn’t surprise me. The lyrics talk of hate in the community, and issues left unsolved with family. But Kenna’s chorus is what really makes it such a success. You can still expect great production work and flow on the original tracks, like Remember The Name
, Where’d You Go
and Slip Out The Back
. Fans will love the new additions, but others will regard it as a waste of time… respectively.
While a couple of the featured tracks are excellent, the other couple don’t exactly impress. There They Go
features underground rapper Sixx John, and a beat that lacks Shinoda’s touch of magic. The Latin strings accompanying a hardened beat doesn’t flow into each other, and in the end sounds like a LP/JZ mash-up. The only credible moment on the song is the breakdown point at the bridge, where Sixx and Mike command “we got this place rocking, beat knocking, non-stoppin’”. Falling away from the bonus tracks for a second, you’ll be unhappy to know that the god-awful Petrified
is still here. And guess what? This version has a remix and I can’t call it anything but decent. It doesn’t match up the originals big beats, but makes Shinoda seem much more… diverse in his sarcastic humor. You can’t really enjoy this unless you’ve heard the original.
The Rising Tied: Tour Edition
is a must for any die-hard fan, although does not add any more hype or quality. While the bonus tracks will entertain to a limit, especially The Hard Way, you can still enjoy the original albums collection of live instruments and heavy bass lines. Styles of Beyond add their slick-as-ice flavor and Jay-Z does whatever the hell he contributed to it, other than the Introduction. The bad side is noticeable, though. The songs you saw as “weak” or “lackluster” still manage to turn heads, and feel uninspired at heart. I wouldn’t recommend the Tour Edition to owners of the original copy. You won’t be missing anything other than Kenna and Fiasco, which I’m sure you can pick up on iTunes for a bargain. Mike Shinoda doesn’t step up (or down) his game, but keeps a healthy balance of it.
Remember The Name
The Hard Way