Potent matchup in a mash-up

03.05.2008
Underground phenomena are cool because they're, well, underground. The coolness doesn't always hold up when they come above ground. But Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda doesn't think that will be a problem with a collaboration between the group and rapper Jay-Z that aims to elevate the mash-up concept to new heights.

Mash-ups are combinations of two very different songs, mixed to sometimes comic and other times artistically startling effect. Passed around on the Internet or as bootlegs, such mash-ups as "Stroke of Genius" (Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle" mated with the Strokes' "Last Night") and DJ Danger Mouse's "The Grey Album" (combining songs from the Beatles' White Album with tracks from Jay-Z's "The Black Album") became hot items.

The Linkin Park/Jay-Z collaboration, though, is official. The teaming has been shot as a concert event for a new MTV series, and studio sessions are being put together for a CD.

"I actually think the mash-up thing has been done to death," says Shinoda. "We feel that it had plateaued, and we saw an opportunity to do something that is much more complex."

Using original master tapes and adding some new bits, the L.A. band and Jay-Z have gene-spliced the latter's "Encore" with the former's "Numb" for one track and created another using Jay-Z's Big Pimpin' " and "Jigga That" with Linkin's "Paper Cut" and "Numb."

The package featuring an audio CD and a DVD with a documentary about the project, from studio sessions through a Roxy performance, is due Nov. 30. But already it's impacted by the ongoing mash-up underground. A mash-up of Jay-Z's "99 Problems" and Linkin Park's "One Step Closer" making the rounds without participation or authorization from either.

"A DJ in New York put that together, and it's really good," says Shinoda. "People have been saying, 'I heard that and it's really cool,' and I have to tell them we didn't do it."

LA Times - October 3, 2004


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