Linkin Park, Jay-Z come together on 'Collision Course'

03.05.2008
Multiplatinum acts Jay-Z and Linkin Park are the latest to merge musical forces in a legally sanctioned mash-up. With the help of MTV, the two acts have taken it one step further.

Instead of simply doing a mash-up remix of one track, as other artists - Kylie Minogue and New Order, Dannii Minogue and Madonna - have done, Jay-Z and Linkin Park have created an entire CD/DVD project based on the mash-up concept. The result, "MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups Presents Jay-Z/Linkin Park: Collision Course," arrived Nov. 30.

For the uninitiated, a mash-up intertwines two different songs, often placing the vocals of one track atop an instrumental section of another advertisement track.

For example, "Can't Get Blue Monday out of My Head" features Kylie Minogue's vocals from her global hit "Can't Get You out of My Head" married to the synth waves of New Order's "Blue Monday." Sister Dannii Minogue's "Don't Wanna Lose This Groove" merged the vocals from the singer's "Don't Wanna Lose This Feeling" with the disco beats of Madonna's "Into the Groove."

"Mash-ups are best when they involve two songs that the listeners know," says Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda, who produced the studio recordings for the CD portion of the two-disc set. "That's what was so promising about this project: We got to take songs that a lot of people are familiar with and totally reconstruct them."

Shinoda says they had to figure out when to use an original master recording and when to rerecord something. "Tempo, key and style were all parts to a very elaborate balancing act."

The centerpiece of the DVD component of "Collision Course" is the July 18 live performance of the mash-ups at the Roxy Theater in Los Angeles, which debuted Nov. 10 on MTV with the network's new series, "MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups."

The performance showcases artists who respect each other musically. To that end, they must make time to rehearse together. "This is not the kind of performance that can be phoned in," MTV executive vice president of music and talent programming Tom Calderone says.

The mash-ups on "Collision Course" are "Dirt off Your Shoulder/Lying From You," "Big Pimpin'/Papercut," "Numb/Encore," "Jigga What/Faint," "Izzo/In the End" and "Points of Authority/99Problems/One Step Closer."

Shinoda adds that it was cool to see his band's "usually more serious" music in a "more light-hearted and fun" atmosphere.

Jay-Z, it should be noted, is no stranger to mash-ups. Earlier this year, DJ Reset's mash-up "Frontin' on Debra" combined Beck's "Debra" and Pharrell Williams Featuring Jay-Z's "Frontin'."

And DJ/producer Danger Mouse's unsanctioned "The Grey Album" - which featured vocals from Jay-Z's "The Black Album" laid atop beats created using the Beatles' "White Album" - pushed mash-ups into the mainstream in America.

MTV's Calderone credits the global popularity of mash-ups to a generation that knows no boundaries when it comes to music.

"Kids today like many kinds of music," he says. "One kid will like rock, rap, hip-hop and electronic. So it's natural for them to take different-sounding records and merge them together. In this way, it shows the depth of their [musical] libraries." With the Jay-Z/Linkin Park collaboration, the mash-up became three-dimensional. "Fans are watching the artists perform these songs live onstage."

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