The Rising Tied CD Reviews|
From The Argonaut
The Rising Tide features guest appearances from Common, John Legend, Black Thought of The Roots, Kenna,and Holly Brook. This album has countless radio friendly tracks along with underground hits which give the album great balance. The beats, the lyrics and the overall musical atmosphere this album creates are second to none. Fort minor does an excellent job of combining catchy hooks, with conscience lyrics.
Shinoda brings something new to the table with each track. His lyrics can range from speaking about playing new beats in his brand new car, to speaking about his father's life in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. I was never bored listening to this album because I never knew what was coming next. The Rising Tide finally gives listeners a chance to hear Mike at his best without the lead singer from Linkin Park screaming about God knows what in the background. From the beautiful keyboard, to the string choir, Rising Tide shines musically.
The Rising Tide by Fort Minor is Shinoda's chance to truly show that he can succeed without Linkin Park. His unique voice and constantly changing style is what makes this album work as a whole. Contrary to popular belief, Mike Shinoda's first love is hip-hop. With every track it's obvious that he had a lot he wanted to say, that he could never say on tracks with Linkin Park. It was only a matter of time before he made an exclusively hip-hop album.
The two tracks that received much attention from the media were "Remember the Name" and "Where'd You Go?" On "Where'd you go" Mike releases his emotions and tells the tale of someone missing a loved one. Other tracks that stood out are "Cigarettes" and "Kenji." On "Cigarettes" Mike examines the rap game and how rap fans inhale the garbage from most rappers just like cigarettes. On "Kenji" Mike tells the story of what it was like for his father and aunt while they were prisoners in internment camp for Americans of Japanese descent during World War II. This track samples vocals from his father and aunt. These samples bring the track to life and make the listener truly envision the horrors of these camps.
The Rising Tide was made for the masses. Mike Shinoda was behind an alternative rock band for five years and has finally been let out of his cage. It's obvious with each track on this album that he's been patiently waiting to create a hip-hop album that will never be forgotten.
From MOTE Magazine
Yes, Fort Minor is the name given to Mike Shinoda's solo hip-hop record. You're going 'I don't know Mike Shinoda, stupid'. But you do! You just don't know that you do. Shinoda is the MC from Linkin Park. You know. The guy who didn't need to be in the band. Funny, cuz he addresses this in one of the Rising Tied songs, but I still think LP would have been much better sans rap. Anyways, that's neither here nor there.
Shinoda has some pretty good mic skills, but his strengths are really evident in his songcraft. If a hip-hop beat doesn't thump when it needs to, or give me chills when it should, I don't like it. It's pretty plain and simple. I don't need hip-hop to be super groundbreaking to be enjoyable. Shinoda's effort is just that; not groundbreaking, but enjoyable. It's definitely more of a hip-hop sound than a rap sound, although a few tracks show Shinoda slipping into the mainstream rap kinda sound - I can do without that. But 85% or so of the record has that underground hip-hop feel to it - the 'boom-bap' bass-snare sound - and it's good.
There are your typical 'I'm the dopest MC since Tupac' songs (like 'Remember the Name'), your opponent-defying tracks (like the bouncy 'High Road' feat. John Legend), and your made-for-radio hit with the hook ('Where'd You Go') on Rising Tied. Again, not groundbreaking, but well-done and fun to pump out when you feel the need. However, one song blew me away, and I mean blew me away.
It is called 'Kenji', and it's the first hip-hop song in a long time that gave me shivers. Shinoda, who is half-Japanese, speaks about his grandparents' ordeal in America during WWII. A compelling tale is spun over a moody beat, climaxing with the line 'My family was there when it was dark and damp/And they called it an internment camp'. His delivery is crisp and haunting, and I'd recommend picking up Rising Tied just for that song alone.
I like Rising Tied. It doesn't try to be anything it isn't and isn't trying to 'change the rap game'. There are certain weak points (a few suspect lines, Jay-Z soundbites seemingly to give the record cred, and so forth), but overall they don't take away from the album too much. Shinoda is no Mr Lif, but he's pretty damn good.
From Oracle Online
The Linkin Park creator has produced something that turns heads of fans of Linkin Park and even those who aren’t.
With Fort Minor, Shinoda incorporates his true love of hip-hop, beat making and production in “The Rising Tied.”
Many are aware of Linkin Park’s last record, where they teamed up with “The Eighth Wonder Of The World” Jay-Z, in MTV’s mash-up record, “Collision Course.” This record is similarly reminiscent of “Collision Course,” but has more hip-hop elements and strays away from the rock element that many are used to with Shinoda.
“Say what you want about me, I’m going to take the high road anyway,” Shinoda spits on the song “High Road.”
That may be the ultimate line to remember when approaching this record. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard from Shinoda or Linkin Park. As a matter of fact, don’t even put in your mind that Shinoda is from that band. Approach this record with the mind set that this is a new artist. Shinoda wrote, produced, created every beat and played almost every instrument on “The Rising Tied.”
With that in mind, this is basically a fresh slate for Shinoda. Jay-Z appreciated the record so much that acted as executive producer for it.
The lead single, “Remember The Name,” has already received moderate success on radio air waves. The autobiographical epic explains Shinoda’s passion for his art as well as what he wants to express. He steps up to the plate against his critics with “High Road,” gives a family history with “Kenji” and gets emotional on “Where’d You Go” and “Right Now.”
Shinoda is a man amongst giants so to speak on this record. The all-star lineup of cameo appearances on this record is worth a listen; bringing in rising star John Legend, and members of heavy hitting hip-hop legends The Roots, along with his newest label mates Styles of Beyond.
This record is best in the earliest moments, with a crescendo, de-crescendo vibe of songs. As the record progresses the songs seem to blend together, both lyrically and musically, but are decent nonetheless.
The beats are by far the highlight of the record. Lyrically, Shinoda shows off his angrier more personal side, but still has the positive, heads-up attitude that he is famous for intact.
More than likely, “The Rising Tied” won’t challenge hip-hop heavyweight records such as Kanye West’s “Late Registration,” or 50 Cent’s “The Massacre,” but it is still an important record. Mike Shinoda lets his true hip-hop and emcee roots surface on this record and it gives the listener a brand new respect for Shinoda and that of Fort Minor.
From Philippine Daily Inquirer
"I was a producer and rapper before Linkin Park," he said in an online interview. "Once the band took off, it was the center of my focus. A couple of years ago, I missed doing straight-up hip-hop, and that's when Fort Minor began." Fort Minor is the name of Shinoda's rap alter-ego, and "The Rising Tied" is the name of the group's released album. "It's called Fort Minor," he explained, "because there are a bunch of other people involved in the project."
Despite the fact that his name isn't on the front cover, however, "The Rising Tied" is clearly Mike Shinoda's baby. He mixed, produced, wrote the songs, played practically all of the instruments-he even did the artwork! You have to agree, that's a lot of hats-and he wears them all with aplomb!
"The Rising Tied" is solid, good old hip-hop. If you're a fan of only the rock elements of Linkin Park's music, then this CD may not be for you. There's a tinge of rock, but the stars of the show are Shinoda's rhymes and heavy beats."One great thing about being at this point in my career," Shinoda said in another interview, "is that I can oversee a record of my own and do whatever I want on it. I had an identity in mind for the album, and built around that. Folks like Styles of Beyond, Common, and Black Thought fit into that picture."
Aside from the abovementioned artists, guests Holly Brook, John Matranga, Eric Bobo, John Legend and Kenna add variety to Shinoda's listless beats, and he incorporates their talents well in the album's overall soundscape. Shinoda is a good enough rapper, but what's more memorable are his words themselves. He's intelligent and has a more articulated socio-political awareness than your usual street thug/angry rapper.
He's articulate enough to have birthed the album's most distinctive song -- "Kenji" -- which delves into the Shinoda family's experiences in US internment camps for Japanese immigrants during World War II. He also rather incisively parallels the hip-hop business with the tobacco industry in "Cigarettes." Though he does the usual self-congratulatory rapper strutting in some tracks, they are less substantial and don't resonate with the sincerity that he's poured into his more intellectual or emotionally laden numbers.
From The Star
Another track worth mentioning is Kenji. This is the most personalised track on the album where he talks about the US internment of Japanese citizens during World War II. Shinoda got his father and aunt (both of whom spent time in relocation camps) to share their experiences and added their stories onto the track. Another great track on the album is Where'd You Go which is reminiscent of Eminem's When I'm Gone, except that the track is given a more melancholic feel with guest artiste Holly Brook's vocals. I can go on and on about how good this album is but I'm only allocated so much space. Get the album and judge it for yourself.
From Daily Utah Chronicle
The result is a full-blown hip-hop effort in which Shinado plays both emcee and producer-and does a surprisingly solid job. His rhymes are highly personal and refreshingly imaginative. In "Kenji," he retells touching family history, and in "Cigarettes," the tobacco industry becomes an analogy for hip-hop. The beats on Rising Tied are fresh hip-hop bangers full of diverse instrumentation. And when hip-hop notables Common, John Legend and Black Thought appear on the album, Rising Tied seems to have it all-even Jay-Z as executive producer.
Unfortunately, somewhere during the second half, the album becomes redundant. Shinado's personal rhymes seem like over-sharing, and his creative efforts are dulled. Whether you love them or hate them, forget what you know about Linkin Park-Fort Minor's is a far-removed sound worth checking out. Three stars out of five.
To be sure, this record is Shinoda's show from start to finish, as he's not only the main man on the microphone, but also heads up all the production duties. As such, he gets a lot of praise for the record's strengths, as he's churned out some chunky beats, with a perhaps-unexpected rock influence, and has a decent enough flow. On the other hand, he also has to shoulder some of the blame for its faults, which boil down to a general thin feeling to some of the music and Shinoda's somewhat limited verbal skills. Honestly, it wouldn't be that much of an issue, except that there are some great guest stars on this album, such as Common, Black Thought (of the Roots) and the MCs from Style of Beyond (who are all over this record), and when he's trading verses with them, Shinoda comes off a bit lacking. I guess having cool friends can be a double-edged sword.
Still, this is an admirable effort, and there are more than a couple tracks that are worth repeated listening. The highlight is definitely "Remember the Name," which features a catchy-as-hell strings-based hook and lyrics that put a fresh slant on the "I'm a really good musician/rapper" formula. What's notable is that it really seems like Shinoda has something to say in his rhymes, which is more than can be said for a lot of other artists out there. He may not have the most personality in the world as an MC or producer, but he gets his point across. That may sound like somewhat faint praise, but given that a lot of Shinoda's contemporaries don't even have a point to get across in the first place, it's not. Ratings: Lyrics: B+, Music: B-, Overall: B. Standout Tracks: Remember the Name, Cigarettes, Right Now
From Jakarta Post
From The Straits Times
The Rising Tied is very personal labour of love for the sansei (third-generation Japanese American) whose father was interned during World War II. Embracing both family history and recordings of his relatives, the standout track Kenji exemplifies Shinoda's righteous and palatable amalgam of hip-hop, electronica and rock, giving voice to honest thoughts on racism and war. Political messages aside, Linkin Park fans will take to catchy singalongs like Petrified and Where'd You Go while pogo-ing mad. 3 stars out of five.
From Montgomery Advertiser
From Urban Wire
From Denver Post
From Mercury News
First single Remember the Name is the perfect example, a dense beat working around a string-laden melody and memorable chorus. Elsewhere, In Stereo is a stunner that would make the Neptunes jealous, and even manages to knock Jay-Z off his chair. That's no mean feat. But good beats aren't enough. Without Linkin Park's triple-guitar attack hiding his vocal deficiencies, Shinoda's rhyme skills range from bad to, well, truly awful. "How you doing y'all, My name's Mike, I'm fluent with the new shit, I'm doing it all night," anyone?
Perhaps Shinoda wouldn't look so bad if he didn't have so many guest stars on the album. All Common, Black Thought and John Legend manage to do is prove that Shinoda should have stayed behind the mixing desk instead of hogging the mic for himself. Next time, buddy, leave the rapping to the experts. Two stars
From Scripts Howard News Service
Still, Shinoda is a smidge closer to Eminem than he is to Vanilla Ice, making up for his nondescript vocals and flow with a fair amount of lyrical depth and variety. And although he's practically a one-man show with the sparse and unimaginative instrumentation on "The Rising Tied," he flushes out the sound with a scattering of guest vocalists and a boost from executive producer Jay-Z, who collaborated with Linkin Park for the 2004 EP "Collision Course."
The Fort Minor debut is hardly inspiring, yet it's partly redeemed by a handful of diverting cuts such as the rumbling "Petrified," which playfully rides a House of Pain/videogame vibe, and "Believe Me," the lone track that approximates a rock/rap style, and does so with a swerving, organic groove. Rating (five possible): 2-1/2
From Orlando Sentinel
There's a touch of the self-indulgent, ego-driven formula that seems inseparable from most mainstream rap, especially in the call for respect for Linkin Park in "Get Me Gone.'' Mostly, however, Shinoda's personal excursion is a nice departure from both rap cliches and the angst-ridden themes of his regular band. Shinoda played most of the instruments and created the lion's share of the samples and breakbeats. The result is a collection of songs that sound warm and human, whether it's the piano and tambourines in "High Road'' or a minimalist combination of bass and keys in "Petrified.''
Lyrically, Shinoda's approach works because he goes beyond the obvious. "Feel Like Home'' is an ode to Los Angeles that calls attention to humanity in its hardened street scenes. "These days are dark and the nights are cold, people acting like they lost their souls,'' he says. "Everywhere I go I see another person like me, trying to make it all feel like home.''
The most impressive testament to Shinoda's scope is "Kenji,'' a song about the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II that features snippets of dialogue from Shinoda's father and aunt, both interred in the camps. The echoes of that memory somehow resonate in the context of current world conflicts, which is quite a feat indeed. 4 stars out of 5
From The Herald Sun
From Relish Now
From The Badger Herald
That's not to say the Linkin Park sound is entirely absent from the album. "Red To Black" and "Believe Me" feature the kind of annoyingly melodramatic refrains Linkin Park is so famous for. A Linkin Park-style guitar echo crops up on the narrative-song "Kenji" also, but it matches the haunting lyrics well. Shinoda's rap tells the story of his Japanese-immigrant relatives who were forced into internment camps in the United States during WWII. The song combines bits of first-person accounts with Shinoda's rhymes, which, although awkward at times, carry a powerful message. The song sounds like poetry-slam verse set to music.
Overall, Shinoda's rapping skills aren't too shabby. He doesn't have a memorable voice, but he manages to sound focused and unhurried on most of the songs. He even changes it up once in a while by letting his phrases run over the bar line. But Shinoda's real accomplishment is the wide mix of musical styles he uses as a backdrop to his rapping. "High Road" is based on pop-piano riffs, with some tambourine thrown in for good measure. Even the more standard raps have some unusual touches, like the single "Petrified," which starts off with a strange ambient echo before turning into a bouncing party tune.
Shinoda's at his best when sharing vocal duties with a guest artist. Common makes the funky "Back Home" come alive, and John Legend adds a catchy chorus to "High Road." The Rising Tied also features lesser-known artists signed to Linkin Park's Machine Shop Recordings. Holly Brook provides a chorus on "Where'd You Go" that sounds like Dido on Eminem's "Stan," and Styles of Beyond adds some street-cred to several tracks.
The best song on the album is the Houston-style slow groove "Cigarettes," which is actually all Shinoda. The lyrics scorn the "guns, drugs and misogyny" of modern hip-hop — themes Shinoda avoids on The Rising Tied. The way he ties his love for popular rap to smoking cigarettes makes the song more than a rant: "It's just like a cigarette, nobody's really fooled / I don't want the truth, I wanna feel f-cking cool." But even though Shinoda's lyrics are different from most Top-40 rap, he still tries to get the same sound on several tracks. "In Stereo" is a pointless attempt to mimic the club-stomping style of artists like 50 Cent, minus the raunchy lyrics. Shinoda is hardly comparable to 50 in this aspect, and the track fails miserably.
Shinoda's concern with keeping his lyrics fresh backfires at times, such as on "Remember The Name," where he raps lame verses about himself. The chorus is unique but sounds forced: "This is 10 percent luck, 20 percent skill, 15 percent concentrated power of will / Five percent pleasure, 50 percent pain, and 100 percent reason to remember the name." Some of the samples on the CD go awry as well, such as Shinoda's recorded conversation at the beginning of "Get Me Gone." The explanation deflates the song, which is meant to be a poignant reply to early critics of Shinoda's role in Linkin Park, but turns into a whiny complaint instead.
All in all, the songs on The Rising Tied hit exhilarating highs and depressing lows, making it a unique but flawed attempt. For fans of Linkin Park or rap with a message, this album isn't a bad buy. But anyone looking for the next 50 Cent would do well to pass this one over. Grade: BC
From Herald News Daily
From College Club
"Remember the Name" featuring Styles of Beyond starts the musical part of the record in a dope mid-90s way. It's apparent that Shinoda is influenced by this period of hip-hop, as the album is filled with samples and dirty drums. Shinoda comes hard with lines such as, "I know you must really be so lonely/Puffed up like you tough but so phony/You and your boys you don't know me/You really wanna hold me, show me homie" in the headnodding "Petrified." The Rising Tied, a play on words, is wholly Shinoda's baby, and allows him to collaborate with artists like Black Thought, Common, and the dope but forgotten Kenna. These mixtures that wouldn't usually appear on a LP album is exactly what make this record hot.
Shinoda paints a vivid picture with "Kenji" by touching upon the internment of the Japanese in the U.S. during World War II. He even has his family members drop their painful memories over the track, making it even more poignant. Changing course, the upbeat "High Road" floats along nicely with fierce battle raps and a breezy hook by R&B crooner, John Legend. The most complete track on the album, "Cigarettes" makes the analogy between rap-reality and smokes. Shinoda legitimizes liking dumbed-down musical content because he "don't want the truth, I wants to feel fuckin' cool."
Going out alone after being in a super successful group is never easy (just ask David Lee Roth), but Shinoda does an amazing job. He keeps the vibe melodic and catchy throughout, making for a listen similar to an urban-themed Linkin Park record. (Jigga finally got it right!) Fort Minor proves that this is more than just a side project, and more of a natural progression toward the LP dynasty.
From Los Angeles Times
Over those tracks, Shinoda offers sober vignettes about people scraping for survival, as well as self-affirming, go-for-your-dreams celebrations of the underdog. The album's most powerful piece, ``Kenji,'' is an account of his Japanese-born forebears' internment at Manzanar. As a rapper, Shinoda sounds like a suburban b-boy, amiable and sensitive but not charismatic or colorful. ``The Rising Tied'' gets its vocal heft and energy from his sidekicks and guests such as Common, Black Thought and John Legend. Shinoda himself tries to put on a little swagger, but his real appeal is pure puppy dog. ** 1/2 stars
From Wessex Scene
From The Guardian
His earnest, methodical rapping may be effortlessly outclassed by guest stars such as Common, but he bolsters it with sulky, darkly metallic beats that sound like Dr Dre crossed with Depeche Mode. There's also a compelling candour that is far removed from Linkin Park's amorphous angst. Shinoda lacerates himself for putting career before family on Where'd You Go and movingly recounts his Japanese family's experiences in WW2 internment camps on Kenji.
But he might have thought twice about the anti-media tirade, Get Me Gone. There's just no way of rapping the lines, "Now I've got the interviews on file/What people said what, what number to dial", without sounding like a crazy person.
From The New Paper
I think few people appreciate Shinoda's contribution to Linkin Park. With frontman Chester Bennington - who possesses a more flamboyant, rock star-worthy personality streak - dominating the headlines, it was easy to forget his comparatively docile, clean-living right hand man. It was only until Collision Course - Linkin Park's collaboration with rapper Jay-Z - did Shinoda's importance as a band member really show. It's then that you realise his raps, which seem at first like supporting material, are what really give each Linkin Park song that distinctive rhythm.
Same thing here. The dominant driving force in each track, whether it's the requisite first single here's-where-I-introduce-myself Remember The Name or reflective ballad Where'd You Go, is Shinoda's punchy rap style. Joining him is a diverse underground group of artistes such as Black Thought (frontman of Philadelphia hip-hoppers The Roots), rapper Common (formerly Common Sense) and newbie Lupe Fiasco. Jay-Z also returns as executive producer here. Shinoda keeps the hip-hop touches old school - from the screeching sounds on Petrified, to the sharp synthesisers in In Stereo, to the two-part harmonies in High Road. Linkin Park fans should take to this like fish to water and be suitably impressed. (4 stars)
From Chart Attack
From Rolling Stone
In Linkin Park, Shinoda is part of a three-pronged attack, offering the rap counterpoint to Chester Bennington's howls and Brad Delson's guitars' roars. In Fort Minor, he is the sole focus and sometimes being good is just not good enough. His vision is strong on the first single "Believe Me," which boasts a bigger groove and a speedier flow than the rest of the album. It also feels most like a Linkin Park song, with his raps mixed with a sung chorus.
"Kenji," a moving tale about Japanese-Americans' time in internment camps during World War II, is another example of the full realization of Shinoda's ambitious plans. His smartest track is "Cigarettes," where he compares gangsta rap to smoking, "I'm running out to get the next rapper's CD, just sucking up the guns, drugs and misogyny." At times, Shinoda's conscious-rap vibe gets to be a bit preachy and his anti-media rants get raised to Eminem-level paranoia. For the most part, though "The Rising Tied" shows that Shinoda has plenty to say and will only improve at finding better ways to say it. ("The Rising Tied," in stores today; Grade: B)
From The Detroit News
From Hartford Courant
There are four reasons to care: Jay-Z, Common, John Legend and Black Thought. Jay-Z executive produced the record, and musicians Common, Legend and Black Thought (of the Roots) make guest appearances. Shinoda is an adequate lyricist and rapper, but he pushes beyond the usual rap-metal solipsism on "Kenji." The tune, about the federal government's internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II, features the voices of Shinoda's father and aunt, both of whom were sent to "relocation camps."