The Rising Tied CD Reviews

From The Argonaut
Materialism is left behind with Fort Minor's debut album The Rising Tide. Linkin Park's front man Mike Shinoda, has created a sound that can appeal to the masses. Fort Minor features Shinoda and members from Styles of Beyond. The album is co-produced by Hip-Hop icon Jay-Z.

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
I'm as picky about hip-hop as I am about my jeans, which is why I'm so effing sexy. Fashion aside, I was interested in Rising Tied after seeing the 'hit single' (I hate that term) 'Where'd You Go', which had good production, a good (if a little overused) hook, and a guy with good and strangely familiar flow. So I picked up the album.

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
Musical side projects can sometimes be a lame attempt for an artist to either use their name to make more money or just make their hard-core fans upset because they’re doing something outside of their realm of normalcy. However, with Mike Shinoda, this is a different case.

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
Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda wears a lot of hats. Not only is he LP's MC, he's also the keyboardist, rhythm guitarist, and co-producer-and as though that weren't enough, he's decided to hang even more hats on his musical rack: He has decided to go solo. Hold up for a moment: This does not mean that Linkin Park is splitting up (the band says they're as happy as clams, and will soon release a new album). Shinoda just wanted to have a project on the side.

"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
Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park fame has been busy with a little project of his own and Fort Minor's debut album is really, really special. It may only come in a simple CD jacket but Shinoda has put a lot of effort in this album and it shows. After all, it's not easy to step out of the shadow of a successful group such as Linkin Park. Shinoda did not work alone. His group of guest artistes helped make Rising Tied a quality album. That it is a labour of love is emphasised on the track Remember the Name where Shinoda states "This is 10% luck, 20% skill, 15% concentrated power of will, 5% pleasure, 50% pain and 100% reason to remember the name."

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
Within the first minutes of Fort Minor's The Rising Tied, it becomes obvious: Mike Shinado was the better half of Linkin Park.Make no mistake about it, Shinado's album-under the moniker Fort Minor-is a solo project and an epitome at that: Shinado seems to have his hand in everything on the album except the shrink-wrapping. He produced every beat, played every instrument, wrote every rhyme and even crafted the illustration for the cover.

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.

From UGO
Given the way in which Linkin Park has embraced the rap side of the rap-rock equation, it was inevitable that the band - or, one of its members, anyway - would just go all the way and record a hip-hop album. Unsurprisingly, the member in question is Mike Shinoda, who lent his MC skills to Linkin Park's previous efforts. With the help of the estimable Jay-Z ,Shinoda has unleashed his showcase debut, The Rising Tied, under the name Fort Minor. And, for the most part, the music justifies the move.

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
The Rising Tied is another vehicle through which Shinoda unleashes his dexterous hip-hop talents. In spite of the rap star line-up and a squeaky clean production, The Rising Tied sounds like Linkin Park stripped off their rock sound. Shinoda's rapping does not depart from his routine in Linkin Park and the only occasional delight in the album is the candy-coated keyboard line that punctuates a number of songs. Otherwise, it is boring. Shinoda better think about returning to his day job with Linkin Park. -- M. Taufiqurrahman.

From The Straits Times
Granted he isn't a gifted rapper like Eminem or even Jay-Z (who executive produced the album), but clearly, Linkin Park's emcee Mike Shinoda hasn't allowed that to come in the way of his solo debut project. Featuring quest spots from Common, Styles of Beyond, The Roots and John Legend, this may sound like an indulgent mega-star get-together, but the truth hits closer to home.

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
Between "Hybrid Theory" in 2000 and "Collision Course," last year's mash-up collaboration with Jay Z, Linkin Park paddled deeper into the hip-hop end of the electro-metal-rap pool. So why is Linkin leader Mike Shinoda's "Fort Minor" hip-hop project a shock? Not because the singer/multi-instrumentalist played and wrote nearly every bit of "Tied," but because he has made a ruminative, sonically fried record as dense and darkly emotional -- without pretense -- as anything nu-metal has thrown up. There are some vocal assists from Common, Black Thought and John Legend, and an exec producer credit for Hova. But "Fort Minor" is Shinoda's drama. System of a Down may be hypnotizing, but Shinoda rapturously captures your attention in a way you won't sleep through.

From IGN
In the end The Rising Tied would have benefited greatly from some outside production. While Shinoda's beats aren't terrible, they too often resonate with a uniform detached sensibility that prevents much of the album from becoming truly funkdafied or boom-bap-a-rific. Shinoda has a solid verbal presence, but it ends up feeling as if he spread himself a little too thin by not only being the main MC and lyricist, but also the producer and mixer to boot. That said there are some genuine moments of surprise and swiftness proving that regardless of his ongoing rock affiliation, Shinoda is a true rap fan and not just some bandwagon buster. -- Full review

From Urban Wire
Fort Minor's debut album, The Rising Tied, reflects reality with a painful clarity – the kind of truth you wish you can escape. Unlike most hip-hop albums, this album incorporates much use of Shinoda's piano skills and live orchestral strings to achieve a cinematic effect that helps bring across the stories in the lyrics, like in his hit single 'Remember The Name', whose loop is a hard strings tune. Intricately pieced and off-beat tempos for the different tunes in all the tracks is what gives the album it's head-bopping feel. This album is recommended not only to Linkin Park and Jay-Z fans, but also to people who've gone through all sorts of rejection, condescendence and suffering; The Rising Tied would definitely be an aerial to their emotions.On the other hand, those who need some direction and clarity in their lives will find this album as a well of thoughts in a desert of numbness. -- Full review

From Denver Post
While they all leave their mark on this debut, it's obviously Shinoda's record. Chester Bennington is the vocalist who softened the band's sound, while Shinoda was always the more hip-hop of the two. Most exciting about "Rising Tied" is hearing Shinoda without those pop leanings. Clearly an underground hip-hop record with mainstream aspirations, this still has shades of Linkin Park: big, looming beats and literate, piano-fronted production. Shinoda played virtually every instrument and handled all the sequencing and programming. Musically and thematically, the result is a far more mature banger of an album.

From Mercury News
Fort Minor: ``The Rising Tied'' (Warner Bros.): With big names like Jay-Z, Common and John Legend in the credits, it was set to be a winner. You can tell the deeply personal album was a labor of love for Linkin Park co-founder Mike Shinoda. If you don't buy this album, you have to at least download the track ```Kenji'' about the Japanese-American internment experience.

From Ballerstatus
All in all, The Rising Tied is an exploration through the mind of Mike Shinoda -- a man comprised of true musical talent and an undeniable hip-hop spirit. His greatest strengths are his unlimited subject matter, which adds to his expressiveness and creativity. The core fans of LP are going to eat this up, and those who wanted to check out what Shinoda put his name on, could be very surprised at how well he can put together a hip-hop album. Mike Shinoda's creativity and Jay-Z's direction, as he serves as executive producer on the effort, make for very good hip-hop music and is evident throughout The Rising Tied. It is definitely a breath of fresh air, which has been much needed in hip-hop for sometime. -- Full review

From Stuff
Successful white rappers are in very short supply. The list begins with Eminem, includes the Beastie Boys, and ends with Vanilla Ice. And, er, that's about it. So it's an incredibly bold move for Linkin Park front man Mike Shinoda to leave his nu-metal act behind him to make a straight-up hip-hop album. But The Rising Tied comes with true hip-hop cred, with Jay-Z listed as executive producer and plenty of quality guests on board. And on first listen, it sounds great. Shinoda's production is impeccable, with crisp, clean beats layered with samples to create a moody and atmospheric listening experience.

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
The rock/rap genre seemed out of gas when Linkin Park refueled it half a decade ago with its breakout debut, "Hybrid Theory." So perhaps the anachronistic sound of Fort Minor's "The Rising Tied" won't be a fatal condition for the debut release from the hip-hop side project of Linkin Park rapper Mike Shinoda. But it sure sounds dead on arrival.

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
Linkin Park's hip-hop element loses the metal on The Rising Tied, the debut album for Mike Shinoda's side project Fort Minor. Shinoda's name is in the big type, but it's far from a solo release. Along with production by Jay-Z, these 16 tracks employ the services of an all-star list of collaborators including Common, John Legend, funk hybrid Kenna and the Roots' Black Thought.

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
Mike Shinoda scores points for even daring to drop a hip hop album while his bread and butter, rock hybrid heavyweights Linkin Park, take a breather. But more than just proving the kid has guts, with Fort Minor the MC proves himself a credible, multi-talented force. The Rising Tied is consistently gripping and surprisingly fun, whether pile-driving concrete with the smart alec Petrified, or provoking thought with the deep Right Now and Kenji. Quality controlled by Jay-Z and featuring guest spots from John Legend and the Root's Black Thought, Fort Minor is nevertheless a Shinoda case, and there's no doubting he has skills.
The verdict:****(excellent). In a word: smart

From Relish Now
Song to download: "Kenji"
Linkin Park, an alternative metal band, has been making waves for years with its mix of hard-charging rock and head-banging hip-hop. Now, Mike Shinoda, the MC for the group, steps into the spotlight with his solo side project, Fort Minor, and a new CD, The Rising Tied. This is an assured effort by Shinoda, energized by the production of Shawn Carter, aka Jay-Z. Boasting appearances by Black Thought, John Legend and Common, the CD is a pulse-pounding sonic experience. Underneath all that is an especially personal record. On "Kenji," he dips into his Japanese ancestry, powerfully exploring the internment of Japanese people during World War II. "Cigarettes" is about his frustrations with mainstream rap music, and "Right Now," featuring Black Thought and Styles of Beyond, is the rare concept single that works. The CD does drag in places, but Shinoda's energy and Jay-Z's polished production save The Rising Tied, making this one of the most innovative hip-hop albums to come out this year.

From The Badger Herald
A straight hip-hop album from Linkin Park vocalist/keyboardist Mike Shinoda just sounds like a bad idea. After all, Linkin Park is known more for its rock than its rhymes. But the debut album from Shinoda's side project, Fort Minor, isn't half-bad. The Rising Tied may have a lame pun for a name, but its beats are good and the rap is somewhat decent. Jay-Z lends his expertise as executive producer and the result is a mixed bag of styles that works on some songs, but not on others. It's a step up for Shinoda from the overly emotional, high school sound of Linkin Park.

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
Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda flexes his lyrical muscle on this all-rap album. To ease his transition into the urban arena, he enlists Common, the Roots' Black Thought and John Legend. (Jay-Z, listed as Shawn Carter, is the executive producer and makes an all-too-brief appearance on the album's intro.) Most songs find Shinoda rhyming over theatrical string arrangements, brooding pianos and thumping basslines. Aside from the braggadocious rhymes on "Remember the Name" and the single "Petrified," he is more often in a pensive mood, spinning tales about the pitfalls of balancing a relationship with life on the road ("Where'd You Go") and the exploitative nature of the music industry ("Cigarettes"). Although the lyrics tread familiar ground, Shinoda's production acumen makes this more than worth a listen.

From Billboard
Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda has enough name recognition to get a side project off the ground. But he topped off his upcoming album, "The Rising Tied," by having Shawn Carter (better-known as Jay-Z) as executive producer. Those two factors would spell a hit whether a song was deserving or not. However, the energetic "Petrified" has merit. As the rap voice of Linkin Park, it is no surprise that Shinoda is fully diving into the genre for his solo turn, as evidenced here. The booming, hollow synths form a slinky melody that dominates the track, which is braced by drums that are more hip-hop than heavy metal. Shinoda's lyrical flow is confident and smooth, and he has already got a minor beef: "You really must be so lonely/Puffed up like you're tough but so phony." Guess he is preparing for all the potential haters out there who are "petrified" of his sound.

From College Club
A conversational introduction by executive producer Jay-Z off starts Mike Shinoda's first foray into the solo game under his Machine Shop record label. Most would recognize Mike from the 35 million record selling alt-rap outfit, Linkin Park. He's the hip-hop voice amongst the diverse group and is now dropping his first rap album under the name Fort Minor. Concocting all the beats, playing every instrument, and writing all the rhymes for the project puts a hungry touch to this platinum selling artist's "debut." The album runs with the underground feel of the phenomenal Reanimation remix project.

"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
Mike Shinoda is Linkin Park's setup man -- the one who articulates the angst and builds the tension with a rap verse before tossing it to singer Chester Bennington. Now we have a whole album of Shinoda's rap without the rock, an unfettered indulgence of his fascination with hip-hop. On this disc, he uses live instruments and original samples to construct a varied series of tracks that makes heavy use of those portentous orchestral fragments that have become a Linkin Park signature.

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
Fort Minor's 'Believe Me' - Linkin' Park's MC travelling in a new direction with his first single. Less harsh than his part in da Park, the single begins with a piano introduction leading into a wonderfully memorable and melodic chorus that is sure to attract the attention of hip-hop and pop music fans alike. I highly recommend this single to all.

From The Guardian
Two tracks into his solo debut, moonlighting Linkin Park member Mike Shinoda shares his formula for success: "10% luck, 20% skill, 15% concentrated power of will, 5% pleasure, 50% pain". You get the idea: Shinoda is a grafter and The Rising Tied (oh dear) is a grafter's record that succeeds despite its limitations.

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
Take one Linkin Park, minus one part screaming frontman and add two parts hip-hop and rap. Then throw in a mix of old school rhythm and groove and you've got yourself some Fort Minor - a solo project by Linkin Park rapper Mike Shinoda. Not surprisingly, Shinoda retains elements of his first band, right from the piano intro in the first track, Introduction. But when the album starts getting rap and hip-hop heavy, Fort Minor takes on an identity of its own.

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
Surrounded by lumbering, overproduced guitars and the angsty wail of singer Chester Bennington, Mike Shinoda's mediocre rhymes always seemed like an afterthought in Linkin Park. As such, Shinoda's solo effort, The Rising Tied, recorded under his Fort Minor moniker, is a bit surprising for the way it validates the rapper-producer's skills. Shinoda may still be an amateurish MC, but on this record he masks his weaknesses with more heartfelt lyrics and the wise use of guest artists like Common and Black Thought. Sonically, Shinoda mixes traditional scratching, moody keyboards and sprinkles of electronica to create a compelling and confident sound. Linkin Park may have made him famous, but this record is certainly a stronger expression of Shinoda's talents.

From Rolling Stone
Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park demands more respect for his mike skills on hip-hop LP on the debut of his full-on hip-hop project Fort Minor, Linkin Park MC Mike Shinoda gets his Eminem Show on, self-producing dark, rock-schooled beats and dropping brassy rhymes about haters ("High Road"), his struggles as a rapper ("Remember the Name") and the internment of the Shinoda family during World War II ("Kenji"). On "Petrified," the album's club-shaking first single, Shinoda spits some surprisingly dexterous boasts, and on "Back Home," Common helps him work up sympathy for the urban poor amid a spare scratch guitar loop. With supervision from executive producer Jay-Z, tracks such as "Believe Me" translate Linkin Park's stylized angst into sleek boom-bap, complete with agitated pop choruses and deft instrumental ornamentation. Shinoda's weighty raps get wearisome over sixteen cuts, but Rising Tied has plenty of humanist appeal; in all, not a bad use of his pop-star status.

From Newsday
"The Rising Tied" (Warner Bros.), the debut album from Linkin Park rapper Mike Shinoda's solo project, Fort Minor, is ambitious and well-constructed, powered by clear thoughts, crisp rhymes and rap-rock-friendly beats. It stumbles, like a lot of solo debuts, because it lacks the system of checks and balances that comes with being part of a band.

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
As one fifth of the multi-platinum, grammy-winning rock-rap group Linkin Park, Mike Shinoda gets to spit the occasional rap over lead screamer Chester Bennington's wails. "The Rising Tied," is a pure hip-hop album where Shinoda doesn't have to share scream time. Executive produced by Jay-Z, which means he had a cup of coffee with Shinoda, "The Rising Tied" proves two things: 1. Shinoda is a master beat maker as "Tied" has some of the phattest beats of the year -- "Petrified" and "In Stereo" come to mind. 2. Shinoda as a rapper is slightly above K-Fed territory. Luckily for him and us guest rappers abound including Styles of Beyond and Common. Despite Shinoda's lackluster MC skills, "The Rising Tied" is a surprisingly good album making Fort Minor more than a minor threat. GRADE: B-

From Hartford Courant
Linkin Park has sold millions of albums imitating a rap-rock formula established by a band that actually had something to say: Rage Against the Machine. So it's reasonable to ask why you should care that Linkin Park's MC and vocalist Mike Shinoda is releasing "The Rising Tied" on Tuesday, (Warner Bros.), essentially a solo album under the name Fort Minor.

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."