On Monday Jan. 31st, rap-metal band Linkin Park will pull into Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center for a stop on their A Thousand Suns World Tour. Over the last 15 years there have been many acts that have presented themselves as rap-rock acts and attempted to sustain their careers while maintaining the sensibilities and credibility of both genres. Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock come to mind as having a successful run, but Linkin Park claims the prize for staying power. In 2000, the band effortlessly reached rap and rock fans with their chart smasher "In The End" from their No. 1 debut album, Hybrid Theory. "In The End" is arguably the epitome of an original rap-metal track. The video was as intriguing and visually stimulating as the lyrics were thought provoking. At times the lyrics of rapper Mike Shinoda and lead singer Chester Bennington overlap, adding depth. The performance comes off natural in every aspect and cannot be associated with the overt, contrived and almost satirical version of "hip" displayed by similar acts.When you think of the fusion of rock and hip-hop, historically, you have to give credit to Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C. and their remake of the rock juggernaut "Walk This Way," the song and video that first made a tangible and palpable connection between the two genres and cultures. The song was released in 1986 and was a bona fide mash-up before the phrase even existed. It was a monster hit that aptly appealed to both audiences. Even before that collaboration, Run DMC's production had a heavy rock influence that could be heard on hits like "Rock Box" and "King of Rock." That was due in part to producer and Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin, who has come full circle by co-producing Linkin Park's latest No. 1 album A Thousand Suns. Lead rapper Mike Shinoda, who also produced a hip hop collaborative album called The Rising Tied w/Lupe Fiasco, Common and Black Thought, said Linkin Park was looking for a more progressive sound than on previous albums.
"On the last record, we were trying to figure out where we wanted to go. I mean, we were in a box. We were Linkin Park, who makes this certain sound, and we wanted to make a record that didn't sound like that," Shinoda told Allhiphop.com. "When we first started the demos for the record it was clearly different, and we were a little hesitant bringing a producer on board. But once we met with Rick, we knew it was going to be a good fit." The single "Wretches and Kings" from A Thousand Suns is an outstanding track that is heavily influenced by Public Enemy. Fans may also remember the number one album Collision Course, a mash-up of hits from Jay-Z and Linkin Park. Linkin Park's A Thousand Suns World Tour will Play the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa Mon Jan. 31st at 7pm. more info. www.Linkinpark.com