Mike Shinoda is reflecting on the 20th anniversary of Linkin Park’s debut album Hybrid Theory and how nu metal helped bring more diversity to the rock landscape.
In a new interview with Metal Hammer, Shinoda said that around the time Hybrid Theory was released, “If you asked somebody what they were listening to they’d say… ‘Rock. I listen to hip hop. I listen to jazz.’ It wasn’t until five years later they’d say, ‘Everything’. ‘Hybrid Theory’ did some of that work. It was part of the progression towards breaking down boundaries between styles of music.”
Shinoda noted, “I listened to 90% rap music. Then I’d look at a lot of rock bands and I’d be like, ‘There’s something too white’ [about it]. That was one of the things that turned me off, especially hair metal. Hair metal felt like very white music and I was growing up in a very diverse city so I didn’t gravitate to it. That didn’t resonate with me.”
He continued, “And it wasn’t just about race. I don’t mean the color of skin. I just mean the culture of it. When nu metal started at the very beginning, it was a very diverse place.”
He reflects on how the term “nu metal” used to not be looked down upon (“It’s almost impossible to imagine!”) and how bands like Korn and Deftones really impacted the rock genre.
“…There was something really visceral and culture blending that was important,” said Shinoda.