"It felt like horror movie music, so dark and aggressive and dangerous." Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda on the three hip hop acts that changed his life

Mike Shinoda
(Image credit: Press)

It should be of no surprise that Mike Shinoda is a huge hip hop fan. The Linkin Park legend did, after all, make his career in a band that merged rock and rap seamlessly, and has made no secret of his love of rap music since his rise to fame.

In the latest issue of Metal Hammer, Shinoda discusses three pillars of hip hop in particular that had a profound effect on him as a young fan growing up.

"Every knows that I love Public Enemy," he remarks. "The first show I ever went to was Anthrax with Public Enemy, a rap-rock show, which is kinda funny considering that rap-rock is what I ended up doing. A cool first show to go to, right? Less cool that I went with my dad as my chaperone! It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back is an amazing album – so aggressive and abrasive and political, but also funny, and Rebel Without A Pause was a great intro point."

Shinoda also salutes a Beastie Boys classic and the work of one of hip hop's most influential rappers and producers.

“Beastie Boys’ Check Your Head was so shocking when it came out, because they brought their punk rock roots into hip hop in a way that was so unexpected and irreverent and exciting," notes the rapper/producer. "I’d loved Licensed To Ill, but then kinda drifted away when they put out Paul’s Boutique because there was so much other cool stuff going on in hip hop at the time, but So What’cha Want pulled me right back in.

“Dr. Dre is another artist where I collected everything he was doing," he adds. "Deep Cover was the first time I heard Snoop Dogg, this new superstar, and it felt like horror movie music, so dark and aggressive and dangerous."

You can read more about the songs that helped to shape Shinoda's life and career in the new issue of Metal Hammer, which features a world exclusive cover interview with Tool and is on sale now.

Tool on the cover of Metal Hammer

(Image credit: Future)
Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.