With the tragic passing of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, music fans have revisited the classic album Collision Course in tributes to Bennington all over the internet. The album was released in 2004 and, despite its short length, was one of the most innovative albums of its time.
While plenty of mash-ups songs and albums floated around the internet at the time, Collision Course was one of the first mash-ups to hit mainstream popularity. Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album had become a viral sensation. Danger mouse combined Jay-Z’s The Black Album with The Beatles’ White Album.
According to MTV, Jay-Z was inspired after hearing The Grey Album and contacted Mike Shinoda about a future Linkin Park collaboration.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Jay-Z & Linkin Park Released the Hit Mash-Up Album Collision Course in 2004
The wildly popular Jay-Z and Linkin Park mash-up album Collision Course was released in 2004. The album had six tracks and ran just 21:18 in length. Given its brevity, the collaboration is technically considered an EP. Shinoda spoke with MTV about the creative process including Jay-Z re-recording the vocals with the new beats.
“Jay and I realized it’s better to re-perform the rap vocals if you’re gonna do it to a new beat because the vibe changes and you have to deliver your verse a little differently,” Shinoda told MTV.com. “There was no ego at all working with Jay. If I asked him to perform something a certain way or put a vocal line here or there, he was happy to do it. He’s really easy to work with.”
2. The Album Had 6 Tracks Including “Numb/Encore”
The album sounded uniquely different from any other album Jay-Z has done and stands the test of time. Jay-Z spoke to MTV about his desire to push the envelope as an artist.
“I think as artists we’re really just inspired to push the envelope and do something different,” Jay-Z told MTV. “That’s what’s exciting about great art or great music, when you combine something in a new way or do something people said couldn’t be done. I think Collision Course is that kind of project. When you hear it, it just sounds right.”
Jay-Z would later serve as the executive producer on Shinoda’s solo project called Fort Minor. Here’s some behind-the-scenes footage of Jay-Z listening to the album:
3. Linkin Park First Played “Dirt Off Your Shoulder/Lying From You” For Jay-Z in the Studio
As the above video shows the band and Jay-Z meeting in the studio, Linkin Park first played a short clip of the mash-up of “Dirt Off Your Shoulder/Lying From You” for Jay-Z. From there, Shinoda played “Numb/Encore” for Jay-Z.
The two talked a bit about adjusting parts of the song. After Shinoda played the clip again, Jay-Z looked visibly impressed.
“Good s–t, man. I don’t think they ready for it,” Jay-Z tells Shinoda.
4. Paul McCartney Performed With the Duo at the 2006 Grammys
During the 2006 Grammys, Paul McCartney collaborated with Jay-Z and Linkin Park during their performance of “Numb/Encore”. McCartney came out in the middle to sing a few lines from The Beatles classic song “Yesterday”.
The album came to fruition after Shinoda and Jay-Z exchanged emails. According to MTV, Shinoda emailed Jay-Z three sample tracks.
“I didn’t just want to say, ‘Hell, yeah, let’s do it’ — I wanted to show him what it might sound like if we did it,” Shinoda told MTV. “And I think Jay was really excited by that. After that, he wanted to talk only by e-mail instead of in person because he thought that would save a little bit of the excitement for when we really got to meet.”
5. Jay-Z Looked Shocked by Chester Bennington’s Voice the First Time They Performed Together
Bennington had one of the most unique voices in music as Jay-Z witnessed first hand. The above video went viral after fans noticed Jay-Z’s surprised face after Bennington belted out one of his screaming lyrics.
“You can only put shots of me looking cool, because Jay-Z is going to get here later on and he’s way cooler than me,” Bennington said in the Collision Course documentary.
Bennington committed suicide and was found dead on July 20, 2017.