If you’ve been following Linkin Park’s diverse career, side projects and assorted guest appearances, you’ll know that Mike Shinoda at times has dropped some pretty serious bars, and excellent wordplay through his hip-hop oriented side project Fort Minor, and the various hip hop oriented Linkin Park tracks sprinkled over the band’s diverse genre shifting 20 year discography.
What you may not know is that prior to the band’s 1999 Hybrid Theory EP, and before the release of Linkin Park’s massive major label debut, Mike wrote and recorded tracks under the stage name of ‘Kenji’, a name he tested for a short while before deciding to scrap it due to listeners being confused over how to spell and pronounce his hip-hop moniker. Previously, the only recorded tracks with this moniker were found on Linkin Park’s 1996 demo tape, when they went by the name of Xero. Among fans, those 4 tracks were originally thought to the only Xero Mike Shinoda demo tracks in existence, until today.
Earlier today Reddit user Almamu, unearthed some rare gems, sharing some very high quality FLAC rips from a series of old rap albums titled ‘Rapology’ featuring “Kenji” (Mike Shinoda) and “Xero” (early Linkin Park). The songs, which were first discovered by the user LP Drew and were later posted by user Almamu feature rhymes by Mike Shinoda under the “Kenji” moniker and showcase DJ Joe Hahn as “Artofficial” on two previously unknown and obscure tracks, ‘Drop’ and ‘Fiends’. While the tracks are over 20 years old, they are notable for some of the truly fantastic wordplay on display from Shinoda himself.
You can listen to both tracks on YouTube below, courtesy of our Linkin Park sister site, The Linkin Park Association:
Upon learning of both tracks’ discovery, Mike took to his twitter account to discuss the origin of these tracks as well as to confirm their authenticity.
What do you think of the tracks? Discuss in our comments!