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Jay-Z/Linkin Park - Collision Course - Warner Music In a little less than three years, mash-ups, songs that combine vocals and music from two usually disparate sources, have gone from underground trend to the focal point of being a hit show on MTV America. The first mash-up to gain notice was The Grey Album by British DJ Dangermouse, which mixed the vocals of Jay-Z's Black Album with the music from the Beatles' sacred White Album ~ and it gained an offbeat underground following.

Recent mash-ups include music that pairs Iggy Pop and Salt 'N Pepa, Missy Elliott with Joy Division and even the Sex Pistols and Madonna ~ bring them on I say ~ things can only get interesting for us with such a future. Still, most mash-ups are only available via unauthorized downloads, but this one looks the one that will put that trend to rest. Jay-Z decided to officially release an entire mash-up album on stuff he collaborated with nu-metal rockers Linkin Park.

Two studio albums, 25 songs and less than 90 minutes of music is the sum of their recorded output, and yet here Linkin Park are with their fifth album release, and doubtless yet another seven-figure unit shifter. Mind you, Jay-Z isn't exactly a novice when it comes to selling records either. The multi-platinum selling rapper who announced his retirement over a year ago, has somehow managed to tour continually, not to mention find time to shoot a film and even become president designate of rap record label, Def Jam. The aptly-named Collison Course documents this meeting of minds. The album, which features six studio cuts, was masterfully produced by Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda. And these are not simply Jay-Z rapping over Linkin Park's rock tunes, but rather true mashing, where new songs are created using components from Jay-Z's rhymes and samples, and Linkin Park's lyrics and guitar riffs.

For the most part, the results are genuinely interesting. Jay-Z in Dirt Off Your Shoulder/Lying From You lends weight to his rapping; the strings of Linkin Park's Faint offer an extravagant new background to parts of Jigga What/Faint. So far so good. The biggest fault anyone would probably find here is that the album is just too short in playing time, and tries so hard to be something it’s not ~ groundbreaking. Which it should well have been. At the most, this effort leaves a disappointing taste in your mouth, like a soggy cheese sandwich would.

Still, the very concept of this collaboration maybe enough for it to appeal to Jay-Z and Linkin Park fans alike, and perhaps it will inspire some even more innovative mash-ups in the future. In the meantime, Jay-Z can go back to being the world's richest rap pensioner while Linkin Park can start writing that third studio album they’ve been promising for years.

Read our other reviews:

Eric Clapton - Back Home       Best of 2005 - Various Artists       Missy Elliot - The Cookbook       Susheela Raman - Music For Crocodiles      


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