People are paying tribute to the former Linkin Park frontman on what would have been his 44th birthday. Bennington passed away in 2017 at the age of 41.
Not only has rock suffered a huge loss, so has hip-hop, in a roundabout way. Undoubtedly, Linkin Park’s remix albums, Reanimated and the oft-maligned Jay-Z mash-up Collision Course, exposed hip-hop to a greater audience.
Since Linkin Park's 2000 debut album Hybrid Theory, the band has proven unafraid to tap into various genres -- especially hip-hop. Because of their love for experimentation, Linkin Park always left their imprint on every song they tackled.
It all started 15 years ago when a gifted producer who called himself Danger Mouse edited a seamless mash-up of Jay-Z’s The Black Album with The Beatle's The White Album Though it was created for fun, The Grey Album quickly went viral and became an underground sensation. Danger Mouse went on to major success as a producer and rapper and his mash-up attracted attention from major names in big places.
Seeing dollar signs, MTV decided to put together a mash-up series that involved some of the biggest bands working with the hottest rappers. One of the first people the network approached was Jay-Z, who liked the idea. When the network asked him who he’d want to work with he answered, “Linkin Park.”
In November 2004, they made a huge splash in music when they teamed up with Hov for the collaborative EP Collision Course, topping the Billboard 200 in its debut week. The album was mostly produced by Linkin Parks co-founder and member Mike Shinoda and Jay-Z.
The lead single was 'Numb/Encore' It was released as a single on December 13, 2004, by Warner Bros., Machine Shop, Def Jam, and Roc-A-Fella Records. The song is a mash-up combining lyrics from Linkin Park's 'Numb' and 'Encore' by Jay-Z, both released in 2003.
The song won Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 2006 Grammy Awards.
In September 2017 Jay-Z gave a beautiful tribute to Bennington by performing one of their mashups, 'Numb/Encore,' at BBC Live Lounge. He explained why he chose to perform 'Numb/Encore' to honor Bennington.
"A lot of people, we don’t deal with what’s happening to us, we just keep going," the rapper continued. "Especially for a performer like that, you just start numbing yourself. You become numb. He’s singing it, he’s telling you: become numb." (Jay-Z, 2017)
The Grey Album practically came to life at the 2006 Grammy's when the Grammys decided to get in on the action, too; the 2006 ceremony featured cross-genre pairings from all over the map. The biggest pairing, was definitely Paul McCartney's blessing of the Jay/Linkin Park track 'Numb/Encore' with a few lines from the Beatles' much-beloved 'Yesterday.'
Listen to Collision Course (EP) below.