Last week in the series, I talked about Dr. Dre, who I have pretty known my whole life (music wise) because of my mother and the amount of old school rap that was played on our cassette player located in my parent’s room! However, for this week I will be discussing my admiration for Rick Rubin.
Rick Rubin is a very special person for me, because by the time I started listening to Linkin Park in 2009, he had just finished working with him on their album “Minutes To Midnight” (2008). This was my first memory of him working with anybody that I enjoyed at the time. So, while I was getting myself deeper and deeper into the world of Linkin Park, I was learning what could (at my own pace) of this interesting music producer. I call him “interesting” because although most producers want to work with a large variety of acts, they usually tend to stick to one genre and stay there for the rest of their lives. Rick Rubin has had most of his success in heavy metal, hard rock and rap music.
The two most popular acts I learned in the first two years was Jay-Z and the Beastie Boys. He has worked with many, many other bands over the years, but these were the two that sort of explain the reason why he helped Linkin Park in the past.
The album I associate Rick helping produce the most is “The Black Album” that was released in 2003. This was supposed to be the final album for the rapper before he retired from the music scene, but considering a year later he and Linkin Park came together like Run-DMC and Aerosmith did in the late 1980’s with “Walk This Way”. Although I don’t think they released an album like Jay-Z and LP did; technically they did an album and put on a concert and would later crash each other’s tours to perform “Numb/Encore” every once in a while. When Chester Bennington died in 2017, Jay-Z was out on tour with his wife Beyoncé, and he performed the hit but instead of doing Chester’s parts, the audience sang every word. It was very beautiful and a great gesture to Chester, his family and the rest of the band too!
Rick Rubin was the reason for this match to come together in the early 2000’s, because he had just finished working with Jay-Z and was close to LP too, as Rick is known to experiment in the nu metal scene in that time frame. The reason why it was so huge for these two acts to do this was because not many people went outside their comfort zones in the music world, you stayed in your genre for most of your career. At least, that’s my take on the scene and I was very much part of it since I really didn’t like to go outside of my bubble gum pop world although there were was a time were I enjoyed rap music, but you can tell I didn’t listen to a lot of rap between the year 1999 to 2002, because I was busy enjoying Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys too much to really pay attention!
Nowadays, it’s really accepted to like a wide variety of music and not to mention foreign languages that come with these new changes too! Radio is still a big way to introduce new music to a larger audience to the world, but it’s also important to realize that record producers to go through this switch too! They will always stay within their comfort zone, which I think for Mr. Rubin, it is heavy metal, but from time to time he will find something different to sink his teeth into and it might shock a few people that follow his journey just as much as the other musicians too.
So, if you are a lover of Rick Rubin’s work, who is your favorite act(s)? And do you have a favorite era of time too?