Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda says metal felt “too white” before nu metal

Linkin Park's debut record turns 20 this week

Linkin Park co-founder Mike Shinoda believes that metal felt “too white” until the popularisation of nu metal, pointing the finger primarily at the hair metal subgenre.

Shinoda, who is of Japanese descent through his father, made the revelation in a recent interview with Metal Hammer.

Early in Linkin Park’s career, Shinoda said he would “look at a lot of rock bands and I’d be like, ‘There’s something too white’ [about them]”.


“That was one of the things that turned me off, especially hair metal,” he said.

“It wasn’t just about race. I don’t mean the colour of skin. I just mean the culture of it. When nu metal started at the very beginning, it was a very diverse place.”

Having grown up in a “very diverse city”, Shinoda admitted that he “didn’t gravitate to” metal before nu metal emerged, adding that it “didn’t resonate with me”.

Linkin Park’s critically acclaimed debut record, ‘Hybrid Theory’, celebrates its 20th anniversary this month.

In a recent reflection on the album, NME called ‘Hybrid Theory’ “a furious blend of hip-hop swagger, rock catharsis, pop ambition and electronic escapism”.


“They only seem like big songs in retrospect,” Shinoda told NME earlier this month.

“The expectations of us as a band were growing so quickly. We were just kids being expected to headline big festivals with 40 minutes of music. The pressure was immense.”

The album went on to influence a host of Linkin Park’s contemporaries, including Brockhampton, Hot Milk and Bring Me The Horizon.

“Even with the record we’re doing right now, we still reference them,” Bring Me The Horizon keyboardist Jordan Fish told NME earlier in October.