When Linkin Park were working on "Guilty All the Same" – the lead single off their sixth full-length, The Hunting Party, due out June 17th – they hit a wall. They had written the song's bridge to accommodate a rap, but the group's multi-instrumentalist and rapper Mike Shinoda felt his contribution would be "expected" by fans – so they turned to one of their heroes for inspiration, literally. "The idea came up to have Rakim on it and luckily our engineer, who's from New York, knew him through a friend," Shinoda says, sitting next to the group's singer, Chester Bennington, in the exclusive video interview premiering here. After speaking with the rap legend, he felt Rakim was "a perfect match for the song."
In the clip, Bennington explains how The Hunting Party became what Linkin Park are promising to be one of their most aggressive offerings. "I think people were really expecting us to go further into the EDM side and further into pushing the pop side of what we're doing," he says. "For us, that was the direction we were gravitating towards but at a certain point it was like, we don't know if that's what we want to do. Let's move somewhere else."
In addition to Rakim, The Hunting Party features some other notable guests. Helmet frontman Page Hamilton joined the band on "All for Nothing," System of a Down guitarist-vocalist Daron Malakian played on "Rebellion" and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine contributed to "Drawbar."
Earlier this year, Shinoda told Rolling Stone he initially had some worries about the group's heavier direction on The Hunting Party. "I was thinking, 'Oh, shit. Rock radio's not gonna play this, are they?" he said. So he consulted with his manager who confirmed his fears. "We can't rely on a home run at radio," Shinoda said. "But I'm always up for a challenge. Besides, I believe in the music."