Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda may not have always been a big rock fan, but in a recent Metal Hammer feature the co-vocalist shared the '90s song that changed his mind about what was happening in rock at the time. That song would be Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name."

Mike Shinoda's Past Views on Rock

Throughout the years, Shinoda has often spoken of how hip-hop was a big influence on him growing up and how he even distanced himself from multiple rock movements in his formative years.

In a 2020 Metal Hammer interview, he relayed that hair metal's lack of diversity turned him off as a kid growing up, noting, "I'd look at a lot of rock bands and I'd be like, 'There's something too white [about it].' That was one of the things that turned me off, especially hair metal. Hair metal felt like very white music and I was growing up in a very diverse city so I didn't gravitate to it."

He's also spoken about the nu-metal movement that Linkin Park were often lumped in with, telling Kerrang Radio through, "Nu-metal went from the biggest thing on the planet to the corniest thing on the planet to the coolest thing again." He also relayed to Vulture that he and his band were not copacetic with what he called "the tough guy shit" and the image often associated with nu-metal.

And even in the recent Metal Hammer feature 10 Songs That Changed My Life, he admits, "I didn't like much rock at the time [the early '90s] - grunge didn't speak to me like hip-hop did."

How Did Rage Against the Machine Change His Mind?

In speaking with Metal Hammer, the Linkin Park musician singled out "Killing in the Name" by Rage Against the Machine as one of the songs that changed his life.

He recalled, "I didn’t like much rock at the time – grunge didn’t speak to me like hip hop did – but 'Killing in the Name' changed my mind."

He added, "The things Tom Morello was doing with his guitar were amazing – taking influences from funk and hip hop and making them super-heavy – and Zack [de la Rocha] was a phenomenon. I couldn’t even process what was happening with that group, it was just so good."

Rage Against the Machine, "Killing in the Name"

How Rage Against the Machine Influenced Linkin Park's Breakout Hit

While appearing on The Allison Hagendorf Show late in 2023, Shinoda credited "Killing in the Name" with a creative decision that Linkin Park made on "One Step Closer," the song that broke them to the music world. Therefore, it actually did help change his life.

"Chester [Bennington] and I were in the lounge, trying to figure this out, and I said to him, 'What do you think about just saying, "Shut up!",'" Shinoda explained. "He was like, 'Just saying it?' and I was like, 'No, you'd, like, scream it, but just that, nothing bigger. You know that Rage Against The Machine song, 'Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me!' [Killing In The Name]? Like that!' And he's like, 'Oh! That's gonna be great!' He was like, 'I'm pumped! Let's do this!'"

Shinoda says Bennington was psyched about the Rage Against the Machine-esque approach they were taking, feeling that it would be a moment when they played live where the fans would tear the place apart.

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"We both knew immediately that that was the best part of the song, it was gonna be incredible. He'd been screaming on a lot of stuff, but he hadn't done it on that song yet," said Shinoda. "We told [producer] Don [Gilmore], we walked in, we were like, 'Wrap it up. That guitar thing you guys are doing? Stop. Get the mic up, you gotta hear this thing.'"

Linkin Park, "One Step Closer"

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Gallery Credit: Chad Childers, Loudwire

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