It’s hard not to view the Jay-Z Linkin Park mash-up e.p. Collision Course as more than cashing in on the phenomenon Danger Mouse brought to the mainstream with the Grey Album. All skepticism aside, this record works surprisingly well.Track to track the approach is varied, some songs take advantage of Jay-Z’s music, some use Linkin Park’s and others feature a clever mix of both. First up, the opening bleeps and bloops of “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” begin with Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda rapping “When I pretend / Everything is what I wanted to be / I look exactly what you always wanted to see / When I pretend / I can’t forget about the criminal I am / stealing second after second just cause I know I can.” The song then immediately shifts into the three-chord crunch of “Lying From You” with Jay-Z’s unforgettable “Kick that dirt off your shoulder” echoing with a similar staccato to the distorted guitars.
Later on, a few verses from “Papercut” are dropped in place into the sly stroll of Jay´s “Big Pimpin'” which strangely enough almost thematically make sense. In the mix of “Jigga What” and “Faint” Linkin Park’s musical structure takes center stage with Jay-Z speeding up his rhymes to match the tempo. However, it’s not all a perfect blending, as the somber tone of “Numb” clashes with the confident swagger of “Encore.”
The last song features riffs from both Linkin Park’s “Points of Authority” and “One Step Closer” coupled with Jay-Z’s lyrics from “99 Problems.” Along with the rampaging outro of Chester Bennington screaming “Shut up” it’s an impressively strong way for this e.p. to end.