Trent Reznor’s Mocking Of Rap-Rock Collaborations

Rock and rap have been treated like each other’s nemesis throughout the years. Being the outcasts of society is something rock musicians have always been proud of, besides breaking the norm, expressing intense emotions through music and lyrics, and even defying social norms with their outfits and off-camera lifestyles. Rap music, on the other hand, is a relatively new genre. Emerging in the 1970s and also known as hip-hop, it was not prominent as rock music until the 2000s.

The two genres seem very distant from each other in terms of the musical beats, lyrics, and even aesthetical presentation. However, some musicians found ways to fuse both genres. For example, Linkin Park delivered successful rock/rap fusion performances with their late singer Chester Bennington’s brutal vocals and Mike Shinoda’s fast lyrics. Not only rockstars but rap artists have also benefitted from the sound of electric guitars, drum solos, and sometimes even brutal vocals in their beats.

Even though fusing the two genres is a peaceful way of uniting fanbases and making sure everyone has a chance to explore other genres without getting out of their comfort zones, it also has haters. Nine Inch Nails thought rap/rock collaborations were ridiculous and even made an April Fools’ joke about it by involving many prominent names of the hip-hop world.

In 2009, Trent Reznor took the spotlight on April 1 and made a surprise Nine Inch Nails album release announcement. ‘Strobe Light,’ which was ‘produced’ by Timbaland, was the name of the album the musician released. It seemed to be ready to download and featured many prominent artists of the time. They even made a website for it for fans to download, only to face disappointment as it was an April Fools’ joke.

Photo Credit: Nine Inch Nails Wiki

The website featured a gif that matched a ‘strobing’ rhythm, so the joke was successfully executed. The artists featured in the album’s ‘tracks’ were Chris Martin, Jay-Z, Bono, Sheryl Crow, Justin Timberlake, Maynard James Keenan, Fergie, Al Jourgensen, and Alicia Keys. The joke continued as the announcement stated that they would not use the fans’ private email addresses unless they could make money off of them.

It also came with a tracklisting, of course:

  1. “Intro Skit”
  2. “Everybody’s Doing It” (featuring Chris Martin, Jay-Z, and Bono)
  3. “Black T-Shirt”
  4. “Pussygrinder” (featuring Sheryl Crow)
  5. “Coffin On The Dancefloor”
  6. “This Rhythm Is Infected”
  7. “Slide To The Dark Side”
  8. “Even Closer” (featuring Justin Timberlake and Maynard James Keenan)
  9. “On The List (she’s not)”
  10. “Clap Trap Crack Slap”
  11. “Laid, Paid And Played” (featuring Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas and Al Jourgensen)
  12. “Feel Like Being Dead Again”
  13. “Still Hurts” (featuring Alicia Keys)
  14. “Outro Skit”

As time went by and many assumed that the case was closed, a NIN fan released a fan-made album with the same name, ‘Strobe Light,’ on April 1, 2019, a whole decade later. The record consisted of mashups and follows of the same tracklist that was originally announced and definitely put a smile on many NIN fans’ faces.