If there is any individual track on Collision Course that makes sense, it’s album closer “Points Of Authority/99 Problems/One Step Closer.” The mashup’s component singles are thematically similar enough that Linkin Park and Jay-Z are not referring to completely disparate phenomena, and “99 Problems” was already a hard rock-tinged banger with a screeching electric guitar sample, so the buzzsaw engine revving of “Points Of Authority” does little to harsh Jay’s normally soulful vibe here. Not to mention, Jay and co-producer Mike Shinoda have eerily good chemistry, trading verses back-and-forth so fluidly it makes one regret Kid Rock’s atrocious attempt to back Jay up at the 2004 BET Awards (evidence of this has mercifully been scrubbed from the internet entirely).
Otherwise, there is almost no part of the 2004 EP — a blatant cash-in on the popularity of two of the biggest names in their respective genres by MTV — that should work. “Numb” is a song about depression, while “Encore” is a triumphant victory lap — the pairing seems fundamentally discordant.
… And yet…
The album was a revelation, of sorts, that two things that do not seem to go together very well actually go together perfectly, like oxtails and peanut butter, and in doing so, became the first legitimate plank in the bridge between two disparate worlds that are so closely related today that it’s nearly impossible to categorize many artists as either-or.