Nu-metal was weird.
Though the combination of heavy metal and hip-hop can spark some really excellent results, there was a lot of awfulness in the 90s.
At the center of nu-metal was progenitors of the sound, Korn and Limp Bizkit. Both bands dominated the decade, and for the most part, had a very successful discography. Korn’s debut is still a classic and Limp Bizkit defined a new attitude for the 90s.
Both bands were dominating the latter half of the 90s, with Korn giving a tongue-in-cheek reference to their influence with the album Follow the Leader. Though the record stands up, there’s one song that drags the entire thing: “All In the Family.”
The track features Korn frontman Jonathan Davis “battle rapping” Fred Durst, both hurling sophomoric bars at each other. It didn’t work well, and wound up sounding clearly fake and uninspired.
Of the song’s conception, Davis said (according to SongFact): “Fred was at the studio one day after a Korn-TV taping, and we said, ‘Let’s do a song together. Hey, man, let’s go back and forth and rip on each other like an old-school battle.’ I don’t know who’s idea it was. I can’t remember if it was mine, or Fieldy’s, or Fred’s, but we came up with the idea and we started writing and we worked on it together. I even came up with some bags on myself for Fred to say. It was all in good-natured fun.”
To his credit, Davis recognizes how awful the song is, saying in an interview to Noisey,
“It is the dumbest fucking track Korn ever did. [Laughs] That is what drugs and alcohol will do to a motherfucker. [Laughs]”
He reiterated this later in his career, saying to Metal Hammer,
“All In The Family is the worst song ever. It’s horrible. We were all drunk in the studio and I was trying to rap. At the time, we were having a good time, but now I just cringe. I’ve got nothing against Fred, it just sucks! We were out of our minds drunk! It shouldn’t have made the record.”
Nu-metal deserves its revival, this deserves to die in a ditch.