Step Up

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"Step Up"
Album-Hybrid Theory EP.jpg
Song by Hybrid Theory from the album Hybrid Theory EP
Recorded 1999
Released 1999
Format Digital, CD
Length 3:55
Stems Akai MPC 1000
Live debut September 12, 2001
Last played March 2, 2002
September 11, 2004 (Step Up/Nobody's Listening/It's Goin' Down)
Writer Mike Shinoda, Joe Hahn, Brad Delson
Producer Mike Shinoda
Label Mix Media Entertainment

Hybrid Theory EP track listing
  1. Carousel
  2. Technique (Short)
  3. Step Up
  4. And One
  5. High Voltage
  6. Part Of Me
  7. Track 7

"Step Up" was a song written by Mike Shinoda, Joe Hahn, and Brad Delson. It was originally released on the Hybrid Theory EP in 1999 and was later used as a b-side of the "In The End" single in 2001. Samples of "Step Up" were reused on "It's Goin' Down" and "Kyur4 Th Ich".

On the the song, Mike is calling out other "wannabe" emcees in his verses. Despite not having a songwriting credit, Chester Bennington is on the bridge of the song. Kyle Christener is credited for bass on the original EP but his name was removed from subsequent issues. This happened because his bass tracks weren't used in the EP.[1]


In Jeff Blue's book "One Step Closer: From Xero to #1: Becoming Linkin Park", he explained that "Step Up" was originally a Xero song. It was included on a demo CD from November 17, 1998. Tracks included on the CD were: "Rhinestone", "Esaul", "Pictureboard", "Fiends", "Stick N Move", "Carousel", "Slip", "Pointillism" and "Step Up." He describes Mike Shinoda's notes about the song, "Step Up" was written in response to the trend of sticking hip hop into heavy alternative music in a careless way. Mike felt that artists should strive to represent themselves and their music with authenticity, originality, and respect for hip hop. He went on to write that he didn’t consider himself a hip hop expert but the band needed to push themselves harder than they were, because hip hop was not a moniker to be thrown into a song for the sake of street credibility."[2]

It was re-recorded for the Hybrid Theory EP when Chester Bennington joined the band.

Mike recorded and then heavily edited two sampled speeches of his own voice for the song: "Using the waves of sound, the true master paralyzes his opponents, leaving him vulnerable to attack" before the second chorus, and "After years of pain staking research by the world's leading sound scientists, we here at the sound institute have invented a reliable audio weapons system. Actual movement of musical sound in space used to carefully attack and neutralize the cellular structure of the human body, and the question must be asked" on the bridge.


Note: Only the date of the very first release of each version is listed.


Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
Step Up Hybrid Theory EP 3:55 1999 1999
Step Up In The End (CD 2)

Hybrid Theory EP (Re-Issue)

In The End (JP EP)


Hybrid Theory (20th Anniversary Edition)

3:55 1999 October 9, 2001
  • Remastered. Sounds louder than the original release.
  • Listed as "Step Up (1999 Demo)" on the "In The End" single.


Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
Step Up (Live) Somewhere I Belong

Meteora (Mastered For iTunes)


Meteora (20th Anniversary Edition)

3:15 February 23, 2002 March 17, 2003
  • Recorded during the Projekt Revolution 2002 Tour.
  • Labeled "Step Up (Live From Proj. Revolutions)" on Compilation.
Step Up/Nobody's Listening/It's Goin' Down (Live) LP Underground 4.0 4:57 July 18, 2004 November 22, 2004
Step Up Hybrid Theory (20th Anniversary Edition) 3:53 February 23, 2002

February 24, 2002

October 9, 2020
Step Up/Nobody's Listening/It's Goin' Down (Live) Meteora (20th Anniversary Edition) 4:57 July 18, 2004 April 7, 2023
  • Same recording as the LPU 4.0 version.
  • Fades in at the start.
Step Up/Nobody's Listening/It's Goin' Down Meteora (20th Anniversary Edition) June 15, 2004 April 7, 2023
Step Up/Nobody's Listening/It's Goin' Down Meteora (20th Anniversary Edition) August 30, 2004 April 7, 2023


"Step Up" became a signature track towards the end of the Hybrid Theory touring cycle. It is possible the song was performed while the band was still under the moniker Hybrid Theory, but its first known appearances were on the Hybrid Theory European Tour in the Fall of 2001. During a press conference prior to the tour, Brad claimed the band would be using their soundcheck time on the tour to rehearse older songs for the upcoming tour (the Family Values Tour), mentioning "My December" and "Carousel" as songs being rehearsed (the latter of which never ended up being performed). He also added, "I'm using two extra Boss effects pedals, the Auto-Wah and the Phaser, to re-create the guitar sounds on another old song we'll be playing called “Step Up".[3] When performed, it was played as the second song in the encore, preceding "One Step Closer", moving down to the mid-set by the end of the tour. It maintained this position on the following Family Values Tour. It returned to its encore spot on the Countdown To Revolution tour briefly before being moved back down to the mid-set on the string of holiday festivals at the end of 2001. In 2002, it was performed mid-set with the addition of an extended bridge and ending.

The song did not return in full during the Meteora touring cycle, but it did appear in another form. During the International Tour in the summer of 2004, the Hip-Hop Medley debuted, which mashup up parts of "Step Up", "Nobody's Listening", and "It's Goin' Down". It was dropped once the cycle ended, but verses of "Step Up" occasionally appeared during the extended intro of "Points Of Authority" during the Minutes To Midnight touring cycle.

Though he never did the song in full, Mike incorporated part of "Step Up" into his set near the end of the Post Traumatic touring cycle. In London, he rapped the first verse and chorus over the bridge of "Sorry For Now", and would later do just the chorus in addition to other verses in Milano and Zurich. Once "Lift Off" was added to the set, Mike would use the chorus of "Step Up" as a refrain and later rap the first verse in Jakarta. At the final two shows of the cycle, "Step Up" was mashed up with "It's Goin' Down".


Linkin Park

Last Updated: August 12, 2016

Type Description First Played Last Played
Bridge Instrumental repeated January 29, 2002 February 24, 2002
Ending Jam outro featuring Mr. Hahn January 29, 2002 February 24, 2002
Alternative Hip-Hop Medley (Step Up/Nobody's Listening/It's Goin' Down) June 3, 2004 September 11, 2004

Mike Shinoda

Last Updated: May 3, 2020

Type Description First Played Last Played
Mashup w/ 'It's Goin' Down' September 6, 2019 September 8, 2019


  • Rob Bourdon
  • Joseph Hahn
  • Kyle Christner
  • Brad Delson
  • Chester Bennington
  • Mike Shinoda


  • Produced and mixed by Mike Shinoda
  • Mastered by Pat Kraus


External Links