Michael Kenji Shinoda is an American musician, singer, songwriter, rapper, record producer, and graphic designer. He co-founded Linkin Park in 1996 and is the band's rhythm guitarist, primary songwriter, keyboardist, producer, and lead vocalist. Shinoda later created a hip-hop-driven side project, Fort Minor, in 2004. He has also served as a producer for tracks and albums by Lupe Fiasco, Styles of Beyond and The X-Ecutioners.Born in Panorama City, California and raised in Agoura Hills, Shinoda formed Xero, which later became Linkin Park, with two of his high school friends: Brad Delson and Rob Bourdon in 1996, later joined by Joe Hahn, Dave Farrell and Mark Wakefield. Chester Bennington replaced Wakefield as the lead vocalist. The band later signed a record deal with Warner Bros Records.Shinoda is also the co-founder of Machine Shop Records, a California-based record label. Outside of music, Shinoda is an artist and graphic designer.