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Gen Z Reacts to Nu-Metal, Calls Fred Durst the ‘Coolest Dad Ever’

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What do the young listeners of Generation Z think of classic nu-metal from the ’90s and early 2000s?

You know, staple nu-metal acts such as Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Korn and more.

That’s what the award-winning REACT series asked participating Gen Z members in a YouTube video that tracks their reactions to 12 different classic nu-metal songs. Each song is one round of the game, and the participants give their thoughts on every track.

That leads to some gems in reactions to Limp Bizkit (the band is “kinda vibey,” while vocalist Fred Durst “is like the coolest dad ever), Papa Roach (“Why does he look like the lead singer of Smash Mouth?”) and Static-X (“His hair is so high, and it’s bouncing!”). Watch the full video below.

READ MORE: 50 Best Nu-Metal Albums Ever

Perhaps as a testament to many nu-metal hits’ staying power, it seems several of the participants are familiar with they lyrics of the songs, even if they may not specifically know of each band.

Indeed, even if they weren’t familiar with the concept of nu-metal, they seem to know groups like Linkin Park (and the band’s hit “In the End”) just fine. It almost seems like the music videos are more dated than the songs. (“Every single person in here could be in the same era[‘s] anti-drug ad,” one says of Papa Roach’s “Last Resort” video.)

Does Gen Z Know 90s Nu Metal?! (Linkin Park, Rage Against the Machine, Limp Bizkit)

But regardless of this group’s reaction, there was already some proof that Generation Z is bringing nu-metal back, and appreciating the alt-metal subgenre, in its own way. And why shouldn’t they?

After all, what more evidence could you need than a New York Times piece last year that argued just that — that a nu-metal renaissance is upon us — while pointing to recent heavy music festivals such as the nu-metal-focused Sick New World as proof?

Nu-Metal at New Heights in 2024

At the start of last year, internet searches showed interest in nu-metal was at its highest in 20 years.

Of course, nu-metal hit it its peak in the early 2000s. So around this time is the 20th anniversary for a lot of big nu-metal records that came out back then.

Though Korn technically spearheaded the genre in the mid-’90s, nu-metal didn’t really take off until a few years later. But it was really one of the biggest musical styles of the early 2000s. (REACT labeling a 1992 Rage Against the Machine song as nu-metal is a tad on the early side, though the group were certainly forerunners to the style.)

READ MORE: Deftones’ Chino Moreno Says No One Should Be Embarrassed to Like Nu-Metal

Linkin Park, Papa Roach, Limp Bizkit, Evanescence and Disturbed were just some of the other big names that eventually became associated with the nu-metal label. It’s all part of music history.

Watch More: Nu-Metal Bands Talking About Their Classic Albums

What do you think about this? Do you have fond memories of nu-metal? Or if you’re Gen Z, what do you make of the subgenre?

Every ‘Big 4’ Nu-Metal Album, Ranked From Worst to Best

Between Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and System of a Down — indeed, the “Big 4” bands of nu-metal — how do all their albums stack up when ranked together? It’s no walk in the park pitting these discographies against each other. Read below to see every album by nu-metal’s “Big 4,” ranked from worst to best.

Gallery Credit: Philip Trapp + Chad Childers





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