20 Years Ago: Nu Metal Goes Mainstream with Korn's 'Follow The Leader'

August 20, 2018

By the time Korn released their third album, Follow The Leader on August 18th, 1998, they were confident in themselves as artists. But what they were unprepared for was the explosion of the album's success. With currently more than 7 million records sold in the U.S., and over 14 million sold worldwide, Follow The Leader has gone down as the band's most successful album.

The record hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and their "Family Values" tour to support the record was one of the concert events of the year, giving a platform for other up-and-coming artists like Linkin Park, Orgy, Incubus, Rammstein, and introducing Ice Cube to metal fans.

The band's sudden rise to fame came at an odd time for the band. There were internal struggles between band members, as well as issues with substance abuse, sleeping troubles, ego trips and all of the nasty side of the sex, drugs & rock n' roll lifestyle.

Fame had only escalated the band's internal problems, and in many cases almost lead to Korn breaking up. They resorted to excessive drugs and partying to cope with their popularity to the point where it made its way into the studio.

It took about three months for Korn to record Follow The Leader, which merged the band's love for both heavy metal bands like Pantera and Sepultra, and rap. They included cameos by Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst on "All in the Family", Ice Cube on "Children of the Korn", and Tre Hardson of The Pharcude for "Cameltosis."

As a silly bonus track, the band included a very stoned discussion of Cheech & Chong's "Earache My Eye", as well as a cover of the song to prove that they weren't completely all about anger and darkness.