Dre originally sang the hook, until Busta Rhymes listened to the beat and Linkin Park kept "popping up in his head". The song was first performed on May 2, 2008 during Busta's concert at Club Index in Germany. However, he was more or less introducing the song to them, as the studio version was played and Busta occasionally sang over the song, or lip synced to it while holding his microphone down. The first performance with Linkin Park was at their rehearsal studio Third Encore on May 25, 2008, to an audience of 14 members of the Linkin Park fan club who were brought there by surprise. During the Projekt Revolution 2008 tour the song's performance featured Adam Monroe of Ashes Divide on the keyboard and Spliff Star on backing vocals and was played during Linkin Park's set. During Busta Rhymes' concerts, where Linkin Park isn't present, the studio instrumental is played and Busta usually tells the audience to move their arms up and down during Mike Shinoda's verse.
The song appears on the soundtrack of Madden NFL 09 and it is used as the theme song for its coverage of the 2008 NBA Western Conference Finals. This marked the second time a Shinoda song was used during the NBA play-offs, the first being "Remember the Name" by Fort Minor. The song was also used in the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies home World Series game before the team took the field in Games 3, 4, and 5 and as part of a video reel of highlights for the team leading up to the World Series, with a road in the background as the team took their playoff run "on the road".
The music video premiered all day on BET on Tuesday, April 29, the same day as the video for its first single, "Don't Touch Me (Throw da Water on 'em)." The video also premiered for 24 hours only on Yahoo! Music on April 29. That same day, "We Made It" went to radio stations worldwide. The video also featured cameo appearances from Styles of Beyond, Bishop Lamont and Lamar Odom. Chris Robinson directed the video. * The warehouse in which the parts of the music video was filmed is the same location at which Linkin Park's Meteora album artwork and album cover were done. The video starts with the credits saying Busta Rhymes and Linkin Park and then the titles We Made It appear on the screen. Then you see Linkin Park walking through the warehouse and Busta Rhymes in a New York flat. Then it cuts to scenes of people walking through the streets and people running a race through the rain.
This video also marks one of the first appearances of the Beats audio headphones.
Rhymes says that the inspiration for this song was from what happened to T.I. after the BET awards:
The record was inspired by the situation that transpired with T.I. right after the BET Hip-Hop Awards. My legal situations were current, and his legal situations were current, and Akon had his, you know, history of legal situations in the past ... We wanted people to — as bad as things might look for us sometimes — just know that it ain't over until you say it's over at the end of the day. 'Cause nobody can really dictate what the outcome of your destiny, what your life is going to end up becoming, unless you let it happen that way.
The song debuted at #14 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming his 12th and the bands 10th top 20 hit in the United Kingdom. The single peaked at number 10 and remained there after the physical release. The single also had significant success in Germany peaking at #11 on the German Single Charts.