Kid Rock, born Robert James Ritchie, hales from Detroit, Michigan, and is one of the pioneers of the rap metal genre. His 1998 album, Devil Without a Cause, was certified eleven times platinum by the RIAA. His later work would shift towards southern rock, country, blues rock, and hard rock. He is best known for his songs “I Am the Bullgod,” “Bawitdaba,” “Cowboy,” “Only God Knows Why,” “Picture,” “American Badass,” “All Summer Long,” and “Born Free.”
Starting off breakdancing and DJing in the Detroit area, he earned his name from his basement DJ parties where people would say “that white kid rock.” Kid Rock began releasing albums in 1990, and quickly became one of the most respected rappers in Detroit. He released five albums and EPs between 1990-1997, culminating with a contract with Lava/Atlantic. In 1995, he formed his backing band, Twisted Brown Trucker. During the recording sessions for Devil Without a Cause, the record company asked him to remove the line “I’m going platinum” on the eponymous song, but he refused. The album contained six singles, including “Welcome 2 the Party,” “I Am the Bullgod,” “Bawitdaba,” “Cowboy,” “Only God Knows Why,” and “Wastin’ Time.” While the album was slow to gain success, with the first single failing, the second single generated MTV buzz and was played on WAAF in Boston. By the time the third single was released in April 1999, “Bawitdaba,” the album had gone platinum. In the summer of 1999, he toured with Limp Bizkit, garnering more attention from nu metal fans. Later that year, he would play Woodstock ’99. He played one of the most memorable performances in VMA history in 1999 by pairing with Aerosmith and RUN-DMC to perform “Bawitdaba” and “Walk This Way.”
In 2000, Rock acquired his entire back catalog of music and re-recorded much of his earlier material for the album History of Rock. It included the songs “American Badass,” which sampled Metallica‘s “Sad But True,” as well as songs from previous releases The Polyfuze Method and Early Mornin Stoned Pimp. It reached #2 on the Billboard 200. In the summer of 2000, Rock toured with Metallica, Korn, System of a Down, and Powerman 5000 on the Summer Sanitarium Tour, followed by a tour of his own to promote History of Rock.
In 2001, Kid Rock landed a role in the David Spade comedy Joe Dirt. On November 20, 2001, he released Cocky. It was the first album to consist of original studio recordings since Devil Without a Cause in 1998. Its first single, “Forever,” was released during the beginning of the decline of nu metal and rap metal, resulting in a much weaker performance for this album at first. Later, “The Lonely Road of Faith” and “You Never Met a Motherfucker Quite Like Me” were released as mildly successful singles. The final single, “Picture,” featuring Sheryl Crow, was the album’s biggest hit by far. It was a country crossover song that resulted in a #1 single. This single’s success was the beginning of a more country and southern-rock tinged sound in his albums.
In 2003, Kid Rock’s self titled album was released, and contained little resemblance to the hip-hop, rap, and rap metal sounds for which he began with. It was critically praised, and went on to platinum status. It contained the singles “Jackson, Mississippi,” “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” “Cold and Empty,” and “I Am.”
In 2006, he released his live album, Live Trucker, containing the last performances by Twisted Brown Trucker member Joe C.
In 2007, the album Rock N Roll Jesus was released and debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200. The first single, “So Hott,” was moderately successful, followed by the single “Amen.” The third single was the smash hit “All Summer Long,” which was mash-up of two classic rock songs, Lynyrd Skynrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London.” The next album, Born Free, produced by Rick Rubin, was released on November 16, 2010, and contained the #14 rock radio song “Born Free.” The album debuted at #5, and eventually went platinum in 2011.
Kid Rock has been highly active in supporting servicemen overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Kuwait.
- Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast (1990)
- The Polyfuze Method (1993)
- Early Mornin’ Stoned Pimp (1996)
- Devil Without a Cause (1998)
- The History of Rock (2000)
- Cocky (2001)
- Kid Rock (2003)
- Live Trucker (2006)
- Rock n Roll Jesus (2007)
- Born Free (2010)
- Rebel Soul (2012)