A country, rock, and rap artist, born Matthew Shafer in Mount Clemens, Michigan. Throughout the 1990s, Kracker was a protégé of Kid Rock
, but did not break out on his own until 2000's Double Wide
, which produced his debut single "Follow Me". His second album, No Stranger to Shame
, accounted for his biggest hit in a cover of Dobie Gray's "Drift Away", with which he set a record for the longest run at #1 on the Billboard
Adult Contemporary charts.
Outside a guest appearance on Kenny Chesney
's 2004 chart-topper "When the Sun Goes Down", Kracker was rather quiet until 2009 (thanks in part to his next album spending forever in Development Hell
), when his career caught fire again with "Smile", a crossover hit that went Top 40 at pop, and Top 10 at both AC and country. Ever since, he has focused mainly on country-rock albums.
- Cheap Heat: "Smile" changes the line "Spinnin' like a record, crazy on a Sunday night" to name-drop the station playing the song.
- Covered Up: Defied with his cover of "Drift Away", which features the song's most famous artist, Dobie Gray, singing a portion.
- Genre Roulette: Alternative rock, rap rock, and country-rock. His work since about 2009 suggests that he's trying to make country his primary genre.
- Rearrange the Song: "Smile" was remixed for country radio. The remix appears on the EP Happy Hour: The South River Road Sessions.
- Singer Name Drop: The fadeout of "When the Sun Goes Down" has Kracker and Chesney ad-libbing lines about each other, including "Uncle Kenny's hotter when the sun goes down" and "She thinks Kracker's sexy" (which also doubles as a Shout-Out to Chesney's "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy").
- When She Smiles: "Smile" is about how his lover's smile makes him feel happy at any time.