But somehow I always find myself in 'em
Robert James Ritchie, a.k.a. Kid Rock (born January 17, 1971) is an American rapper and singer from Michigan who incorporated hard rock and country into his music. At the age of 11, he was break-dancing in a breakdance crew, and used the money made to get turntable equipment. He then became a DJ who'd play in clubs for beer, getting his nickname after clubgoers called him "that white kid that can rock".
He formed the rap group The Beast Crew with local rapper Champtown, but it broke up when Kid Rock signed to Jive Records. He released his LP Grit Sandwiches for Breakfast soon afterwards in 1990, but it was perceived as being a Beastie Boys ripoff, and he was dropped from the record label due to Jive deciding they didn't want a white rapper on their label because of the backlash towards Vanilla Ice, the latter of which claimed Kid Rock took his record deal. However, the album was popular enough for Kid Rock to be considered the biggest rapper in Detroit at the time; Insane Clown Posse even tapped him for an appearance on their debut, Carnival of Carnage, despite the fact that Violent J thought that Kid Rock's rapping was weak, although a lyric in Kid's "Ya Keep On" suggests that the feeling is mutual.
Kid's next two albums, The Polyfuze Method and Early Mornin' Stoned Pimp, were released independently and changed up his sound, first with Polyfuze displaying Psychedelic Hip Hop tendencies ala Paul's Boutique (with heavy use of experimental sampling and some live instrumentation, including guitars and a flute solo), and EMSP featuring a mix of different styles, including Rap Rock, soul, funk and Country Rap, solidifying the Genre Roulette approach he'd take on subsequent albums. To help with the recording, Kid Rock recruited a band of musicians known as the "Twisted Brown Trucker Band", providing the instrumental backing for his rhymes.
After years of independent records, he and his band got signed to Atlantic Records, where they released the break-through hit album Devil Without A Cause in 1998. This successful fusion of Southern-Fried Rap Rock inspired Kid Rock to re-work his previous songs in History of Rock. But his love for Southern Rock caused him to change his sound on his Self Titled Album, which he continues to do today. His #1 single "All Summer Long" borrowed from both the Lynyrd Skynyrd hit "Sweet Home Alabama" and Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London", and had extensive radio play across the Rock and Country charts.
He is close friends and frequent collaborator with Uncle Kracker, who is also a country, rap, and rock-influenced musician from Detroit that used to play for Kid Rock during his biggest era.
He also has an association with the WWE, with some of his songs used for Pay-Per-View and Superstar Entrance Themes, particularly "American Badass" for The Undertaker during his early "Bikertaker" days. He was inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame in 2018.
- 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) (2003)
- Live Trucker (2006)
- Rock N Roll Jesus (2007)
- Born Free (2010)
- Rebel Soul (2012)
- First Kiss (2015)
- Sweet Southern Sugar (2017)
- Bad Reputation (2022)
"Devil Without a Trope":
- The Alcoholic: RL example: He showed up drunk to record his guest appearance on Insane Clown Posse's Carnival of Carnage, "Is That You?" He then rerecorded his vocals and scratching the next day when he was sober.
- Artifact Title: "Kid" Rock has been an adult for a very long time now. More so now that he is a grandfather.
- As the Good Book Says...: In "Lonely Road of Faith", during the bridge, Kid Rock says a verse that is similar to Psalm 23:4: "Though I walk in the valley of darkness / I am not afraid / 'Cause I know I'm not alone."
- Furthermore, Rock is an ordained minister.
- Auto-Tune: Very blatantly on "Only God Knows Why".
- Audience Participation Song: All of Joe C's lines, since his death.
- Badass Boast: "I'm goin' platinum sellin' rhymes/I went platinum seven times...", from "American Bad Ass," and referring to the sales of his previous breakthrough album, Devil Without a Cause. He was referring to the previous album's sales at the time, but it would eventually sell past the 10 million mark.
- After Al-Qaeda bombed the USS Cole in Aden, the sailors played "American Badass" over the ship's loudspeakers as they left the port.
- Bittersweet 17: "All Summer Long":It was 1989 my thoughts were short my hair was long
Caught somewhere between a boy and man
She was seventeen and she was far from in-between
It was summertime in Northern Michigan.
- Bowdlerise: Lampshaded on "Cowboy":"Curse like a sailor/Drink like a mick/My only words of wisdom are/<RADIO EDIT>"
- Also on the video of "American Badass""I'm an American Badass, watch me kick! You can roll with rock or you can <RADIO EDIT>"
- "Picture" had different edits to censor the line "Fueling up on cocaine and whiskey". One version changed "cocaine" to "water", and another just muted the word entirely.
- Also on the video of "American Badass"
- Country Rap: At times.
- Cowboy: He wants to be one, after all.
- Determinator: He strongly disliked iTunes and fought to keep his music off of it, despite it costing him a hit with "All Summer Long" (and making hits out of karaoke versions of the song). But times change.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: His debut album Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast is closer to traditional hip hop as opposed to the rap rock of his later albums. It's also the only album of his to contain no influences from country music.
- Fake Shemp: Due to label issues, the official single version of "Picture" has Allison Moorer singing Sheryl Crow's part. However, most stations played the Sheryl Crow version anyway, and it was even listed as "Kid Rock with Sheryl Crow or Allison Moorer" on the charts. He also recorded the song with Gretchen Wilson on the Live Trucker album.
- Genre Mashup: His Devil Without a Cause fused Hip-Hop, Heavy Metal, Funk, Blues, Southern Rock, Soul, Country and Folk music.
- Manly Men Can Hunt: Is an avid hunter, and friends with Ted Nugent.
- New Sound Album: Happened twice; once with Devil Without A Cause which saw a change from hardcore rhyming over sampled riffs, to a southern fried Rap Rock sound. The second time was Kid Rock, which saw him making Southern Rock and almost completely ditching Hip-Hop. And yet again with Born Free, which outside of an appearance by T.I. is entirely Heartland rock.
- Ode to Youth: "All Summer Long"
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: In The '90s, he was most definitely this trope, especially in his early years, which saw him labeled as a Beastie Boys knockoff artist by many record companies and dismissed him as another wannabe white guy rapper doomed to have his career fail in the same way as Vanilla Ice. It was not until Devil Without A Cause that he finally broke through and developed his own unique sound. Post-2000, he has somewhat toned down his act and became more of a country musician.
- Progressive Instrumentation:
- "Celebrate" starts with drums, then keyboards and bass, then guitars, then voice.
- "New Orleans" starts with what sounds like a drum sample, then guitars, then trumpet, then voice, then sax, then piano and claps, and finally the rest of the band.
- Rap Rock: Prominently from The Polyfuze Method to Cocky. Sporadically thereafter, with Born Free, Rebel Soul and First Kiss containing no rap rock whatsoever.
- Rock Star Song: So, so many of them.
- Sampling: Most blatantly for "All Summer Long", sampling "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Werewolves of London", which are both in the same key and, coincidentally, have the same chord progression.
- Self-Titled Album: Kid Rock (2003).
- Shout-Out: "American Bad Ass" has Kid Rock name-drop his eclectic set of musical influences, mentioning AC/DC, ZZ Top, Beastie Boys, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Limp Bizkit, Korn, Hank Williams Jr., The Rolling Stones, RunD.M.C., David Allan Coe, Bob Seger and George Jones.
- Singer Namedrop:
"My name is KIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIID...Kid ROCK!!"
- "Bawitdaba" gives us this:
- "Cowboy" gives us two "Kid Rock"s in the first verse and a third in the third.
- "American Badass" ends with "Kid Rock's in the house and that's where I'm at".
- Take That!: From "Ya' Keep On": "Don't call me Joe 'cause the Joes I know can't even flow".
- "Back From the Dead" from The Polyfuze Method features the line "My first LP wasn't pushed for shit, so Jive Records, yo, go and suck a fat dick".
- The song "Half Your Age" from Rock And Roll Jesus paints a very unflattering picture of Kid Rock's ex-wife Pamela Anderson.
- The music video for "Never Met A Motherfucker Quite Like Me" includes a scene of Kid Rock using toilet paper with Radiohead's name printed all over it.
- The Trope Kid
- Trashy Trailer Home: Kid's image during the rap rock era was a redneck straight out of the trailer park. In actuality, Robert Richie's parents were pretty well off, and he grew up in a huge house in Detroit.
- Understatement: The fifth episode of VH1's 2004 Documentary mini-series And You Don't Stop: 30 Years of Hip-Hop was "My Name Is" and focused on rap from places other than New York and Los Angeles. Kid Rock said that the first time he met Eminem, Em was doing a really fast battle rap. Kid Rock's response falls under this trope."I told him, 'I don't know what you just said there, man, but if you could slow that down a little you might have something there.'"
- We Used to Be Friends: Kid and The Beast Crew, as said in "I Wanna Go Back"I ain't sayin' that I'm wrong, but I still got love for you/Cause I remember how it used to be, "Make way, motherfuckers, Beast Crew's in the party"
- With Insane Clown Posse as well. He rapped on "Is That You?" from the first Joker's Card Carnival of Carnage. They had a falling out, leading to the lyric mentioned under Take That above.
- Wolverine Publicity: In Southeast Michigan, at least. His music has constant airplay on the local rock and country stations there (especially the area's flagship rock station, 101 WRIF), and he is frequently featured in the local media.
- Word Purée Title: "Bawitdaba."