Artist Spotlight: Kid Rock
’’‘Robert James Ritchie’‘’ (born January 17, 1971), known by his stage name ‘’‘[lastfm]Kid Rock[/lastfm]’‘’, is an American singer-songwriter with five Grammy Award nominations. Kid Rock is known for music that fuses rap with heavy metal, blues rock, southern rock, funk and country music.
Kid Rock released several studio albums that mostly went unnoticed before his 1998 record ‘’Devil Without a Cause’‘, released with Atlantic Records, sold 11 million albums behind the hits, Bawitdaba,”Cowboy,” and “Only God Knows Why”. In 2000, he released ‘’The History of Rock’’ which was a compilation of remixed and remastered versions of songs from his previous albums as well as the single, American Bad Ass. In 2001, he released the follow up, ‘Cocky. After a slow start, his country-flavored hit Picture with Sheryl Crow resurrected the album and it went gold as a single and pushed the album’s sales to more than 5 million. It was followed by 2003’s Kid Rock, which failed to chart a major hit. In 2006 he released Live Trucker, a live album. In 2007 Kid Rock released Rock N Roll Jesus, which produced a hit in All Summer Long.” It was his first worldwide smash hit, charting #1 in eight countries across Europe and Australia. Rock N Roll Jesus would go on to sell 5 million albums worldwide including being certified triple platinum in the US.
He has sold 22 million albums to date in the United States, which currently ranks him as the 99th best selling music artist of all time in the U.S.
Kid Rock grew up on an apple orchard in Romeo, Michigan, and his father was a wealthy car dealer. His parents would entertain guests with Bobby singing covers of [lastfm]Jim Croce[/lastfm], [lastfm]Johnny Cash [/lastfm]and[lastfm] Bob Seger[/lastfm] at their barn parties. However, by the time the 1980s began, hip-hop had emerged, and a late-night TV performance by the Fat Boys had Bobby hooked. He became immersed in hip hop with groups like [lastfm]Run-DMC[/lastfm], [lastfm]Beastie Boys[/lastfm], [lastfm]Whodini[/lastfm], [lastfm]Too Short [/lastfm]and [lastfm]Eric B. & Rakim[/lastfm].
At age eleven he joined a breakdance crew (referred to as b-boy), called the Furious Funkers. They would dance anywhere they could for money. He saved up his money to buy a cheap belt-driven turntable, and he taught himself how to work the tables. In high school, Ritchie DJed at parties for beer. He eventually joined Bo Wisdom of Groove Time Productions, in Mt. Clemens, Michigan to perform basement parties for thirty dollars a night. It was then that he was given his stage name; club goers dubbed him with the moniker “Kid Rock” after they had enjoyed watching “that white kid that can rock.”
Rock started rapping and joined a local hip hop group, The Beast Crew. They were composed of The Blackman, Champtown, KDC, Crisp and Doc Rounce Cee. Rock became friends with producer D-Nice of the legendary hip-hop group Boogie Down Productions. When Rock opened for BDP one night, D-Nice invited an A&R representative from Jive Records to see him perform. This meeting led to a demo deal, which developed into a full record contract.
Against his parents’ wishes, Rock signed the deal at the age of seventeen. Despite his new record deal, he had a falling out with The Beast Crew when he signed over fellow member Champtown (the two have become friends again since). They left his vocals on the tracks of their debut underground album “Chapter 1: He Don’t Want Us No More,” against his wishes. Rock later became part of the Straight From The Underground Tour, where he found himself alongside several heavyweights of rap including [lastfm]Ice Cube[/lastfm], [lastfm]Too Short[/lastfm], [lastfm]D-Nice[/lastfm], [lastfm]Mac Dre[/lastfm], and [lastfm]Yo-Yo[/lastfm].
Influences and sound
Kid Rock’s genre-spanning sound incorporates a wide variety of musical styles and influences, ranging from classic rock and hip-hop to country. Kid Rock has called this blend a result of being “creatively confused.” Rock’s earliest exposure to music was via the classic rock and country albums of his parents. As rap and hip-hop gained mainstream prominence during the 1980s, Kid Rock was influenced by [lastfm]Beastie Boys[/lastfm], [lastfm]Run-D.M.C[/lastfm]., and [lastfm]Too Short[/lastfm], who went on to produce Rock’s first album. In 1999, he became friends with [lastfm]Hank Williams, Jr[/lastfm].
*1990: ‘’Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast’‘
*1993: ‘’The Polyfuze Method’‘
*1994: ‘’Fire It Up! (EP)’‘
*1996: ‘’Early Mornin’ Stoned Pimp’‘
*1997: ‘’The Polyfuze Method Revisited’‘
*1998: ‘’Devil Without a Cause’’
*2000: ‘’The History of Rock’’
*2001: ‘’Cocky (album)|Cocky’’
*2003: ‘’Kid Rock (alm)|Kid Rock’’
*2006: ‘’Live Trucker’‘
*2007: ‘’Rock N Roll Jesus’’
*2010 : ‘’TBA’‘