Kid Rock

  • Singer/rapper, songwriter and musician born Robert Ritchie in 1971, from Romeo Michigan.
  • As a teenager, Ritchie became interested in music, particularly rap and hip hop. He taught himself how to rap and to DJ, as well as how to play the guitar, keyboards and drums. When he was DJ-ing at clubs, the predominantly black crowd would say that they liked watching “that white kid rock.” Soon, Ritchie adopted Kid Rock as his stage name (today, he says that he hates the name – it was cool when he was 16, but as he approaches 50 years old, he says he has “the worse name in the world”). In the late 80s, he joined a hip hop group called The Beast Crew. In 1988, he met rapper D-Nice, who was impressed by Kid Rock, and D-Nice invited him to open for shows that D-Nice’s group was performing. A Detroit-based producer met Kid Rock, and was impressed by his performances. The producer helped him make some demo tapes, which led to a record contract at the age of 17.
  • Kid Rock’s debut album, Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast, was released in 1990. It made Kid Rock more popular in Detroit, but outside of Michigan, he was still unknown.
  • He further developed his sound with his next 2 albums in 1993 and 1996 – The Polyfuze Method and Early Mornin’ Stoned Pimp. His music evolved to a rock sound, with more singing, while still incorporating elements of rap. These albums increased his persona locally, but he still did not have a national breakout. His live shows became extravagant, with pyrotechnics, dancers and a light show. He was known for partying with drugs and alcohol, but still was focused enough to promote his brand.
  • His breakout happened with 1998’s Devil Without a Cause. By now, his sound was predominantly hard metal rap rock, with a hint of country. His stage persona had evolved to a “pimp redneck” which played well to live audiences with the songs from this album. The album peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and was certified 11x platinum. The biggest hits from the record were Cowboy (#10 on the Mainstream Rock chart) and Only God Knows Why (#5 on the same chart, and #19 on the Hot 100 chart – this song was Kid Rock’s first power ballad). He was nominated for a Grammy for Best New Artist, even though he had been in the industry for 10 years.
  • In 2000, he released The History of Rock, which featured re-recorded and remixed versions of songs from The Polyfuze Method and Early Mornin’ Stoned Pimp, as well as a new track, American Bad Ass. Another metal song, American Bad Ass made it to #20 on the Mainstream Rock chart. The album sold well, and was certified 2x platinum.
  • His 4 album releases from 2001 to 2010 were his biggest successes. All were certified platinum, with Cocky reaching 5x platinum, and Rock n Roll Jesus reaching 3x platinum. The big hit from Cocky was his duet Picture. Two versions were released – one featuring Sheryl Crow, and one featuring Allison Moorer as his duet partner. It reached #4 on the Hot 100 in 2002. Rock n Roll Jesus included his biggest hit, All Summer Long. It was a #1 song in Europe and Australia, #23 on the Hot 100, and a top 10 song on several other U.S. charts, including his first song to chart on the Hot Country Songs chart. It heavily samples Warren Zevon’s Warewolves of London as well as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama, giving the song a special appeal to many classic rock fans.
  • He has released 3 albums since 2012. His music on these records was largely in a country music style. Singles from these more recent albums have sold modestly. Over his career, he has collaborated with many artists – he has nearly 70 songs where he has been a featured artist, across genres including country, rap, metal, hard rock, and even R&B and jazz.
  • Kid Rock has had plenty of controversy in his career. He doesn’t worry about being politically correct, and often his comments lead to protests. That said, he is a philanthropist, supporting many causes, especially supporting the U.S. military.
  • Want a great song for a party? All Summer Long is perfect. How can anyone not love this song? Here’s the video.

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