Kid Rock

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About Kid Rock

He calls himself a “longhaired redneck rock ’n’ roll son of Detroit.” But Kid Rock, born Robert James Ritchie in 1971 in Romeo, MI, could just as easily be described as the heir apparent of Ted Nugent, Bob Seger, and any number of working-class Michigan troubadours with a penchant for nostalgia, odd politics, and partying hard. Kid Rock grew up in rural Michigan and fell in love with hip-hop in the ’80s, teaching himself to rap and breakdance, performing around the Detroit area, and making friends with (and occasionally battling) a young Eminem. Inspired by the Beastie Boys, he signed to Jive Records and released his debut album, Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast, in 1990. It was a respectable imitation of his heroes, but not enough to keep him on the label; he moved to Continuum and continued to explore—or invent—the nexus between metal, rap, and Southern rock while crafting a swaggering, carefree persona. Then the world caught up with him, as the simmering rap-rock fusion of bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers spawned such late-’90s acts as Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Rage Against the Machine. Kid Rock’s genre was suddenly cool. His 1998 Devil Without a Cause caught the zeitgeist, making Rock a superstar on the wings of rap-rock headbangers “Bawitdaba” and “Cowboy.” He kept up the shtick throughout the 21st century, releasing albums that skated the line between raucous bad boy and sensitive heartland rocker, exemplified by “Picture,” a 2002 hit duet with Sheryl Crow. But 2008’s “All Summer Long,” with its mash-up of “Werewolves of London” and “Sweet Home Alabama,” perfected the essence of his appeal, marrying raspy vocals and evocative imagery of youthful hijinks with feel-good riffs.

Romeo, MI, United States
January 17, 1971
Hard Rock
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