Kid Rock: Don't call it a comeback.
As far as white rappers go, Detroit's Kid Rock (Bob Ritchie) is as legit as they come. He toured with Boogie Down Productions in the late '80s, and with Too Short and Ice Cube in the early '90s. But as of about three years ago, he was playing in nearly empty dives (the old Peabody's, among them). It wasn't until the Beastie Boys did a glowing retrospective on Ritchie for their Grand Royal
magazine that he started on the comeback trail. And what a comeback he's made. With 1998's Devil Without a Cause
selling some eight million copies, Kid Rock has now become arena rock fodder. Easily dismissed for its rudimentary style -- trashy rhymes and basic, dumbed-down guitar riffs -- Devil Without a Cause
is a guilty pleasure that's too good to hate. As is his live show, which on the surface comes off as novelty (especially when he's accompanied by the foul-mouthed midget, Joe C). But Ritchie's enthusiasm gets even the most jaded of critics to put their fists in the air and bang their heads capriciously. Sure, he's milking his fame for all it's worth with The History of Rock
, the recent reissue of some of his out-of-print and hard-to-find material, but the decadence and debauchery of the Kid Rock experience hasn't faded yet.