In a list of the top rap/rockers, it would have been irresponsible for me to not include a man who has recorded albums as both a rapper and a rocker. This would be akin to omitting Lawrence Taylor from a list of the top All-Pros / Statutory Rapists. Sure, the Mark Chmura campaign might garner more votes, but he still can't hog the whole list. Besides, Najeh Davenport makes it on there even though taking a dump in a laundry basket doesn't yet satisfy the statutory rape definition in any jurisdiction. |
If you forgot that Kid Rock was at one time, you know, a "rocker," you are completely forgiven. These days, if he's not robbing melodies from the dearly-departed Warren Zevon, he's peddling commercial ear trauma with Cheryl Crow. But way back in the late 90's, Kid Rock was a real life rock n' roll musician. The fact that Kid Rock grew up to become Adult I Wish I Was Waylon Jennings won't stop us from reminiscing about what once was.
As far as I'm concerned, Kid Rock's entire career consists of the "Devil Without a Cause" album and the single, "American Badass." American Badass is sort of a nu metal retrospective in itself due to the musicians he lists in the middle. The Rolling Stones get regular homage paid to them in other quarters, but I suspect that we will never again hear a song name "Limp" and Korn before them. With his musical tastes buttressed by such classic lines as "I know it stinks in here, cause I'm the shit," and an exhortation against the long-deceased boy band genre, American Badass had the lifespan of a pet store goldfish.
As Eminem continued his musical discourse, he made sure to throw some recognition towards my second takeaway, Kid Rock's backing group of minstrels. "Slim Shady and Brown Trucker, just another bunch of motherfuckers who hate the world just as much as each other!" yelled Slim Mathers. To be fair, I don't think the Twisted Brown Trucker Band really hated the world that much. They had gospel singing. They had a female drumming. And to secure their nu metal license, they had a DJ. While the rest of his contemporaries were seeking out darker and more gothic avenues, Kid Rock donned a wife-beater and secured a truck stop band.
And the most memorable member of that band by far was Joe C. The case could be made for Uncle Kracker of course, but Uncle Kracker would've had to retain fans for anyone to make it. Joe C was self-described as "Old as piss, and small as ass" which doesn't necessarily make sense, but realistically, coherence wasn't in the Brown Trucker mission statement. Any good trailer park band worth its salt includes a dwarf, and Kid Rock certainly was worth his Morton. Joe C plays a very minor role in this album, but I salute the man who blazed the trail for Wee Man and Verne Troyer.
As far as the album, there are a lot of famous songs. "Cowboy" still gets played all the time, even though it was topically released to coincide with the rise of the word "pimpin'" as being cool instead of awkward. "Devil Without a Cause" is the album's best song, and features Joe C's eloquent soliloquy. "I am the Bullgod" was good, and even "Only God Knows Why" was okay, but Kid Rock's nu metal stalwart is obviously, "Bawitdaba."
Bawitdaba --- Devil Without a Cause --- 1999
If you think all of these lyrics make no sense, well, apparently you're right. Kid Rock himself has admitted as much, that he simply sat down and through a bunch of stuff on paper that rhymed and sounded cool. And that is the thing about Bawitdaba - it worked.
Make no mistake about it, Bawitdaba is a nu metal song. The turntable squeals and Uncle Kracker's name in the liner notes stitch that scarlet letter on this song for eternity. But even though this tune was fathered by Grandmaster Flash memories, it still holds up well today. It stayed away from the detuned guitars, kept the rap sampling to a minimum, and emphasized the partying aspect of rock without becoming a cartoon like Andrew W.K. Bawitdaba was a breakthrough song in 1999 and still gets the fifth-wheels movin'. Well done, Mr. Rock.
I was at an auction sale in the park in Leonard one time and a local guy was there burning a cigarette. He was wearing Kid Rock's trademark adidas pants, he had long stringy hair, and, well, he lived in a trailer. That's when I had the epiphany (no connection to the shitty Staind song) that Steve is really Kid Rock. To this day, I know his lawn mowing business is just a front to keep the cameras and the ex-Baywatch stars away. Well done again, Mr. Pimp-of-Nation.
Bawitdaba da bang a dang diggy diggy diggy said the boogy said up jump the boogy
Having already discussed the D.B. Cooper line, this was my next pick. It's hard to fathom how nonsensical the chorus is until you see it print. I can remember a friend thinking it was "upchuck the boogie," a revelation that led to instantaneous mockery. In retrospect, that misheard lyric wasn't very farfetched. As if a line about vomit would sully the lyrical content of a tune that already croons to the "G's with the forties and the chicks with beepers!" Pass the O.E. and page me, ho.
This video is totally ridiculous. Pick out your favorite piece of preposterousness: Is it the wide angle shots of Brown Trucker, with a mini Joe C strutting 36 inches off the ground? Maybe you're like me, an alumnus of a college that ran the veer, and you mock Kid Rock's terrible option pitch form. Or are you also confused by the fact that a guy on a dirt bike jumps over the video a dozen times, at some points colliding with himself? All of this is so over the top, and so flagrantly silly, that it actually aged alright. If Coal Chamber made this video, Vh1 would revive Pop Up Video just to lampoon it. But Kid Rock gets away with this completely unscathed. It's either because Kid Rock is cool enough to pull something this silly off, or his induction into the Oak Ridge Boys has provided easier and more distracting cheap shot fodder.
Dedicated to The Stick