Let it never be said about Kid Rock that he did not pay his dues in the music business before achieving popularity. Although he might strike some people as an overnight success given his massive popularity after 1998, his story is far more complicated. After being signed to Jive Records, his first album went nowhere and he was unceremoniously dropped. After two indie-label albums, he then achieved stardom nearly a decade after the release of his debut, and developed a reputation as a brash musician who could sing original material while also reinterpreting older songs, and who was also known for his encouragement of other musicians and his ability to successfully collaborate with others. Far better known as an album musician than a singles one, his career has demonstrated a surprising degree of success and longevity that is not always well-recognized. As a patron saint of hopeless causes, given that a lot of the popular rock music of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s is not viewed very highly, it is time to take a look at Kid Rock and see how he is willing of being enshrined in Cleveland, something that is almost enough to make one want to scream out “Bawtidaba!” Almost.
The Influence Of Kid Rock
How might Kid Rock be said to be an influential musician? For one, his DJ and former co-writer Uncle Kracker became a well-regarded and immensely successful musician as well, and Kid Rock has been cited as an influence both among white rappers like Machine Gun Kelley as well as by a wide variety of Country musicians who have appreciated his hybridization of rap, southern rock, and country into one powerful and energetic combination, like Toby Keith, Trace Adkins, or Florida-Georgia Line . The various elements that have made up Kid Rock’s musical style may have been waiting to happen as soon as someone with a fondness for solid rock, rap, and country was able to put the pieces together, but it was Kid Rock that did so to immense success and helped pave a way for profitable contemporary collaboration between the worlds of pop, rap, and country. Perhaps not everyone would want to have it known that they made the world safe for bro country, but Kid Rock remains an immensely influential artist because it was not only that he mixed genres that had previously been standoffish, but did so with passion and conviction and authenticity, something his many imitators would do well to remember.
Why Kid Rock Deserves To Be In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
We have already traced the influence of acts that have claimed influence from him as well as his own cross-genre success. It should be noted that Kid Rock, over his career, has not had a great deal of success in singles. What his career has lacked in quantity, though, it has made up for in quality, including lasting success with songs like “Cowboy,” “Bawtidaba,” “Only God Knows Why,” “Picture,” and “All Summer Long.” He has collaborated successfully with artists like Sheryl Crow, the Zac Brown Band, Keith Urban, Bob Seger, and even R. Kelly and Ludacris on “Rock Star.” Where he has been most successful, though, has been in albums, where he went diamond (11 x platinum, to be precise) with Devil Without A Cause, had a multi-platinum compilation of his more obscure material in “History Of Rock,” had a 5 x platinum album in “Cocky,” a triple platinum album in “Rock ‘n’ Roll Jesus,” went platinum with “Kid Rock,” and “Born Free,” and even went gold with 2012’s “Rebel Soul .” For someone with very few hit singles, this sort of album success is remarkable and suggests someone who was really tapped into a vein material that is well-regarded. That’s a Cleveland-worthy career right there.
Why Kid Rock Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
The rock music of the late 1990’s, with the rap-rock hybrids and post-grunge, has not been critically well-regarded. Kid Rock has also made a name of supporting Republican candidates, which while not something that I would find worthy of blame or criticism is not something that sits well with largely left-wing music critics. Additionally, there are likely many people who only heard the small number of hit singles and did not remember that Kid Rock has a larger body of solid work, even if much of it cannot be named without asterisks on a family-oriented blog like this one. Ultimately, only God knows why Kid Rock hasn’t gotten his due yet.
Verdict: Put him in already. He’s been eligible for several years and likely will be only the first of a large number of late 1990’s rock acts that will have to beat down the door of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to be inducted as they deserve.