on July 12, 2004
Guns N'Roses are gone. Led Zeppelin is history. Aerosmith has been clean for years. The Rolling Stones are living, breathing anachronisms. Rod Stewart is a pop singer. And hip hop bands don't use live bands with loud guitars. Is the modern music scene hopeless?
Nope. It's alive and dangerous. For those of us who miss loud guitars and controversial lyrics, Kid Rock has come to the rescue.
If you are a hard rock fan and can keep from banging your head during "Bawidaba," you don't have the volume loud enough. If you don't bang your head after the piano break in "Cowboy," you need to buy Pat Boone's "In a Metal Mood." If you don't sing along to the bridge in "Roving Gangster," perhaps you need to take your a** to the early-bird special at Denny's and take your geritol.
If you miss the danger of G N'R, you'll love the drug-glorifying jams of "I Am the Bullgod" and "Where You at Rock?"
While I've never been a fan of hip hop, I must say I thoroughly enjoy the drug-glamorizing, braggadoccio of Kid Rock's "Devil Without a Cause." Imagine the Beastie Boys merged with G n' R, Zeppelin, and Skynyrd and you have Kid Rock.
If you're looking for modern music with the edginess of the backporch of a house overlooking the Pacific in SoCal, this is it.
on December 19, 2002
Kid Rock is a rapper from the Detroit area who's been doing his thing and running his own Top Dog record label since the late '80s. He was pretty obscure until Grand Royal profiled him, and he eventually wrote some blurbs for Mike D. and the gang for their notorious "Miami Bass" issue. His association with the Beasties must have done wonders for his career, because in '98 he made this, his major label debut.
I gave this record bonus points for having a photograph of the Kid's hand giving the world the finger painted on the disc itself. Something about the way Kid Rock flips the bird is endearing-- it's hard to explain. I bumped the record up a few more notches for the track featuring the diminutive Joe C. (he's less than four feet tall) on the mic. There's some sort of perverse thrill in hearing a guy who makes Bushwick Bill look like Manute Bol rap "I'm a freak, don't call me sick/ three- foot nine with a ten-foot dick."
So that's two rounds of bonus points and the album still doesn't merit a 2. The hook is that Devil Without A Cause combines rap with metal, but this combination's already been done a million times, and in each case, the result was better than this...
on November 18, 2002
There's nothing really "wrong" with Kid Rock's breakout album "Devil Without A Cause", but there isn't anything particularly wonderful about it either - especially when looked at with a few years of hindsight.
To begin with, Kid Rock himself is not an overly talented vocalist or rapper - both of which are roles he attempts to play on the CD. As the opening moments of "Bawitdaba" demonstrate, Rock is capable of screaming quite well, but the rest of the album features rather pedestrian vocal performances from all concerned. In fact, there are moments on some of the louder tracks where Rock is almost drowned out by the backing music provided by Twisted Brown Trucker.
On the quieter tracks, "Cowboy" being a classic example, Rock sounds overused and cliched in both his delivery and his subject matter. The "white trash" thing never really had that much in the way of legs, especially when combined with Twisted Brown Trucker's melting pot of metal, country and rock backing. The vast majority of the tracks on "Devil" are either party tracks - which don't sound any good without a party, and even tend to get a bit boring with a party - and "white trash" tracks - which are repetitive at best.
The exception to this rule is "Only God Knows Why". Through an effect-treated vocal, Rock delivers a performance which evokes quite a few country performers but doesn't sound identical to any of them. It appears that this track was written the morning after Rock and friends partied to celebrate his major-label deal - after which Rock realised that there were still a few more songs needed. The opening lines "I've been sittin' here/tryin' to find myself/I get behind myself/Need to rewind myself" earn considerable plaudits for taking the time-worn subject matter and expressing it in a new manner - sadly the only time this is really done on the album.
When Rock turns his hand to "message raps" such as "Black Chic, White Guy", he falls very flat indeed. The topic of inter-racial romance has been dealt with before and will no doubt be again, and by better-credentialled performers in both the rap and rock camps. Indeed, as I write, Ziggy Marley's "Lee and Molly" is playing in the background - a much cleverer and more perceptive look at the issue.
The final major problem with "Devil" is the appearance of the late Joe C. The man - who was in his mid-to-late 20s when he died but looked about 7 because of a congenital defect - was not a talented rapper at all (witness his waste of air time on the title track) and really only served to turn Kid Rock's live show into a freak circus. While this may have been the intention of either or both men, it raises the questions of exactly what Rock was trying to achieve in his shows (a freak show or a concert) and also exactly how aware Joe C was of this possible exploitation. Having seen the band (on TV) at Woodstock 99, I can safely say that more of the performance was taken up with the question of "what is WITH that guy?" than any enjoyment of the music being played.
The album is not all bad, however. If all you're looking for in an album is something to put on a stereo, turn up to maximum volume and drive the neighbours insane - then this is certainly a top contender. The strong beats on many of the party tracks also makes is quite handy to have in a car stereo for much the same purpose. The CD is also interesting from the point of view that there is no electric bass used in the recording. If you're after insightful rap about any of the topics addressed in the lyrics or music which will stay in your mind as music - rather than sound - then stay away.
on August 8, 2002
When Kid Rock showed up on the MTV radar in early 1998, plenty of people didn't know what to think. Is he rock? Country? Metal? Rap?
Yes! He's every one of those things plus more. Kid Rock and the Twisted Brown Trucker Band weave a half dozen musical gendre's into an excellent package. Citing everyone from Metallica, NWA, and Hank Williams as major influences, Kid Rock is at times obscene, and at times heart-wretching.
Every track on the CD is a winner, but here is the best of the best.
Bawitdaba: 9/10 This song is a huge, powerful, arena ANTHEM!!! Probably Kid's most recognizable song, it has pointless lyrics and a heavy, shout along chorus.
Cowboy: 8/10 A laid back, western flavored song. Funny video.
I Am The Bullgod: 9/10 This was the first single, it's catchy and fun, but like most of Kid Rocks songs, is just one long rant about himself.
Devil Without A Cause: 9/10 Pretty much just a rap song with a heavy chorus, I love the intro. Kid Rocks sidekick Joe C. co-stars on this one.
Wasting Time: 8/10 A good song, just something to kick back too.
F*ck Off!: 8/10 A very hard rap metal track, filled with curses, and co-starring the best rapper out there, Kid Rocks friend from Detroit, Eminem!
Only God Knows Why: 10/10 Best track on the CD, a heart warming power ballet. Something Kid Rock tried to do eight times on his next full length disc, "Cocky"
All in all, this is a tough CD to top, hope Kid Rocks 3rd CD can do better than the second.
on March 15, 2002
Kid Rock's "Devil Without A Cause" has to be my ultimate guilty pleasure.As a VERY diverse music fanatic,I listen and fall in love with so many stylings of sounds that sometimes I even embrace music that doesn't really even fit my personality.
That would explain Kid Rock.
One day in June of '01,a friend let me borrow "Devil Without A Cause" CD which at the time was his "favorite CD".And what do you know,I love it! It's a guilty pleasure for me becuase
Kid's ultra-cockiness and intentally explotied bragadacico is obviously a great marketing plan BUT it's naturally him too!
I listen to it,anytime I feel amped up or when I want to liven up
an otherwise mudane moment.I fancy a lot of the songs on here,
from the former MTV anthem "Bawidaba" to "Cowboy" to "I Am The
Bullgod".It's funny coming from me,I'm really feeling this album!
Kid seems to speak from my alter-ego(lol) sometimes.
These songs are swinging,unapolegtic,crotch grabbing anthems
that appeal to everyone's cocky side.
But there's also the reflective ballad "Only God Knows Why"
and the autobiographical "Black Chick,White Guy".
This review isn't the best one I've written but I just had to give Kid Rock his props 'cause this CD really livens me up once in a while.In a twisted sense,"Devil Without A Cause" is a explicit album THAT's for everyone!
on December 31, 2001
Yes, 1998, the year where rock music went straight to the trailer park for inspiration. As if it wasn't bad to have Limp Bizkit around, Fred Durst had to do a cameo in the video for Bawitdaba, which was partly responsible for this piece of garbage getting heavy TRL rotation and selling like a trillion copies. That has to be the stupidest name for a song I've ever heard.
The first single "I am the Bullgod" was tolerable, and like a lot of the songs on this awful album it was at least catchy. But seriously, when would any person with more than a grade school education actually be sitting around thinking, "You know what? I'd really like to hear some Kid Rock right about now." Its the kind of music that's appropriate maybe only for watching WWF Championship Wrestling. Or maybe its something you'd put on while beating your wife, I don't know.
Plus the horrible God Knows Why single is on this album, where Kid Rock uses some cheesy vocoder effect on his vocals. I guess its supposed to be sad and reflective, but it just makes me nautious, kind of like every other song on this album.
on December 3, 2001
Raunchy, hilarious, a total blast. For those who appreciate low humor and high volume, this is one of the more fun discs in recent memory. This is the type of CD that you may forget you have after six months - but mainly because you played it to death for the first three.
While the first several glances suggest that he is not someone to be taken seriously, the fact remains that no one has fused rock and rap as successfully as Kid Rock. More listenable than Rage, more legit than Limp Bizkit, and as lyrically silly as the Chilis, Kid is a talented performer. He has an ear for great riffs, a penchant for clever lyrics, and an attitude that suggests he has found his true calling in life.
The disc runs the gamut from metallic and wonderfully stupid ("Bawitdaba") to the pop and wickedly clever ("Cowboy") to the funky and openly bitter ("Devil Without a Cause") - and that's just the first three songs. While several of the later tracks are less exceptional, the whole CD is fun and definitely worth the while.
on May 26, 2001
...and I own over a thousand CDs. :) I saw Kid Rock kick major ... on the MTV Music Awards Show almost 2 years ago, around the time I started hearing his surprisingly sensitive power ballad "Only God Knows Why." I was very impressed. After hearing "Only God Knows Why" a few more times, I just had to get this CD, which I bought exactly 1 year ago.
This is one of those rare CDs where I played the entire thing all the way, from beginning to end, and didn't tire of it at any point. In fact, this is still the only CD that I've played all the way through TWICE the first night after purchasing it. Not only that, but I very rarely play this CD without playing everything on it. It's that great!! :)
This is a perfect CD, hands down. The first time, I played it, I was expecting to hear at least a few weak songs in the bunch (which is usually inevitable of most CDs). Not this CD. Every single track on DEVIL WITHOUT A CAUSE is incredibly listenable and full of fire. The very first time I plaued it, I was totally blown away with how heavy and strong "Bawitdaba" is. With how cool (and funny) "Cowboy" is. With how great everything else is on this CD.
Put it to you this way-- I have never been a fan of rap music (with the usual crossover 'exceptions' of the Run-DMC version of "Walk This Way" and Tone-Loc's "Funky Cold Medina" and, oh yeah, some of Will Smith's stuff). In fact, I have only recently begun to get into some of the rap/metal hybrid artists that have come out in the past couple of years. This is the first (and, so far the only) CD of this type I have bought. But to simply call this CD "rap/metal" does a great disservice to it, I think. This CD is so wonderful that it is more than the sum of its parts. This CD tells us an autobiographical story of a man who, while young, has lived hard for the past ten years. Nowhere is this more evident than in the plaintive "Only God Knows Why" and in the CD's final track, "Black Chick, White Guy" which is the story of how Robert Ritchie came to raise his son alone. He does it all here: he rocks harder than most metal bands on "Bawitdaba" and "Fist of Rage" (on which he shows his anger, uncompromisingly), he parties heartily (and shows his lighthearted side) on "Welcome 2 the Party," he sings (quite well, actually) on "Only God Knows Why," and overall, gives us all an inner peek into his decadent world.
This isn't merely a 'white boy's rap' CD-- in fact, it isn't anything that can (or even should) be easily categorized. No-- this is Kid Rock, in all his raw, honest glory. He is a true original, and shows that here in this CD.
Robert, I hope you keep putting out even more great stuff like this (and yes, I do intend to buy your latest, HISTORY OF ROCK, soon!). Too bad lil' ol' Joe C. is no longer with us, but at least you can keep doing him proud with each new release you give us.
Bottom line: If you're sorta thinking of buying this CD, but are the type that cringes at the hearing of four-letter words, then this may not be your type of music. But if you're like me, and don't mind hearing loads of "swear words" (hey, this is a REALLY HONEST CD, so what do you expect?)-- well, then what the @#$% are you waiting for?? It is, quite simply, one of the greatest CDs put out in the past 10 years. BUY IT!!!!
on April 18, 2001
Firstly, a confession, yes I did buy this album because I'd heard "Bawitdaba" about 1000 times - yes that was pretty much the only reason why I bought it. Now onwards with the review.
On the surface of it, this album should be one of the better rap-metal cash cows of the late 90s - all the ingredients are here; Kid Rock (contrary to popular belief, a rapper from the 80s) with his justified anger, Twisted Brown Trucker - a band perfectly capable of keeping pace and volume with the louder metal groups of the era, and some very loud (possibly overplayed) riffs. The only problem is that Rock and friends seem more than content to rest on these credententials rather than using them as the basis of their music.
Kid Rock's delivery is generally superb, however one of the attractions of rap-metal is having the rapper actually rap - on many tracks, Rock just shouts his lyrics. Another problem is the fact that Rock consistently raps in an old school style - not a problem for most tracks but when taken over the length of the entire album the predictability of rhythm, cadence and subject matter (sample couplet: "I don't like small cars or real big women/but somehow I always find myself in 'em" - sentiments continued throughout the album) do wind up grating somewhat.
Twisted Brown Trucker seem to be suffering from a split personality problem on many of the tracks. It might be simply due to Rock's desire to cover so many musical bases (old school party rap to funk to metal to country and everything in between) but quite often the backing music is not as dynamic as perhaps it could be - even going some way to sounding derivative.
The memorable riffs might have gone some way to making the album the sales success it was (and still is) but there's really only so much you can do with them. Even the riffs on "Bawitdaba" get annoying after a while - even worse are the tracks which seem to have been built around a riff, they get to the "skip this track" stage far too quickly.
The last culprit here is Joe C. I fail to see what logic there is in putting him onto the tracks at all. The effect might be to beef up Rock's work on the title track but this doesn't work. What the actual effect of Joe's performance is can be summed up like this: "What on earth is a rapper even more profane than Rock doing on this track?". The other problem is that he sounds like he's about 5 years old - no matter how many fan sites say that he's 27 and a midget it isn't going to sway my view that Joe C should be at home in front of the Playstation.
That said, there are some tracks where everything seems to have come together (most of "Bawitdaba", "Welcome 2 Tha Party" and "Only God Knows Why" being the most obvious examples). These moments of brilliance hopefully point to a more cohesive album the next time these guys get together and record some new material - not "History Of Rock", I mean a proper release - hopefully sooner rather than later.
on February 17, 2001
Purchased CD on 2-15-01. I took my time in deciding whether or not I wanted this CD. I'm not too keen on the idea of mixing rock with rap, because I'm not fond of rap music at all. The tunes on this CD that are played on the radio airwaves (Cowboy, Wasting Time, Only God Knows Why, Bawitdaba) were to my liking, yet that still wasn't enough to sway my decision. I heard track 12 (F-ck Off) from the movie, and soundtrack for Dee Snider's 'Strangeland'. (another great CD!). So that made 5 tracks off this CD that I had heard, and liked, which exceeds my requirements before buying a CD from a "new face in the crowd". I threw caution into the wind, and bought the CD. I'm listening to it now, and keep hitting the "repeat" button on my CD player. This is good stuff! Although there is quite a bit of profanity throughout Kid Rocks tunes, the music itself is great. The rap and the rock blend together perfectly. It's got a good beat to it, and it gets the blood pumping, which would make this a great CD to take along with you to the gym to listen to while you workout! The CD jacket is mediocre. No song lyrics are printed. There is a nice photo of the band which includes the now passed on Joe C. I'm very happy with this purchase :)