It's easy to dismiss Kid Rock, aka Bob Ritchie, as just another rap-metal asshole, but the simple truth is that his five-times-platinum Devil Without a Cause is the most natural-sounding hesher/b-boy crossover album this side of Licensed to Ill. Ritchie, though he grew up on classic rock and outlaw country, has been honing his straight-outta-Detroit shtick for more than a decade--his Jive debut, Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast, was produced by Boogie Down Productions DJ D-Nice and west-coast rapper Too Short--and it shows. His flow, though blustery, never sounds forced; he's equally at ease singing over a wicked Soundgarden rip--"Rovin' Gangster (Rollin')" swipes the chorus of "Spoonman"--and spitting "working-class poetry" like "I never was cool with James Dean / But I be hangin' tough with my man Jim Beam" or "I don't like small cars or real big women / But somehow I always seem to find myself in 'em." And though the Kid's not exactly a loveable mug, next to an utterly misanthropic creep like Fred Durst he comes off as almost self-effacing. Both these shows, with Metallica and Sevendust, are sold out. Tuesday, January 4, and Wednesday, January 5, 7 PM, Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim, Rosemont; 847-635-6601 or 312-559-1212. MICHAELANGELO MATOS
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Joseph Cultice.