Kid Rock is a 51 year old rapper, singer, songwriter, producer & DJ from Romeo, Michigan who came up as a b-boy for The Beast Crew in the late 80’s. However, he wound up signing to Jive Records & RCA Records for his full-length debut Grit Sandwiches for Breakfast before they cut ties with him due to comparisons to Vanilla Ice. Bobby then dropped The Polyfuze Method & Early Mornin’ Stoned Pimp on his independently owned Top Dog Records, but got Atlantic Records to help back Devil Without a Cause & the success of that rap rock classic lead to him shifting away from hip hop to teeter between classic rock & country for the last 2 decades even to this day. This foray has been either hit or miss with me personally, but I can’t deny the success of “Picture” & “All Summer Long” (the latter of which has been revealed in recent years even by the producer Mike E. Clark to have been originally made for the Insane Clown Posse) or how much I enjoyed the Rick Rubin-produced Born Free since it originally came out back when I was in middle school. But given that it’s been a little over 4 years since Sweet Southern Sugar & his homeboy Donald Trump being voted out of office, Kid Rock has seen fit to return with his 12th full-length album.
“Don’t Tell Me How to Live” was not only the worst single of last year, but it pretty much sets the tone for the whole album by bastardizing the Monster Truck joint of the same name referring to millennials as pussies whereas “We the People” follows it up with a temper tantrum against Joe Biden & coming from someone who didn’t even vote for him or Trump in the past election, it’s just very tedious & feels redundant since we don’t even have mask/vaccines mandates here in Michigan anymore as far as I’m concerned. “My Kind of Country” comes through with an annoying country rock ballad talking about liking it rough & real just before the title track is an underwhelming attempt at a hard rock party anthem.
Meanwhile on “Never Quit”, we have Kid Rock returning to country rock territory to talk about fighting like a g leading into the hideous trap/rock fusion “Shakedown” saying nothing’s gonna stop him. “Rockin’” is actually one of the more heartfelt moments on the album taking a southern rock route to talk about becoming a grandfather, but then “The Last Dance” follows it up with a twangy romance ballad.
“See You Again” jumps into acoustic territory singing about missing his lover while “Still Somethin’” mixes some pianos & a guitar expressing his love for rock music. “She’s Your Baby (Now Rock Her)” works in some live drums & horn sections talking about thanking God for your girlfriend whereas “Never Enough” on the other hands sings about a love that’s too much & the heavy auto-tune on his voice sounds so awful.
Following that, “Everything to Me” returns to southern rock turf describing how much his lady means to him & “Cold Beer” follows it up with a more folkier sound talking about summer campfires. “Ala-Fuckin’-Bama” is an awkward ode to the titular state given that Kid Rock isn’t from there at all like he says during the hook while the song “Am What I Am” steers things back to a more rap rock sound talking about being born in the country & raised in the streets.
The penultimate track “The Nashville I Know” comes through with a straight up country jam expressing his love for the Tennessee capital except it’s a lot more tolerable than “Ala-Fuckin’-Bama” is, but at least “50” finishes the album with an introspective country rock tune expressing how he feels about turning 50 a little over a year ago at this point.
Now before anyone reading this review tries to come at me & call me a liberal, I wanna make it clear as day that I’m NOT democratic OR republican because I believe both sides of our 2-party system are equally corrupt. That being said, Bad Reputation is basically RƎVIVAL for conservatives because it’s all over the place & the blatantly obvious lack of focus with the political concept that both albums show. However, I’ll ALWAYS give him credit for being one of Detroit’s first big emcees along with Awesome Dré & Esham. Much like how I’ll always give Eminem his props for his impact on the culture.