When Devil Without a Cause exploded onto the scene in 1998, Kid Rock was suddenly everywhere, seemingly out of nowhere. But underneath that fedora was the mind of an individual whose white-trash Grandmaster Flash persona had been conceived of, constructed, and refined over almost ten years of dogged determination. As a teenager growing up in Romeo, MI, Rock immersed himself in hip-hop culture. He learned to breakdance, grew in a high-top fade, and began rapping in a style similar to the Beastie Boys' License to Ill. A series of demo recordings led to a gig opening for Boogie Down Productions; that led in turn to a recording contract with Jive Records. The result was 1990's Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast. While its similarity to License to Ill borders on tribute range, Grits Sandwiches nevertheless contains a few elements of the Bob Seger-loving, turntable-scratching dirt-ass pimp character who would later emerge as the American Bad Ass. "Genuine Article" is an early version of Rock's distinctive first-person boast-speak; the track even includes a raw guitar sample in its verses. The riff from the Doobie Brothers' "China Grove" lights up the chorus of the otherwise tepid "With a One Two," though at this point in Rock's career, the reference was more likely an attempt to emulate the Beastie Boys' freewheeling use of rock samples over traditional beats than any nod to his later genre-mixing dirt-track irony. For despite Kid's distinct, hard-edged flow and references to the building blocks that would later make his career, Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast is a mostly laughable recording that apes not only the Beasties, but LL Cool J's "Going Back to Cali" ("Yo-Da-a-Lin in the Valley") and Rob Base ("The Upside"), two other hip-hop heavyweights of the era. Grits Sandwiches' best track is likely "Super Rhyme Maker," which references the Rock's high-top fade (immortalized in cartoon form in the album's cover art), and rhymes "gave a hoot" with "knock the boots."
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus