Kid Rock

Song Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Kid Rock kicked around for years before he had an unexpected success in 1999 with his fourth album, Devil Without a Cause. Why then, why that record? "Bawitadaba" was the reason why. Before that song, rap-rock was really better in theory than in practice. For nearly a decade, groups had hacked out a rather anemic blend of metal riffs, hip-hop beats, and wack raps. Kid Rock wasn't innocent in this matter, either. At times, some got closer to nirvana than others -- certain critics will argue to the death that Rage Against the Machine was a cathartic blast of noise -- but nothing hit like "Bawitadaba." The reason? It's a rock song -- a behemoth, actually, towering above any other hard rock of the last portion of the '90s. Kid -- and his name is Kid, as he reminds us over and over again in the song -- raps, but his band, the Dirty Brown Trucker Band, doesn't pay that any mind. They rock, rock harder than anyone had in years. But "Bawitadaba" isn't even a triumph of riff over matter, it's an organic onslaught of sound. Try separating the riff from the rhythm or Kid's vocals -- it's impossible, since none of it works on its own. That said, Kid Rock had never been as clever on record as he was here -- the shout-out to "all my heroes in the methadone clinics," the "half-pints of love and the fifths of stress," and the exhortation to "get in the pit and try to love someone" are all subtle masterpieces of pop culture riffing. But these are things you notice later, after you stop chanting "up jump the boogie," while forgetting where that line came from (Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight," for those of you keeping score). And it would be many spins later on this ingenious blend of first-rate song and sound.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Devil Without a Cause 1998 Lava Records 4:27
Free Air, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
GoBig! 4:25
Totally Hits 1999
Various Artists
Arista 4:26
Ready to Rumble [Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture] 2000
Various Artists
143 Records / Atlantic 3:49