Kid Rock is an American singer, songwriter and musician best known for hit songs like ‘All Summer Long’ and ‘Born Free.’ Due to his musical career, Kid Rock has spend the majority of his adult life living in Nashville, Tennessee, and Los Angeles, California. But where did Kid Rock grow up?
Kid Rock was born and raised in Romeo, Michigan, a small rural town north of Detroit. When Rock’s musical career took off, Rock left Michigan to tour the country and record music in studios in Tennessee and California. Yet until today, Kid Rock’s musical style remains influenced by underground Detroit rap, which he first encountered as a child growing up in Michigan.
Read more about Kid Rock’s childhood and teenage years in Detroit, why he eventually left his hometown and how growing up in Michigan influenced the music he makes.
Kid Rock was born as Robert James Ritchie in the Detroit suburb of Romeo, Michigan, on January 17, 1971, to father William Ritchie, owner of multiple car dealerships, and mother Susan Ritchie.
Rock’s childhood was rural: His father owned a six-acre estate and 5,628-square-foot home where Rock grew up, and so Rock spend his childhood helping out on the family farm and caring for his family’s horses.
When he was a teenager in the 1980s, Rock became interested in rap and hip hop music.
He began to breakdance, taught himself how to rap and DJ and started performing at local talent shows.
Subsequently he started working as a DJ in and around Detroit, and started making his first money from his music.
This was also around that time that Rock gained himself his stage name Kid Rock, after local club goers and club owners told him that they liked to see ‘that white kid rock.’
The self-taught musician quickly started gaining attention for his energetic and well-received performances.
He joined the hip hop music group ‘The Beast’ and got himself a professional music producer, who helped him released his debut studio album, ‘Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast’ in 1990, when Rock was only 17 years old.
His debut album made Rock one of the biggest rap stars in Detroit in the 1990s, and led to him meeting and befriending fellow local rapper Eminem.
Ultimately, when Rock became an internationally renowned musician with songs such as ‘All Summer Long’, he left Michigan for good and moved to California first and then to Tennessee.
As a well-known artist, Rock’s music became famous for its unique fusion of underground Detroit rap, hip hop, heavy metal and country rock.
Citing the Beastie Boys and their genre-defying musical sound as one of his original musical influences, Rock has always strived to mix many different genres, sounds and instruments in the music he produces.
And yet, over the years Rock seems to have altered his original sound and increasingly distanced himself from the Detroit rap of his early music career.
His second studio album ‘The Polyfuze Method’ (1993) saw him move closer to a rap rock sound, while Rock embraced a wholly new and eclectic sound with his third album ‘Early Morning Stoned Pimp’ (1996), which was a collection of funk, rap, soul and rock.
With his later albums like ‘Rock and Roll Jesus’ (2007) and ‘Born Free’ (2010), Rock
has noticeably shifted away from hip hop and Detroit rap and more towards country and rock.
Rock also moved to Nashville, a city known as the capital of American country music, which perhaps also accounted for his subtle shift in musical style.
Today, Rock is primarily known for country rock music which however does occasionally include original Detroit rap influences.
Ultimately, Rock remains a versatile musician, who has managed to integrate the sounds of his Michigan upbringing in his musical style throughout his successful career.