For a decade before his breakthrough into stardom, he lived a secluded small-town life; releasing obscure albums for his local fan base. His debut album, Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast, was released on Jive Records in 1990 and earned him attention. However, Jive dropped him from the label. Next, he signed with Continuum Records and released The Polyfuze Method in 1993 and Fire It Up in 1994. He sold bootleg dubs of his own records to pay his rent and worked as a janitor at Detroit's famed White Room Studios to save enough money to record his 1996 release Early Morning Stoned Pimp. After this release garnered him local attention, Kid Rock went on to form a backing band, which he called Twisted Brown Trucker.
In 1997 to 1998, the rap-metal music scene was booming with artists such as Korn, Rage Against the Machine and Limp Bizkit. Kid Rock got his big break when Atlantic Records decided to take a chance and sign him to their label. In 1998 he released his debut mainstream album Devil Without A Cause. It sold 11 million albums behind the hits, "Bawitdaba" , "Cowboy", and "Only God Knows Why".
In 2000 he released The History of Rock which was a compilation of remixed and mastered versions of songs from old albums as well as the hit "American Bad Ass". In 2001 he released Cocky. After a slow start, his country crossover hit "Picture" with Sheryl Crow resurrected the album and it went gold as a single and pushed the album's sales to more than 4 million. His 2003 self-titled release failed to chart a major hit. It was followed by Live Trucker in 2006, which was a live greatest hits album.
Currently Kid Rock is enjoying success in the U.S. and across Europe with his latest release, Rock N Roll Jesus, backed in particular by the album's third single, "All Summer Long". As of the week ending September 13, 2008, that single sat at number 23 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and it has also gone number one in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The album has been certified double platinum in the U.S. and gold in Canada and Germany.
In addition to DJing, Rock started rapping and joined hip hop group The Beast Crew comprised of The Blackman, Champtown, KDC, Crisp and Doc Rounce Cee. Rock also became friends with producer D-Nice of the legendary hip-hop group Boogie Down Productions. When Rock opened for BDP one night, D-Nice invited an A&R representative from Jive Records to see him perform. This meeting led to a demo deal, which developed into a full record contract. Against his parents' wishes, Rock signed the deal at the age of seventeen. Despite his new record deal, he had a falling out with The Beast Crew when he signed over fellow member Champtown (the two have since made amends). Rock later became part of the Straight From The Underground Tour, where he found himself alongside several heavyweights of rap including Ice Cube, Too Short, D-Nice, and Yo-Yo.
In December 1990, Kid Rock released his debut album Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast on Jive Records. The lead single "Yo Da Lin In The Valley" was banned by the FCC for its fixation on oral sex, and received at the time the largest non-commercial radio fine of all time at $23,750 fined to SUNY Cortland Radio (WSUC-FM). Because of this Jive sat on the record and then released Kid Rock from their roster in 1991.
Kid Rock started his own label, Top Dog Records, and released monthly demo tapes dubbed The Bootleg Series, which featured demos of him and other up-and-coming rappers in the Detroit area. He signed on Curt Hauer, Dave Long, and the Cook twins to be his "Top Dog Interns". The interns would help him promote his shows and design his own merchandise line in the Detroit area. Around the same time, Rock formed his back-up band Twisted Brown Trucker, later recruiting Joe C., who he met at a 1994 concert, as part of the group. In 1995, Rock took a job as a janitor at Whiterooms Studios in order to pay studio fees. When he wasn't working, Kid would record the material that would eventually make up his fourth album, Early Morning Stoned Pimp. The album was released in 1996 and Rock sold 14,000 copies out of the trunk of his car and after concerts.
While Rock was now popular in Michigan and controlling his own label, he felt he needed to get attention from a major label. In December 1996, Lava/Atlantic Records A&R man Andy Karp, traveled to Cleveland to see Rock perform at a small club called The Grog Shop. On March 30, 1997, Rock performed a special showcase concert, with Jason Krause on guitar, to attract major label attention. While many of the major labels were invited, the only attendees were Karp and Lava President Jason Flom (Lava/Atlantic Records). Following the performance, record executives said they loved him but expressed doubts about the strength of his material. Kid Rock returned to the studio and cut a six song demo tape; the first two songs on the tape were "Somebody's Gotta Feel This" and "I Got One For Ya". After hearing the two songs, Jason Flom supported Karp in signing Kid Rock to a record deal for $100,000, without even hearing the rest.
Audiences ignored "Welcome 2 The Party" and Devil sat on the shelves collecting dust for eight months. While sales nationwide lagged, his performance on the 1998 Warped Tour in Northampton, Massachusetts stimulated regional interest in Massachusetts and New England. This led to substantial airplay in the summer and fall of 1998 on rock staples in Massachusetts WZLX and WAAF. In December 1998, after meeting Carson Daly, he got an offer to perform on MTV Fashionably Loud in Miami, giving the nation its first taste of Kid Rock. From there, MTV took him under their wing as he performed on MTV's Wanna B A VJ and was the DJ for TRL on the Spring Break Special as well as a judge on Say What Karaoke. This sparked him to gold status by April 1999, which is when he decided to launch his profile in the UK.
In May 1999, he released the song "Bawitdaba" to radio outlets, and proceeded to blow up overnight. By June, the album had gone platinum. Kid Rock went on the Limptropolis Tour with fellow rap-rockers Limp Bizkit and Staind in the same month, his first major tour. By the time he made his career defining performance at Woodstock 1999 on July 27, 1999, he was double platinum. The following single "Cowboy" was an even bigger hit. It was an oddball mix of southern rock and old school rap that found its way into the Top 40. Rock helped create one of the most memorable moments in MTV history with his 1999 Video Music Awards medley with Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith who rejoined to perform the seminal rap-rock version of "Walk This Way", the same song that revived Aerosmith's career in the 1980s. Rock's next single, the southern rock ballad "Only God Knows Why", became a top 20 hit on Billboard's Hot 100 Charts and a Top 10 on the Top 40 Charts. After the final single "Wasting Time" was released, Devil Without A Cause had gone seven times platinum and was nominated for three Grammy Awards. It was certified 11 times platinum by the RIAA on April 17, 2003.
In mid-2000, Rock joined the Summer Sanitarium Tour with Metallica, Korn, Powerman 5000, and System of a Down. Kid Rock filled in for James Hetfield of Metallica, singing vocals on the songs "Enter Sandman", "Sad But True", and "Nothing Else Matters" and the turntables for "Fuel", for three shows after Hetfield injured his spine riding a jet ski on Lake Lanier the day before the Atlanta concert. Later that year, he joined Phish on stage for several cover songs at a concert in Las Vegas. Kid Rock recorded a few songs with the legendary blues artist Robert Bradley and Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise in 2000 on their album Time To Discover.
In early 2001, Rock inducted Aerosmith into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and performed "Sweet Emotion" at the induction ceremony. The same year, Rock landed his first acting role in the David Spade white trash comedy Joe Dirt.
In early 2001, Rock began dating Playboy playmate and actress Pamela Anderson, after the two met at a VH1 tribute to Aretha Franklin. By April 2002, he and Anderson were engaged, but the engagement was later called off. In November, Rock released Cocky, which was marketed as the official follow up to Devil Without a Cause. The first single, "Forever", featured his standard rap-rock sound. The second single showed a glimpse of the future. "Lonely Road of Faith", a country ballad, received some minor airplay on CMT. That was followed by the southern rocker "You Never Met a Motherfucker Quite Like Me". By November 2002, album sales lagged far behind Devil Without A Cause.
However, the release of "Picture", a country-influenced duet with Sheryl Crow, introduced Rock to a wider audience. "Picture" was ultimately the most successful single on the album, and was eventually certified gold, with album sales reaching 5 million. Interestingly, neither his record company nor Sheryl Crow's wanted anything to do with "Picture" as a single. Allison Moorer remade the song for the single version after Rock released the song against his label's wishes. Once it began to climb the country charts, Sheryl Crow's label caved and the original version was released.
On December 14, 2001, CMT aired an episode of Crossroads featuring Rock with Hank Williams, Jr. The episode drew 2.1 million viewers, a record on CMT. At the end of 2002, Uncle Kracker left the band to pursue a solo career and Detroit underground rapper Paradime replaced him. Kid Rock also made his second movie, Biker Boyz, with Laurence Fishburne.
Kid Rock was involved in the halftime show controversy at Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston, Texas on February 3, 2005. He was criticized by war veterans for his choice of wearing the American flag as a poncho.
The following month, Kid inducted Bob Seger into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In September, Kid Rock filled in for Johnny Van Zant, the lead singer of Lynyrd Skynyrd on the band's hit Sweet Home Alabama at the Hurricane Katrina benefit concert.
On February 28, 2006, Kid Rock released his first live album, Live Trucker, comprising songs from his homestead performances in Clarkston (on September 1, 2000, and August 26 through August 28, 2004), and Detroit's Cobo Hall (March 26, 2004). The album contained the last two performances of Joe C. on "Devil Without a Cause" and "Early Mornin' Stoned Pimp", as well as Kid duetting with country star Gretchen Wilson on "Picture". Other highlights included "Only God Knows Why" and the medley of "Somebody's Gotta Feel This" and "Fist Of Rage" bridged by a thrash metal take on Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love". He brought Detroit's favorite son Bob Seger back from semi-retirement during his pre-Super Bowl concerts on February 2 and 3, 2006. The two performed a rousing version of Seger's "Rock 'N' Roll Never Forgets" on both nights. Kid Rock would appear on Bob Seger's much anticipated, ten years in the waiting, Face The Promise, as well as on a Vince Gill cover of "Real Mean Bottle", a tribute to country legend Merle Haggard.
Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson resumed their on-again, off-again relationship, culminating in a surprise wedding in July 2006 after it was reported Anderson was pregnant.
The album's lead single "So Hott", described as a strip club banger by Rolling Stone magazine, was his best charting rock song of his career, as it climbed all the way to Number 2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks and Number 13 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks.
"Amen" was the second released single off the album, peaking at number 11 on Mainstream Rock and number 27 on Modern Rock. Kid Rock boasted it was the greatest song he had ever written.
"All Summer Long" is the third single from Rock N Roll Jesus. The song samples the music from Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama", with new lyrics by Kid Rock. The song has become Kid Rock's biggest hit to date charting on every major U.S. and Canadian chart (outside of the Rap and R&B charts), as well as going number one across Europe in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and also Australia. The song has also placed in the Top 10 in the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Italy, France and Sweden. It is currently at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is also his highest charting song in the United Kingdom, charting at #1 four weeks after its release. The song was used as the WWE's theme song for Backlash 2008.
Kid Rock released both "Rock N Roll Jesus" and "Roll On" as his follow up singles to "All Summer Long".
Rock N Roll Jesus took home the award for Most Outstanding National Album at the 2008 Detroit Music Awards, the first time he has won that award since Devil Without A Cause in 1999.
Kid Rock is currently on his Rock N Roll Rebels Tour with Lynyrd Skynyrd.
The DVD Insomnia will be released October 10,2008 in the UK.
Reverend Run has confirmed an album with Kid Rock called Running With the Kid, a play on Eric Clapton and B. B. King's Riding With The King collaboration. The release date is yet to be determined. Kid Rock will appear on Lil Jon's 2008 album, Crunk Rock and will also be on the track "Together Forever" with Trick Trick on his forthcoming album.
Kid Rock has stated for his follow up album to Rock N Roll Jesus he will be going back to his roots to make a hip-hop album, after his side project with Rev Run.
Kenny Olson went on to form a band called The Flask, who later switched singers and changed their name to Five Star Carnie.
Kid Rock has his own clothing line called Made In Detroit which he started in 2003. His own brew of beer is currently in the works; due to hit shelves in the spring of 2009. He's also working on getting his own brand of cigars made as well.