Romeo-born Ritchie was a little-known 17-year-old rapper and DJ when he was signed by the New York hip-hop label Jive Records, which issued his 1990 debut album, "Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast." He'd spent his teen years playing east side house parties and making connections on Detroit's fledgling hip-hop scene, and "Grits" was his Beastie Boys-inspired record of bawdy, boasting rap. JERRY (VILE) PETERSON (publisher, Orbit magazine): He had this giant Mt. He got a deal with an independent label, Continuum, and said, "(Screw) it, Clark.
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By the time his 10-show run wraps up, he'll have played to 150,000 hometown fans. Because Kid Rock got a head start in Detroit: a decade of building his name, grooming his sound and reinventing his persona from scrappy hip-hop street kid to swaggering rock-rap showman. You've heard that early stuff — a lot of profanity, real edgy, hard-core. But I remember telling him, "Dude, if you're going to make it to the next level, you've got to clean it up."MIKE HIMES (owner, Record Time shop): When "Grits Sandwiches" came out, he came in for an in-store (performance) at 10 and Gratiot. Toward the end, this blond-haired skinny kid kept yelling out — "I'll battle you! Maybe one day you'll have your day, but leave the guy alone." He followed him out to the parking lot still wanting to battle. He gave him a couple of his tapes: "Check me out." At least Kid Rock was cordial about it.
This year brought a new career chapter: Rock's album, "First Kiss," marked his departure from Atlantic Records, the company that launched him into the national spotlight with 1998's 10-million-selling "Devil Without a Cause."Getting to that point wasn't without struggle. He had the tall hair, spinning like he would at the bars in Mt. CLARK: (In 1990) Vanilla Ice came out and stunk things up.
He was also kind of disenfranchised from his dad at that point.
There wasn't a lot of financial support coming from the family.
When he first came into the studio he didn't really sound like that.
He was starting to get more of a rock edge, and that's what we tapped into — that rock 'n' roll spirit, that Detroit soul thing.
CLARK: The first time I ever heard him sing, East Detroit had recently changed its name to Eastpointe.
So Bob changed the lyrics to Billy Joel's "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" to record a cover version called "It's Still East Detroit to Me." He started singing, and I was like, "Dude, you sound amazing! When "Only God Knows Why" became a big hit later on (in 1999), he looked at me and said, "You know, you were the first (person) who told me I could sing."PETERSON: We'd have these Orbit karaoke nights, and that's when I learned he could actually sing. Plus he brought the mushrooms, which made the karaoke even more fun.
So he was probably most alone at that point — being heartbroken and away from his family and being on a smaller label like Continuum, not getting as much financial support.
But the one thing that was still there: He was motivated by fame.
It got him attention at first, but he realized that's not where he wanted to be.