On “Pimp of the Nation,” released on the maxi-single Your Moma Presents Kid Rock, Detroit rapper cum rawk star Kid Rock switched up Funkadelic’s “One nation under a groove” mantra and dropped his own bad-ass self at the centre of the mix, letting everyone know that from now it’s “one nation under a pimp.” Gone was the funkmob’s policosexy assurance that everyone would get along better and get laid more if they would just start moving to the music, replaced by it’s-all-about-me big dick bravado.
That was 10 years ago, and not much has changed since, except for the fact that Kid Rock isn’t hustling around Detroit trying to sell himself as part crown prince of the ‘hood, part trailer-park superstar. Now he is on the cover of Rolling Stone giving the finger to whoever gives a shit.
On Mr. Rock’s latest, a newly polished overview of his career called The History of Rock, the pimp fantasy has remained the deep well of inspiration. A fantasy appealing mostly to nice white suburban 14-year-olds, it presents the world as being populated by sexually available women (called “bitches” and “hos”) and endlessly virile men who have buckets and buckets of cash at their immediate disposal. When their manhood is not being serviced, these men spend all day listening to classic rock stations while driving around in beautiful Cadillac El Dorado convertibles, packing bongs and for some inexplicable reason swigging on bottles of Tussin’ while on the way to go check out some old-school hip-hop show.
The whole scene is set to a mix of hip-hop metal posing (“American Badass,” with the classic line “I know it stinks in here / ‘cause I’m the shit,” and “Dark and Grey”), arena rock licks (“Prodigal Son,” originally released on 1992’s The Polyfuze Method and “Oedipus Complex” versions of which date back to 1994) and old school rhythms (“Paid” from 1996’s Early Morning Stoned Pimp). Even the roots of rock ‘n’ roll are tapped when “Johnny B. Goode” shows up as the musical backdrop of “Born to be a Hick.”
Musically, things come together best for Kid Rock and crew when the mix gets loose and funky, the best example of which is certainly “EMSP” (aka “Early Morning Stoned Pimp”) with a nice B.B. King sample and barrelhouse piano setting off the inevitable pose-and-boast rhyme. Yep, this is the lowest common denominator in boy rap, shamelessly appealing to farm boys who blow off school to get fucked up on cough syrup, and whose mythic imagination is populated by stoned pimps smoking cigars and running the Street. Nice world we’re living in huh?
// Notes from the Road
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