It's not how big it is. It's what you do with it that counts...
Self-esteem has never really been an issue for Kid Rock, the other cartoon white
trash rapper from Detroit. Even by the exacting standards of hip-hop, where
grandstanding about talent, wealth and sexual prowess is breakfast, lunch and
dinner, Kid Rock‘s opinion of himself is sufficiently robust these days to
warrant naming an entire album after it. But does ‘Cocky’ hold up?
Having constructed a larger than life, pimp-rolling superstar persona, Kid Rock‘s past boasts have now become reality. And now all the enthusiastic blasts Rock plays on his own trumpet are merely triumphalist, rather than entertainingly wishful. [I]”It ain’t bragging if you back it up,”[/I] he observes on the still-quite-funny ‘Cocky’; [I]”I make more money than Matchbox Twenty.”[/I] (In America, this is a boast). ‘Who’s In The House’, too, is a potent
mixture of braggadocio and, well, braggadocio. The record’s highlight, ‘You
Never Met A White Boy (or, on the dirty version, Motherfucker) Quite Like Me’ is
Self-explanatory, and recalls [I]”meeting the President when I was half-stoned”[/I]. It
also excellently rhymes [I]”beam me up Scotty”[/I] with [I]”Slip in your botty.”[/I]
‘Forever’, meanwhile, is like a station ident for his great works, in case you’d
forgotten what makes the Kid rock. [I]”I make Southern rock!/And I mix it with the
hip-hop!”[/I] it instructs. The bottom line? [I]”15 million sold, motherfucker,”[/I] is,
Rock believes, the end of any quarrel with his talent.
What’s curious here is how, for all the Kid‘s ludicrous victory laps, ‘Cocky’ is
so soft in the middle. Rock‘s trademark rap-rock posturing has gradually been
overtaken by his love of Southern boogie and big, soppy ballads For every Run
DMC sample (‘Trucker Anthem’), there’s one from ‘Freebird’ or a snatch of
‘Dixie’; suddenly, Detroit’s in the South and everything’s gone all ‘Sweet Home
Alabama’. He has [I]feelings[/I], too, as revealed in ‘Picture’, a duet with
Sheryl Crow. Rock‘s aware it’s all a risk: he includes a fan remonstrating with
him on ‘Midnight Train To Memphis’, before turning up the volume again. But by
the time ‘Drink In The Morning’ rolls round, though, Rock‘s wondering if his
money solves his problems or just creates more of them.