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During this time, Kid Rock developed animosity towards other Detroit artists, including Insane Clown Posse; according to Mike E.Clark, who worked with both artists, Kid Rock was frustrated with ICP's local success, as Kid Rock disliked ICP's music, and wanted to become more successful than ICP.Starting with his 2010 album Born Free, the country music style has dominated Kid Rock's musical direction, and since 2007's Rock N Roll Jesus until 2017's Sweet Southern Sugar, Kid Rock has not been doing rap songs.During this time, Kid Rock began his professional association with producer Mike E.A self-taught multi-instrumentalist who can play every instrument in his backing band, Twisted Brown Trucker, Kid Rock has overseen his own production on nine of his eleven studio albums.Kid Rock started his professional music career as a self-taught rapper and DJ, releasing his debut album Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast in 1990 on the major record label Jive; his subsequent independent releases The Polyfuze Method and Early Mornin' Stoned Pimp saw him developing a more distinctive style which was fully realized on his 1998 album Devil Without a Cause; this and his subsequent album Cocky were noted for blending elements of hip hop, country, rock and heavy metal.In 2015, following the Charleston church shooting, the Michigan chapter of the National Action Network protested outside of the Detroit Historical Museum which honored Ritchie; activists urged Ritchie to renounce the Confederate flag, which he had displayed in concerts from 2001 to 2006. Ritchie is an advocate for affordable concert tickets, and makes an effort to try and sell tickets to his performances for as low as possible to encourage increased concert attendance for lower income consumers and discourage scalping.
Hockey player Jeremy Roenick praised the choice and condemned Kid Rock's critics, saying, "Kid Rock is the most talented musician, I think ever, on the planet, because you can put any instrument in your hand or on your mouth and you can play anything and rock a house and sing any kind of genre." It was also announced that, in March 2018, Kid Rock would perform on Lynyrd Skynyrd's final tour before the Southern rock band retired, alongside Hank Williams Jr., Bad Company, the Marshall Tucker Band and 38 Special.Kid Rock's lyricism ranges from the braggadocio to the introspective; many of his raps consist of broad, humorous boasting, while other songs in his catalog have dealt with more serious topics, including poverty, war, race relations, interracial dating, abortion and patriotism.Cowboys & Indians claims that Kid Rock's song "Cowboy" had a major impact on the country music scene; the magazine alleges that artists Jason Aldean and Big & Rich, among others, were influenced by the song's country rap style.Through extensive promoting, including distributing tapes on consignment to local stores and giving away free samplers of his music, Kid Rock developed a following among an audience which DJ Uncle Kracker described as "white kids who dropped acid and liked listening to gangsta rap"; this following included local rapper Joe C, who had been attending Kid Rock concerts as a fan, but upon meeting Kid Rock, was invited to perform on stage as Kid Rock's hype man.Kid Rock's stage presence became honed with the addition of a light show, pyrotechnics, dancers and a light-up backdrop bearing the name "Kid Rock", and 1996 saw the release of his most rock-oriented album to date, Early Mornin' Stoned Pimp; the album's title came from Bob Eberling, who told a sleepless, alcoholic, drug-using Kid Rock, "Dude, you are the early-morning, stoned pimp." Though Kid Rock became known for frequent partying, and using drugs and alcohol, he was predominately focused on increasing his success and fame, placing himself as a businessman first; the result of this drive led to increased success locally.