Kid Rock showed some insight in his rap lyrics for "*** U Blind" (the first version of a track that was later rewritten with different lyrics), where he recounts a skeezer who jocks him by throwing on a Public Enemy
shirt, but in actuality doesn't listen to other hip-hop besides Kid. It's the kind of social commentary Eminem
won acclaim for with tracks like "White America" and "Without Me", where Marshall Mathers analyzed his place as a white boy whose whiteness introduced mainstream America to hip-hop, and in the process made him very rich. This was where Bob Ritchie, the future white trash country rap-rocker was when he was touring nationally to promote his hip-hop debut Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast
, where he was kind of a white Too Short with a high-top fade and aspirations of redneckdom, and, according to one interview, a desire to be black. On that and the subsequent indie hip-hop albums he released, the lyrical references to being the Pimp of the Nation are there, and some rednecky aspects, but the "Devil Without a Cause" took a while to emerge fully. For example, Grits
showed very little of his rock aspirations, focusing mostly on Beasties-style hip-hop.
shows some growth both lyrically and musically. There's a lot more rap-rock here, a kind of prototype to his later sound, accomplished largely by extensive unlicensed samples. The sound of the album is similar to the psychedelic hip-hop of Paul's Boutique
or De La Soul
's 3 Feet High
album, with almost every track sampling about a million different sources, as well as some live instruments performed by Kid Rock himself, his producers, and session musicians. And lyrically, of course, there's growth, especially exemplified by "My Oedipus Complex" and "In So Deep", which are very self-reflective lyrically. The former is a Southern rock track which deals with the complicated paternal relationship between Bob and his car dealer father, which runs through anger and Kid's suspicions his dad's just a racist flipped by his son's relationship with a black woman, to understanding, with Kid Rock singing and rapping both parts of the argument in character as both himself and his father--showing both his songwriting talent and the courage to write from ugly perspectives which underscores his talent as a songwriter. "In So Deep" is a heavy metal song with no rapping whatsoever, where Kid Rock sings about his hedonism from a perspective of regret, not bravado, where he questions the meaninglessness of his drug-fueled lifestyle. Another example occurs in the autobiographical "Prodigal Son", sounding more like the Beastie Boys than the Skynyrd-esque blues-rock version he later cut for The History of Rock
Of course, being the hip-hop era Kid Rock, the main focus lyrically is not introspection: you'll have to wait until the country-driven albums like Born Free
and First Kiss
to get full albums of that kind of songwriting. Here, Bob is young, dumb and horny, and a lot of the lyrics continue the X-rated, Blowfly style raps of his debut. There's "Desperate-Rado", a prototype to his later track "Cowboy", only with a rap-rock sound akin to the Beastie Boys, no country elements, and much filthier lyrics. "Cowboy" had lyrics about painting the sheriff's wife white..."Desperate-Rado" has him alluding to sheep-screwing. Rather than being partly filthy like his later hit, "Desperate-Rado" is all the way filthy, and super over the top, in a good way, like the Beastie Boys' "Paul Revere" crossed with Kool Keith
pornocore. A rapping cowboy having wet dreams about Annie Oakly and heading for the whorehouse because his Wranglers don't fit right unless his dick's soft. Then there's "Balls In Your Mouth", a riff on a Howard Stern routine. And "3 Sheets to the Wind", an ode to LSD and alcoholism punctuated by funky synthesizer lines and hard rock guitar riffs.
A lot of this material is basically X-rated comedy rap, informed by the likes of Eddie Murphy, Andrew "Dice" Clay, Rudy Ray Moore and so forth, but the joke is funny and set to innovative funky hip-hop and rip-snorting rap-rock. Kid Rock wouldn't introduce country into his sound until recording the first version of "Black Chick White Guy" for Early Mornin' Stoned Pimp
. The Polyfuze Method
earns a lot of replay value for being different, original and unique, even within Kid Rock's catalog. An educated guess would be a lot of the album was musically informed by his dropping acid, since references to LSD appear throughout the album, not the least of which being the intro, "Fred", which samples someone's recollection of the effects of acid. LSD, and every other psychedelic drug Kid rocked during this period, clearly influenced his musical direction, the sampling style, and the composition of these tracks.
Yeah, sure, you're dismissive of Kid Rock because of his politics, but when judged as a piece of music without the personal political biases, The Polyfuze Method
is dope, it's got some good legitimate songwriting, as well as well constructed exercises in superfluous vulgarity. It's firing at all cylinders at once, and yes, it's low-budget and the early version of "My Oedipus Complex" is way inferior to the re-recorded version he cut for The History of Rock
, but as he later said, he clearly had a vision here, and it's easy to see how he was building his way towards being a Southern rock frontman with Twisted Brown Trucker. He just used hip-hop as his doorway in, because, as he later said, hip-hop is a modern form of blues music, and showing from the way Kid Rock would later play the real thing, or blues-derived genres like blues-rock, country, country-rock or country rap, the blues runs deep in Kid Rock and his respect for black music is unquestionable. There's never a moment in his entire catalog where he comes across as being disrespectful towards black music, and this love for black music pays off on this album.