[HOT TRACK]Hip-hop cowboy's hubris works

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[HOT TRACK]Hip-hop cowboy's hubris works

A cocky person usually rubs you the wrong way, unless you think he's earned the right to swagger. Such is the case with Kid Rock and his new album "Cocky." Kid Rock is uncompromisingly egocentric. He finds nothing wrong with a life spent drinking, smoking, slacking and trying to free his mind.

Kid Rock's displayed that bravado on his 2000 best-of collection, "The History of Rock." Judging by how well the album sold, Kid Rock's cockiness seems to rub people the right way. Now he is back with some new work, without giving an inch in attitude. He flaunts and taunts by rapping out lines like "Got more money than Matchbox 20 - get more ass than Mark McGrath."

To his credit, Kid Rock is very forthcoming about what he does. In the opening cut, he sings: "I make punk rock and mix it with hip-hop. I make southern rock and mix it with hip-hop." If you can stomach the explicit lyrics of the album - it's a veritable four-letter fest - you may be able to appreciate his brazen, witty lyrics which fuse well with a slew of musical styles.

Born Bob Ritchie, Kid Rock grew up in Detroit, Michigan. As a musician, he remained anonymous for more than a decade while he experimented with the punk, metal and hip-hop styles that were coming and going. Then his 1998 album, "Devil Without a Cause," raised eyebrows, especially with the self-aggrandizing cut "Cowboy."

"Cocky" does not vary much from the "Devil Without a Cause" formula. It features a sound that is straightforward and multifaceted at the same time and enjoyable throughout. Each of the 14 cuts is original and distinct. "Forever," with a potent guitar riff, is dancy and hip-hoppy, and spiced with saucy rapping by Kid Rock and his backups. "I'm Wrong but You Ain't Right," is bona fide hard rock with the guitars ablazin', while "Baby Come Home" has a country sound with a little bit of rock blended in for good measure.

And Kid Rock does not only shout and rap. He can croon, too. On "Midnight Train to Memphis" he surprises by cranking out a powerful ballad with atmosphere. Another engaging ballad is "Picture," on which his former flame Sheryl Crow lends a hand. Now Kid Rock is seeing Pamela Anderson, who recently announced that she would forgo her illustrious acting career to perform in Kid Rock's shows as a stripper.

"If it looks good, you'll see it; if it sounds good, you'll hear it, if it's marketed right, you'll buy it; but if it's real, you'll feel it," Kid Rock says on his liner notes. By that measure, "Cocky" is real.

by Chun Su-jin

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