White conservative males criticizing Black hip hop stars isn’t anything new or anything to write about. But what if the Caucasian male Republican was someone who built a lucrative career off of hip hop music? That was the case this week when white rapper-turned-rocker Kid Rock gave his half-baked assessment of Beyoncé’s overwhelming celebrity.
"Beyoncé, to me, doesn't have a f****g 'Purple Rain,' but she's the biggest thing on Earth,” he said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “How can you be that big without at least one 'Sweet Home Alabama' or 'Old Time Rock & Roll’?”
But the critique didn’t stop at her music. Rock also had an opinion about her look, saying, “People are like, 'Beyoncé's hot. Got a nice f****g a**.' I'm like, 'Cool, I like skinny white chicks with big t**s.' Doesn't really f*****g do much for me."
Digging through the archives of his past comments, you see he hasn’t reserved his caustic views just for Beyoncé, which had the BeyHive in a vitriolic response campaign. Two years ago, he fired verbal shots at Jay Z, calling the high-priced tickets to his Legends of the Summer Tour with Justin Timberlake “highway robbery.” Moreover, he campaigned on behalf of President Barack Obama's opponent Mitt Romney during the 2012 re-election campaign.
The irony of Kid Rock’s views on certain hip hop stars (and a president who owes much of his historic election to the popularity of hip hop) is that he built his pop music fame and fortune off this cultural movement. The Detroit native began his music career as a teen rapper, releasing his lackluster debut LP, Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast, in 1990. He’d find the chart-topping success he craved after growing his hair long, throwing rock guitars into his rap mix (à la Run-DMC) and scoring multi-platinum hits in 1999 with cuts like “Cowboy” and “Bawidaba.”
By then, his white flight from rap moved him into rock music’s pre-millennium sub-genre rapcore (aka nu metal, aka rap metal) where rock groups like Limp Bizkit, Korn and Rage Against the Machine refreshed heavy metal’s sound with elements of rap and DJ scratching. Kid Rock was now home amongst a generation of white dudes who’d grown up loving Public Enemy and NWA as well as rock gods like Black Sabbath.
However, when the popularity of rapcore fizzled heading into the 21st century Mr. Rock, who again landed a massive hit with the chart-topping collaboration “Picture” with Sheryl Crow, soon found himself immensely popular with a new audience: the country music crowd. You know them: gun-loving, NASCAR watching, Republican voting and Obama bashing. In fact, Rock became best buds with country music icon Hank Williams Jr. who, in 2011, caused an uproar after comparing the president to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Not to mention the rap-rocker owns a “Ted Nugent for President” bumper sticker. (If you're not familiar with Nugent’s polictical views, Google them at your own risk.)
But the change in Kid Rock — from rap wannabe to star rocker to backwoods conservative — isn’t a simple one either. Although he believes in the Good Ol' Party (or the party of the rich), he’s a serious advocate for have-nots, especially when it comes to the music industry. Holding his concert ticket prices down to $20, he’s constantly railing against the hyper-capitalistic tendencies of the music biz. Which, ultimately, was his beef with Jay Z and Timberlake when he blasted their tour.
So what about his jabs at Queen Bey? In short, Kid Rock sounded exactly the way he was tagged in the Rolling Stone piece: like a "right-wing politician catering to his base." And like most GOP pols, Kid Rock’s stumping against an “other” in American popular culture comes fraught with contradiction and, again, irony. Like him questioning the validity of Beyoncé’s artistry when his has also come into question. (As if he’s ever created the great American pop classic in any genre.) Or his disregard of Bey’s beauty, spouting his own preference for skinny white women with huge breasts. This from a man whose Black son came from the ex-Black girlfriend who’s body Rock nostalgically described as Jessica Rabbit.
It’s common knowledge that you shouldn’t take a politician’s opinion seriously because they change with the times. By comparison Kid Rock’s views are shaky because they're gone with the wind.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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(Photo: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)