When it came time for Kid Rock to record a follow-up album to his 1998 breakthrough Devil Without a Cause, he opted to make a prequel instead of a sequel. Rummaging through two early and largely forgotten efforts—1993's The Polyfuze Method and 1996's Early Mornin' Stoned Pimp—he created the aptly titled History of Rock (Lava/Atlantic). "It would have been so easy to just slap those two records together and make a ton of cash," he says, "but I put time and effort into it."
The hard work paid off. Although Rock rerecorded several tracks and added two new songs, History illustrates that his multiplatinum status wasn't built in a day. "I wrote corny stuff," says Rock (he isn't kidding; just listen to "Born to Be a Hick"). "But I always thought it was important for kids to know that I didn't just pop up overnight."
When Rock (real name: Robert Ritchie) isn't in the studio, the 29-year-old single dad is home in Detroit with son Junior, 7. Rock hopes his upcoming summer tour with Metallica will silence his critics once again. "I'm ready for people to take shots at me," he says. "I'm very cocky because I've always backed it up."