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Kid Rock's attorney, Tommy Valentino, increased his stature by helping him get articles written about Kid Rock and Twisted Brown Trucker in major publications, including the Beastie Boys' Grand Royal magazine, but though his management tried to interest local record labels in his music, they told his management team that they were not interested in signing a white rapper, to which Valentino told them, "He's not a white rapper.
He's a rock star and everything in between." In 1997, Jason Flom, head of Lava Records, attended one of Kid Rock's performances, and met with Kid Rock, who later gave him a demo containing the songs "Somebody's Gotta Feel This" and "I Got One for Ya", which led to Kid Rock signing with Atlantic Records.
August also saw Kid Rock making his voice acting debut in the live-action/animated film Osmosis Jones, voicing a white blood cell; Kid Rock and Joe C had also recorded the song "Cool Daddy Cool" for the film's soundtrack album before Joe C's death.
In November, Kid Rock released his fifth studio album, Cocky.
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.
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.In 2006, California pornographic film company Red Light District attempted to distribute a 1999 sex tape in which Kid Rock and Scott Stapp, singer of the band Creed, are seen partying and receiving oral sex from groupies; both Rock and Stapp filed with the California courts to sue the pornographers to stop the tape's distribution.In 1989, Ritchie became a shareholder of the independent record label Top Dog Records, formed by Alvin Williams and Earl Blunt of EB-Bran Productions, in 1988; Ritchie's investment in the company gave him 25% ownership.By this time, Kid Rock had fully developed his stage persona and musical style and wanted to make a "redneck, shit-kicking rock 'n' roll rap" album, resulting in his fourth studio album, Devil Without a Cause, recorded at the White Room in Detroit and mixed at the Mix Room in Los Angeles.Through extensive promoting, including appearances on MTV (including a performance alongside Aerosmith and Run-DMC) and performing at Woodstock 1999, Devil Without a Cause sold 14 million copies, the album's success spurred by Kid Rock's breakthrough hit single "Bawitdaba".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.In 2015, following the Charleston church shooting, the Michigan chapter of the National Action Network protested outside of the Detroit Historical Museum which honored Kid Rock; activists urged Kid Rock to renounce the Confederate flag.In November of that year, he released his eleventh studio album, Sweet Southern Sugar.The same year, Kid Rock contributed to the tribute album I've Always Been Crazy: A Tribute to Waylon Jennings, honoring the late country singer by covering the song "Luckenbach, Texas" in collaboration with country singer Kenny Chesney.In 2004, he performed at the Super Bowl, in a controversial appearance that spurred criticism from Veterans of Foreign Wars and Senator Zell Miller for wearing the American flag with one slit in the middle, as a poncho; Kid Rock was accused of "desecrating" the flag.