Kid Rock may be best known as a musician, but his greatest talent is as a marketer. The progression of his career makes that abundantly clear.
In 1990, when he first emerged on the local music scene in Detroit, it was as a Beastie Boys wannabe. By the end of the decade, he transitioned to rap-rock, the style that made him famous. The genre would dominant the airwaves for a few years before dying a much-needed death, and so Kid Rock made another transition. In the mid-aughts he became a Southern rock rebel, and that version of Kid Rock eventually made the transition into straight-up country artist.
Kid Rock adapts not because he's changing as person, but because he sees the tides turning and he can turn with them.
The man's history as a marketing pro is relevant today becuase he's just ended his most impressive marketing stunt of his career by telling Howard Stern that there's no "fucking way" he'll run for U.S. Senate.
The suggestion seemed silly the moment it emerged. Kid Rock's name, the political website Roll Call said, was being kicked around by the Michigan GOP in its quest to find a challenger for Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow.
Kid Rock’s concert series in Michigan lately has included a stump-speech section after the first song. In Detroit Tuesday, the singer came out to “Hail to the Chief” while his giant “Kid Rock For Senate” logo was displayed overhead. He talked about the redistribution of wealth and personal responsibility, and then veered off into a discussion of transgender rights after asking the crowd “Why these days is everything so gay?”
It's was easy to dismiss these as the ramblings of a rich idiot, but in an era where Al Franken is a senator, Jessie Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger are former governors and Donald Trump is the President, it's impossible to write off any candidate.
And the reasons so many were tempted to dismiss Kid Rock are the same reasons he would appeal to others: He's brash and foul-mouthed, a giant middle finger to the "elites" Republicans profess to despise so much
But in the end, it seems Kid Rock was not interested in advancing the causes important to Michigan conservatives. He was not giving voice to the voiceless. He was just selling t-shirts.