Devil Without A Cause

Atlantic

Give the Kid props. Straight outta Detroit, Bob Ritchie is Grand Royal magazine-endorsed (see GR issue number four), has toured with Ice Cube and Too Short (1990), and now runs his own label (Top Dog). And Devil With A Cause -a take-no-prisoners jam that sounds like a perfect blend of LL Cool J’s Radio, Run-D.M.C.’s Kings Of Rock, and The Beastie Boys’ Licensed To Ill -is one of the baddest hip-hop releases since way back in the day.

Don’t blame yourself if you don’t have Kid Rock’s Grits Sandwiches For Breakfast, The Polyfuse Method, Fire It Up, or Early Mornin’ Stoned Pimp in your record stash. They’re all fairly underground gems that confirm the Kid’s knack for mad samples, hard-ass vocals laced with profanity, and crazy tracks that owe as much to gangsta funk as they do to a pop collage melded from metal, punk, and shit-kicker country tunes. Yeah, he’s a gangsta (as N.W.A. would say), but he’s still got flava.

Rock’s Atlantic debut is accessible and fun, but undeniably bold. Slamming funk riffs (the title track), metal-inspired fusions (“Bawitdaba,” “I Am The Bullgod,” “Somebody’s Gotta Feel This,” “Fist Of Rage”), wickedly raw scratches, and big party anthems (“Wasting Time,” and “Welcome To The Party”) all add up to genius hip-hop. Watch for surprises, though (the unadulterated, Ween-like twang of “Only God Knows Why”). On Devil Without A Cause, a twisted hip-hop freak gets reborn.