As rap-metal acts like Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Rage Against the Machine began to dominate the hard rock landscape, Atlantic Records decided to take a chance on signing Rock. Devil Without a Cause didn't do much upon its initial release in August 1998, but a big promotional push from the label and MTV helped make the album's second single and video, "Bawitdaba," a nationwide smash. The follow-up, "Cowboy," achieved similar success, and suddenly, after a decade of trying, Kid Rock was a superstar with a Top Five, seven-times-platinum album and a gig at Woodstock '99. While pondering how to follow up Devil, Rock acquired the rights to his indie-label recordings and remixed or re-recorded the best material for The History of Rock, which was released in the summer of 2000 and featured some new songs as well. Sadly, after being forced to take a break from touring a year earlier by his medical difficulties, Joe C. passed away in his sleep on November 16, 2000.
Even with a tragedy like this in his life, Rock continued work on his follow-up to Devil Without a Cause. The media focused more on his relationship with actress Pamela Anderson than his musical career, which many magazines were beginning to ridicule. His DJ, Uncle Kracker, had a successful solo career during the spring and summer of 2001, leaving Rock without one of his most frequent collaborators. Still, by the winter of that year he had completed work on Cocky and had released "Forever" to success on rock radio. In fall 2003, Kid Rock returned with a self-titled effort. A cover of Bad Company's "Feel Like Makin' Love" marked the first single. The cover art to his 2006 live album, Live Trucker, paid tribute to Bob Seger's Live Bullet.