“Don’t Tell Me How To Live” by Kid Rock

“Don’t Tell Me How To Live” is being advertised by some media outlets as an attack on wokeness and cancel culture. But a listener shouldn’t go into this track expecting what one might hear from Tom MacDonald, an emcee that specializes in such tunes. Or rather, Kid Rock does come off a lot like Tom in the second verse, but in other parts of the song are more reminiscent of a traditional gangsta rapper, one who isn’t afraid to offend others in promoting his own toughness. 

Or put differently, as much of Tom MacDonald may not give AF himself, he isn’t necessarily the type to straightforwardly tell his haters to “suck a d—”, as Rock does in the first verse.

Lyrics of “Don’t Tell Me How”

So basically, from a lyrical perspective “Don’t Tell Me How” to Live reads a lot like gangsta rap.  That is to say that the first and third verses are such that a number of different badboy rappers could recite them, and the wording would fit their character without any major alterations.

But as for the second verse, it is a lot more reminiscent of a disposition a White rapper would take, i.e. not attacking the system for being racist but rather due to the way it socializes its citizens, most notably the young ones. 

And as far as attacking wokeness and cancel culture, what Kid Rock is saying is that the way the system is designed presently is such that ‘our next generation will be a nation of p–sies’.

The way he sees it, children are being raised in a world too soft, where they are awarded even if they didn’t do anything special and where every offensive opinion is shunned. So accordingly the vocalist damns the media, who is propagating such practices and ways of thinking. 

And by extension it can also be said he’s dissing the other major institutions of socialization, including the government indirectly. In doing so, he present himself himself as someone who will never ever give in to their agenda. In fact if you come to Rock with that BS, you’re likely to receive a solid “f–k you”.


That said, Kid Rock doesn’t seem to say anything particularly about the concept of wokeness. Nor is he confronting cancel culture directly. Rather what he’s saying is that he’s going to do his thing without fear of any backlash. So again, he comes off a lot like Eminem, Tom MacDonald and quite a few gangsta rappers even.

But we’re not trying to say that Rock is biting off anybody since we’ve only researched his artistry sparsely to date. Indeed he is known to have possessed such a disposition in the past. So it’s like, you already know. If you’re looking for an artist who’s going to bite his tongue or go with the flow in the name of political correctness, Kid Rock ain’t the one. In fact as he feels, no one has the right to ‘tell him how to live’.

Kid Rock, "Don't Tell Me How To Live"

Kid Rock

Kid Rock is an American vocalist, specializing in both rock and hip-hop and being 50 years old at the writing of this post, whose heyday was during the late 1990s and throughout the aught. That is not to say that he has fallen off per se, as every album Rock has dropped since 1998, up until 2017’s “Sweet Southern Sugar”, his most recent studio album, has scored within the top 10 of the Billboard 200. 

But his commercial fortunes at late are nothing compared to the Michigan native’s early goings, as 1998’s “Devil Without a Cause” (which is namedropped in this song), which was Kid’s fourth studio album, has actually been certified diamond by the RIAA with 11,000,000 sales in the US alone. By comparison “Sweet Southern Sugar” has yet to achieve any certifications thus far.

“Don’t Tell Me How to Live”

Kid Rock has also dropped a handful of singles between 2017 and now, with “Don’t Tell Me How to Live” being released on 19 November 2021.

Meanwhile the title of the LP this song is featured on has not yet been announced. But it has been reported that this is actually the lead single from an upcoming triple album that will feature 50 tracks in total.

A number of prominent individuals are mentioned in the third verse, including the following:

  • flash-in-the-pan music stars Milli Vanilli
  • Reverend Run of Run DMC fame
  • rock legend David Lee Roth
  • bigger rock legend Bruce Springsteen
  • A list Hollywood actors James Dean (1931-1955) and Brad Pitt

He also mentions one Shotgun Willie, which may well be an allusion to country music mainstay Willie Nelson.

Don't Tell Me How To Live

It should be pointed out that the cover art of this single is a depiction of the Statue of Liberty wearing a facemask. We all know what the Statue of Liberty represents – freedom, with the facemask being an allusion to the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

So yes, the implication could be that Kid Rock is an anti-vaxxer, even though he doesn’t actually go there in the lyrics. And in terms of the vocalist not being keen on others telling him “how to live”, that would include the likes of government officials who have in fact been instructing people on how to conduct themselves, sometimes down to minute detail, during this health crisis. 

Furthermore, it can be postulated that he perceives mass compliance to these statutes as an alarming trend, one that is contributing to Rock’s aforenoted less-than-ideal perception of the forthcoming generation.

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