Joe C.

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Joe C.
Joe C. in 1999
Background information
Birth nameJoseph Calleja
Born(1974-11-09)November 9, 1974
Taylor, Michigan, U.S.
OriginTaylor, Michigan, U.S.
DiedNovember 16, 2000(2000-11-16) (aged 26)
Taylor, Michigan, U.S.
GenresHip hop, rap rock, rap metal
Years active1994–2000
Associated acts

Joseph Calleja[1] (November 9, 1974 – November 16, 2000), better known by his stage name Joe C., was an American rapper and musician. His popularity and fame were based on his relationship as hype man and comic relief for fellow musician Kid Rock.[1]


Calleja was born in Taylor, Michigan and was diagnosed with a severe form of celiac disease,[2] an autoimmune disease that may cause stunting and dwarfism and some complications in rare cases. Because of this, he had a maximum height of 3 ft 9 in (1.1 m) [3] at adult age. His dwarfism resulted in multiple medical problems. In 2000, he said in an interview with John Norris from MTV that he had to take 60 pills daily and required constant medical treatment.[2] His Los Angeles Times obituary stated Calleja's medical regimen had required taking 65 pills daily, in addition to undergoing daily dialysis.[4]


Calleja first met fellow Michigan musician Kid Rock at a concert by the latter in Roseville, Michigan[citation needed] in 1994.[4] In a backstage interview conducted by disc jockey Julie Slater of New York FM radio station K-Rock (WXRK) on July 24, 1999, after Kid Rock's performance at Woodstock 99, the artist said Calleja "used to come to all my shows, he would be standing on tables in the front row singing the lyrics."[5]

Kid Rock said in the interview that he mistakenly thought Joe C. was a child. Calleja asked a mutual acquaintance to tell Rock he wanted to smoke a joint with him, Rock said, after which the pair formally met and Rock learned Calleja was actually a 21-year-old adult. "He's talking and I'm like, would you like a job? He's like, I can't do anything. I'm like, it's not important right now. I was like, you got attitude flying all over this room. I was like, I'll teach you everything you need to know."[5]

He appeared on television, including a guest role with Kid Rock on the animated series The Simpsons, on the Season 11 episode "Kill the Alligator and Run". Joe C. was a World Wrestling Federation fan and made various references to the WWF stable D-Generation X during concerts. He appeared on the May 18, 2000, edition of WWF Smackdown during a taping in Detroit to drink beer with The Acolytes, and on the May 29 edition of Raw Is War, helping Too Cool win their only WWF Tag Team Championship in 2000 from Edge and Christian.[6] He was also featured posthumously in the animated film Osmosis Jones as a part of Kidney Rock.


On November 16, 2000, one week after he had turned 26, Calleja died in his sleep from celiac disease complications while visiting his parents in his hometown of Taylor, Michigan. His mother found him dead the next morning. Kid Rock released a statement on Calleja's death: "Family and friends are everything; without them, all of the fame and fortune means nothing. We have lost part of our family. Joey gave us, and the world, his love. He brought a smile to everyone who has ever known or seen him. In a world full of confusion, Joey made all of us laugh. No matter what color, religion, race, or beliefs we have, he made us all smile. He gave us the gift of joy. Joey, thank you. We will never forget you. We love you."[citation needed] Rock dedicated his 2001 album Cocky to Calleja. Calleja was also scheduled to record a solo album before his death.


  • Devil Without a Cause (1998)
  • "Kyle's Mom is a Big Fat Bitch" on South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut Soundtrack (1999)
  • "Early Mornin Stoned Pimp" (2000)
  • Cool Daddy Cool (2000)
  • "Devil Without a Cause" (live album Trucker 2006, recorded on concerts in 2000)
  • "Early Mornin' Stoned Pimp" (live album Trucker 2006, recorded on concerts in 2000)


  • Cool Daddy Cool (demo) (1995)
  • Heaven (demo) (2000)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Kid Rock cohort Joe C. dies" Archived 2008-02-29 at the Wayback Machine. CNN, 20 November 2000.
  2. ^ a b MTV News Staff. "Kid Rock sidekick Joe C. dies." MTV News, 20 November 2000. accessed February 18, 2008.
  3. ^ Kid Rock (18 August 1998). Devil Without A Cause. Lava/Atlantic Records. OCLC 41479957.
  4. ^ a b "Joseph Calleja; Rapper 'Joe C.' Toured With Kid Rock". 18 November 2000. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  5. ^ a b Kid Rock on MV (16 September 2014). "Kid Rock - Interview - 7/24/1999 - Woodstock 99 East Stage (Official)". YouTube. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  6. ^ "World Tag Team Championships - Too Cool". WWE Official Website. 29 May 2000. Retrieved 20 April 2014.

External links[edit]