Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Down with the Clowns

"I'm that nerd in the back of the class That went psycho and killed your ass"

Let's go back.... let's go way back, to the days when Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope were still playing with Mr. Toyhead while watching rasslin' on tv. Yeah! jugheads, it's called The Beginning,  Joseph Bruce (VJ) and Joseph Utsler (Shaggy) were a couple of nerdy kids from some shithole suburb outside of Detroit. Don't believe the hype, while they represent themselves as some hard ghetto motherfuckers, they are not. Just like Eminem and his bullshit "I grew up in a trailer park repping 8 Mile Road." it's all bullshit. The worse day in the worse trailer park doesn't compare to living in the ghetto, and I should know, I lived in a trailer park and I saw every episode of The Wire.  

After bumping around pretending to be rappers in various groups with varying styles, they settled in as "The Inner City Posse" (sounds ghetto as fuck, don't it?) Once they found their respective personas: Violent J (Bruce) and Shaggy 2 Dope (Utsler) they changed the name to Insane Clown Posse. Which kinda fit, seeing how they were now performing in clown make-up. They settled on Insane Clown Posse, because the initials ICP were the same as Inner City Posse and logos are not cheap. This brings up ICP's biggest weakness, nothing they've ever done is original, the make-up gimmick they copped from Alice Cooper, Kiss, and the original wicked clown: John Wayne Gacy. The music they jacked from every gansta rapper, horrorcore and metal core band that came before them.

"Went to Kentucky, I got lucky, met this hog calling bitch named Bucky"

Originality not being their strong point, they took their artistic cue from original shock rock artists like G.G. Allin, the sickest motherfucker to ever set foot on a stage. G.G. Allin was a socially transgressive, mentally damaged musician from New Hampshire. Allin resorted to the most vile and perverse antics in order to "entertain" his audience. Bleeding and defecation were a regular part of his act, followed by the smearing or throwing of feces. While Allin's act may have appealed to ICP, they realized that tossing excrement at your fans was counter productive.

So instead of poop, ICP settled on the next best thing: Faygo, Detroit's sticky sweet version of Shasta. After Violent J sprayed down a row of hecklers with the fizzy soda, it became part of their ritual. The band took to carting cases of the soft drink to their concerts, which they would use to  spray the crowd during climactic moments. I guess you could call it G.G. Allin Lite, but both knew what their fans were after: interactive entertainment.  Next they needed to create a mystique, something scary like Detroit horrorcore rapper, Esham, but without any mention of Satan or satanic worship. Enter, "The Dark Carnival" which is some thematic hoke'um about wicked clowns, joker cards, judgement and redemption. It's pseudo J. R. R. Tolkien  for those suffering from attention deficit syndrome. 

"The ghetto took my brain and motherfuck I want it back"

In order for this to play out onstage they appropriated parts of Gwar's act mixed with your average gangsta rapper schtick. It's nutsack grabbing, macho posturing of the worse kind. Misogynist fairy tales that are Utsler and Bruce's idea of what is bad ass and over the top. "The Carnival" theme had already been used by Gwar (Carnival of Chaos, We Kill Everything) and G.G. Allin (Carnival of Excess)  ICP merely toned it down enough to target a larger market than those cult acts ever dreamed of.  In order to maintain a thread of continuation, and demonstrate proof of concept, each album (Joker Cards) closely adheres to the Dark Carnival mythology.

All ICP song lyrics read like the work of a deranged Yahoo commenter high on meth and Faygo. They're long winded dissertations that all Juggalos have memorized and can recite off the top of their heads. They boast of sexual domination and conquest, in Violent J & Shaggy 2 Dope's world (and by proxy  juggalos) all women are subservient and dumb as a rock. On almost every song violent action is threatened, but they're empty threats. With the exception of the 1997 beating of a drunken fan by Violent J, onstage at The Launchpad in Albuquerque. They've behaved like what they are: businessmen. 

Utsler and Bruce have an acumen for business and make no mistake, they operate a business. Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope have banked it (while their followers continue to live in poverty or with Mom)  To this end, ICP branched out with their own recording label, Psychopathic Records, there was also a couple of straight to VHS movies that they produced. They wrestled in their own pro-wrestling promotion: Juggalo Championship Wrestling.  Utsler and Bruce also worked with Vince McMahon's WWE. The partnership went well until they discovered that McMahon, also knows a thing or two about evil and operates a real life Dark Carnival.

                 "I always gotta check and ask, how many corndogs been to the cotton patch?"

The Gathering of the Juggalos grew from an informal fanfest into a national event (thanks to Tila Tequila getting bombarded with poop, rocks & bottles) Now it is nothing more than a harvesting of juggalo & juggalette cash reserves. These two entrepreneurial motherfuckers have reaped the whirlwind, while juggalos reap food stamps. Their greatest accomplishment has been convincing directionless young adults that it's good to be a stoner fuck up.  The juggalos are who they are, they greet each other with a Whoot! Whoot!, which is their way of saying hello, expressing joy or simply being in agreement. They flash gang-like signs and dress in black and red, they're mostly white, with a sprinkling of Hispanic & African Americans in the ranks. The juggalos favor old school rappers like Bones, Thugs & Harmony, Ice Cube, Snoop Dog or Coolio (who sports juggalo ink)  

Horrorcore rap music is part of a transgressive movement that started in the late 1980's. It is art, in this case music, considered offensive because of its shock value. The subject matters deal with psychological dislocation, mental illness and extreme anti-social behavior. Let's not put ICP at the forefront of this movement, they simply cashed in on it. Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope set out to produce shocking, blatantly over-exaggerated fantasies that fed on the myth of the white ghetto gangster. Ultimately, their cartoon-like narratives are just silly and boring.  

Who ever the fuck that is! (I didn't know this, but Juggalos have beef with Lyle Lovett)

Whoot! Whoot! "It's the life of a juggalo for me, just gettin' high burnin' some tree.  We the wicked juggalos, Ya know what I'm saying? I could give a fuck less 'bout what you're sprayin'" "I got nothing but bitches all over my".... cut!...cut!... cut.. stop rolling tape.  Let's back it up home slice, the only bitches I see is your  momma and sister hollerin' at you to get the fuck out of the bathroom so they can ready for work. Juggalo island my ass, more like fantasy island. Wrap it up! we're done here.  

"Keep juggling, motherfuckers!"