Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Insane Clown Posse
Insane Clown Posse (ICP) is a notorious horrorcore rap group from suburban Detroit. Their vulgar, witty, and prolific work has surprised many, entertained others, and disgusted most. They perform in full black and white evil clown makeup that strongly resembles that of the rock group KISS. Among their stage antics is dousing the audience with Faygo-brand soda.
The two members are called Violent J (real name Joseph Bruce) and Shaggy 2 Dope (real name Joseph Utsler). To tell the two apart in clownface, a helpful rule of thumb is usually that Violent J's makeup will be a smiling face, while Shaggy's will be an angry face. They were formerly known as Inner City Posse, along with Shaggy 2 Dope's brother who quit because he didn't have the desire that J and Shaggy did.
ICP made headines in 1997 when it was discovered that they had been signed to Hollywood Records, a record label owned by Disney. Not wanting to promote the band's violent image, Disney dropped them hours after the release of The Great Milenko, creating an unusual amount of publicity and a boost to sales when the album was picked up by Island Records. In time not even Island sufficed, and the clowns, together with manager Alex Abbiss , founded their own label, Psychopathic Records.
Fans of ICP are called Juggalos (female fans are Juggalettes). This derives from one of Violent J's habits, which is constantly inventing strange names and personas for himself in their songs. One of these personalities is "The Juggla", a psychotic carnival juggler, and somehow the fans came to be known as "Juggalos" in homage. Even more common is the sight of Juggalos painting their faces in clownface, the unofficial Juggalo badge.
In 1992, ICP released Carnival of Carnage, which they called the 1st Joker's Card, and the group promised five more. They also promised that they would tell a big secret at the end (when the 6th one came out) and their fans would know all there is to know about ICP, the Joker's Cards, and the Dark Carnival. The Dark Carnival is something the band refers to on every album. They claim that it is a powerful force which has spoken with them and is directly opposed to the Devil (called "The Witch" on the albums). In ICP's songs, the Dark Carnival often takes the shape of a travelling carnival road-show, where instead of harmless entertainment the clowns and rides serve up death and pain as punishment for the wicked. The Dark Carnival is featured most prominently on the six Joker Card albums
The six Joker Cards in chronological order are as follows:
- Carnival of Carnage
- The Ringmaster
- The Riddlebox
- The Great Milenko
- The Amazing Jeckel Brothers
- The Wraith: Shangri-La
- The Wraith: Hell's Pit
Note that both of the "The Wraith" albums are considered to be part of the Sixth Joker Card.
In November, 2002, 10 years after the first Joker's card was released, ICP revealed their big secret. They revealed that all the songs they wrote were masked with subliminal messages that have been pointing to one thing. They say (in their song Thy Unveiling), "Truth is, we follow God, we've always been behind him. The Carnival is God, and may all Juggalos find him." Next, the band said this to their fans, "We're not sorry if we tricked you. We don't care what happens now."
Taken out of context, this may seem misleading. However, devoted fans of the Insane Clown Posse have sworn to messages in the music that were anything BUT satanic. While the music was coarse and harsh, it also carried a sense of responsibility, citing the real troubles in life. Sarcastically put, while two men in clown make-up singing about violence and death might seem terrible, real-world problems of racism, prejudice, war, famine, poverty and corruption should be taken much more seriously. Each song carried a specific view that ICP wanted to share, blended nicely with entertainment in order to avoid ever sounding too much like preaching, something many other socially-aware groups have fallen to (a similar mix of entertainment and message can be found in the songs of the now-defunct Rage Against The Machine).
Examples of this include (but are not limited to) "The Smog", in which the duo describe pollution as being an entity that kills, "Terrible", in which the duo compare the news coverage given to celebrities instead of key world issues, "Piggy Pie", in which the duo single out racism, political corruption and greed as entities that need to be dealt with, "Hall of Illusions" in which the duo show the life that could have been, if not for abusive, drunken parenting, and "Crossing the Bridge", where in the duo question the beliefs of Christianity. Needless to say, this subtlety is overlooked by many of the band's critics and leads to them being easily dismissed as mere horror-mongers, while the truth is really more complex.
It's not too far off to say that the fans of ICP were entertained in a horrific manner, as if watching a horror film. But it is also important to note that the stories that ICP tell, as well as the story of the duo's lives, left many fans with a better feeling and outlook on their own life. In a way, what they managed to do was insert a covert message, as it were, to the minds of a target audience normally not receptive to such things.
ICP has long been involved in professional wrestling; in the past, they have worked matches in the former World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment) and World Championship Wrestling. They also run their own independent promotion. JCW, or Juggalo Championshit Wrestling , is modeled after the backyard wrestling of Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope's youth, as well as the Japanese hardcore wrestling matches featured in bootleg-style videos released by ICP. They are also main characters in the video game series Backyard Wrestling by Eidos for the Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation 2.
In addition to the Joker's Cards, ICP has released other albums, including:
- Party At The Top Of The Hill (1986)
- Southwest Song (198?)
- Enter The Ghetto Zone (1990)
- Intelligence And Violence (1990)
- Bass-ment Cuts (1991)
- Bass-ment! (1991)
- Dog Beats (1991)
- Gangsta Codes (1992 - unreleased)
- Carnival of Carnage (1992)
- Beverly Kills 50187 (1993 - EP)
- The Ringmaster (1994)
- Fuck Off (1994 - EP) * Shaggy 2 Dope
- The Terror Wheel (1994)
- Dead Pumpkins (1994)
- Carnival X-Mas '94 (1994)
- Fat Sweaty Betty (1995)
- Forgotten Freshness Vol. 1 (1995)
- The Riddlebox (1995)
- Chicken Huntin (1995)
- Jokers Wild Sampler (1995)
- Mr. Rotten Treats (1995)
- Tunnel Of Love (1996)
- Witches and Warlocks (1996)
- Mutilation Mix (1997)
- Halls Of Illusions (1997)
- Mr. Johnson's Head remix (1997)
- A Carnival XMas '97 (1997)
- The Great Milenko (1997) (Hollywood Records (Disney))
- The Great Milenko (1998) (Island Records)
- Psychopathic Sampler (1998)
- Hokus Pokus (1998)
- Join The Show (1998)
- Pumpkin Carver (1998)
- Forgotten Freshness Vol. 1 & 2 (1998)
- Phat or Wack sampler (1999)
- The Amazing Jeckel Brothers (1999)
- Fuck The World (1999)
- Another Love Song (1999)
- Mad Professor (1999)
- Party Mix (1999)
- Sleepwalker (1999)
- Jacob's Word (2000)
- Bizzar/Bizaar sampler (2000)
- Tilt-A-Whirl (2000)
- Let's Go All The Way (2000)
- Bizzar (2000)
- Bizaar (2000)
- Hallowicked 2000 EP (2000)
- The Pendulum (2000 - 2002)
- Psychopathic Sampler '01 (2001)
- Hallowicked 2001 (2001)
- Forgotten Freshness Vol. 3(2001)
- The Wraith: Shangri-La sampler (2002)
- Hallowicked 2002 (2002)
- The Wraith: Shangri-La (2002)
- Homies (2003)
- Wizard of the Hood EP (2003)
- The Wraith: Hell's Pit (with Bonus DVD of the Bowling Balls video) (2004)
- The Wraith: Hell's Pit (with Bonus DVD containing Real Underground Baby and Bootlegged in Denver) (2004)
- The Calm (2005)
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