THE BEGINNING

Send in the Clowns: Reef Younis spent a week listening to The Insane Clown Posse and found himself in a worrying horrorcore horror show where the joke was on him

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The anointed leaders of the Juggalos, Insane Clown Posse’s not-so-little empire has been built on outsider status, populated by the outcasts stepping in from society city limits, marked by their two-tone facepaint and armed with an angry frustration with life. The majority of Juggalos would argue that it’s all about love, music and a sense of belonging; others that it’s all about the family or simply going against the grain.

Look behind the make-up and the ICP circus makes for great reading; an all-encompassing collective of 9-5ers, loners, stoners and the great disaffected, bound by their self-appointed misfit status, odd strand of sub-culture and the try-hard gutter lyrics of Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope. Throw in the Hatchet Gear uniform, a Juggalo-only social network to entrench the “us v them” mentality and a global gathering where the “the fam” can truly not give a fuck, and there you have the underbelly appeal. But scratch the surface a little further and you’ll get a hardcore element of fans that continually blur the lines between criminal and cult fanboy, spurring on-going lawsuits with the FBI and some of the most confused, played-out Christian messaging this side of the apocalypse.

On a week of listening to ICP, I started by rewinding 22 years to the 1992 release of ‘Psychopathic’ with its message of “I’m hating sluts/Shoot them in the face, step back and itch my nuts/Unless I’m in the sack/’Cos I fuck so hard/it’ll break their back” and thumbed my Old Testament wondering what psalms Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope have been reading. Still, with songs like the Busta Rhymes-esque stuttering ‘I Stab People’, and tracks like ‘If I Was A Serial Killer’ and ‘Imma Kill You”, it’s a familiarly erroneous message of love and vengeance.

Looking at the more the playful side of the group’s make-up (geddit?), ‘What is a Juggalo?’ is a comedy monologue manifesto put to laid back gin’n’juice beats as the duo rap: “What is a juggalo?/Let me think for a second/Oh, he gets butt-naked/And then he walks through the streets/Winking at the freaks/With a two-liter stuck in his butt-cheeks.”

Combine that with the high-pitched comedy boom bap of the insightful ‘Santa’s a Fat Bitch’ or the thoughtful, ‘I Stuck her With My Wang’ and you’re soon treading an awkward, jokey line between beating girls up and squirting day-glo fizzy drinks in places they’re not supposed to go. Lyrics like: “I’d like to stick a Faygo bottle in her neden hole/I twist ya and turn ya, just to shake it up/Pop off the lid now it’s shooting out her butt” only add to ICP’s misguided mix of white-trash gangster rap and eloquent Christian messaging.

It felt right, then, to finish the week on the much-derided ‘Miracles’; a song that stops to contemplate the magic of the universe by listing various objects, animals and weather-types in clumsy, classroom rote, with just enough room to celebrate the joy of miracles and stick a personal boot into scientists; those lying, logical, systematic bastards.

It’s the full stop to the two-tone-hatchet-toting-FBI-baiting-reactionary-subculture-status that underlines just how irrelevant the music really is.

It’s relatively heartwarming to think that society’s hashest victims find some salvation in this ridiculous bazaar of face-painted frustration, desperation, and militant sense of belonging but it’s essentially a lucrative circus, led by two deceptively cunning, or desperately confused, suddenly-Christian clowns. The worst of it is, the joke’s not even on them.

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