Zug Izland (initially formed by Joe Bruce, who dropped out because his singing style was considered to be unimpressive)
George Lowe: Mr. 2 Dope, perhaps you'd care to read for the ladies and gentlemen of the jury the lyrics from your popular song 'Blacken Your Eyes'? Shaggy 2 Dope: Ahem... Filled your head with lead, because I want you dead. Girly girly bitch, you... freaky, freaky bitch. George Lowe: What could be offensive about that? Frylock: (ahem) George Lowe: I mean, that's deplorable! Your songs drove my client's roommate to kill himself! Violent J: Allow me to interject, please. We at Insane Clown Posse are very, very active in the community. We work with a number of local charities. Shaggy 2 Dope: Yeah, like, we read to dead people. (flashback showing them rapping a book title "Sammy the Gerbil & His Hoppin' Adventure" to a dead patient in a hospital)note Not the story itself, the pages are all ripped out of the book. They're rapping the title ITSELF. Shaggy 2 Dope: We also spit fire. (they do so) George Lowe: No further questions. —Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Consisting primarily of two people, Violent J (Joseph Bruce) and Shaggy 2 Dope (Joseph Utsler), Insane Clown Posse are a Hip Hop group and Professional Wrestling tag team from Detroit, and the cofounders of the independent record label, Psychopathic Records. Their music is generally placed in the "Horrorcore" category, and is focused heavily around Circus of Fear elements. They're also occasionally subject to Fan Dumb. Of course, some of their detractors aren'tmuch better, either. Fans that are not Fan Dumb prefer to be called Juggalos, but since some of their Fan Dumb call themselves this as well, their Hate Dumb tends to lump all their fans together.ICP originally formed as a Gangsta Rap group called "Inner City Posse", derived from the name of a Detroit gang formed by Bruce. The music group's increasing popularity resulted in the gang becoming the target of growing violence, leading its members to abandon gang life and adopt a Geto Boys-esque horror rap style. The success of a former clown painted hype man and a dream Bruce had involving a clown running around in Delraynote the most depressed and blighted area of Detroit, at its southern tip; currently slated to be largely demolished to make way for a bridge to Canada, led the group to adopt the name Insane Clown Posse.After releasing an album, Carnival of Carnage, original member John Kickjazz quit the group, and ICP became a duo. The release of the EP Beverly Kills 50187 and album Ringmaster gained ICP an increasing group of dedicated followers. The larger distribution of Riddle Box and The Great Milenko increased awareness of ICP, turning the group into one of the biggest underground rap acts in the country. During this time, a feud was started between ICP and fellow Detroit rapper Eminem, which has since died down.ICP have also been the subject of a number of parodies, including a music video parody on Saturday Night Live. Their albums The Amazing Jeckel Brothers, Bang! Pow! Boom!, and The Mighty Death Pop! have all peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200.They produced two movies, Big Money Hustlas (an exploitation parody) and Big Money Rustlas (a Western parody).ICP have also been active in the world of Professional Wrestling; they have wrestled for both WWE and WCW in the past, and currently run their own promotion, JCW (alternately, Juggalo Championship Wrestling or Juggalo Championshit Wrestling)Members:
Shaggy 2 Dope
Producer Mike E. Clark is often called "the third member of ICP" by J and Shaggy, who credit him as being a major part of the band's sound, although they briefly had a falling out with Clark and have worked with other producers as a result.
Before Mike E. Clark, they actually did have two different third members of the group. The first one, Shaggy's brother John Kickjazz, left before Carnival of Carnage was released due to him not really getting into the whole clown business and it feeling like it was taking too much of his life away (although he can still be heard in a few songs there). The second one, Greez-E, left after their first EP Beverly Kills 50187 was released due to things not really working out, since he only did one song there.
Not widely noted, but Rich Murrel (better known as Legz Diamond) is the unofficial "fourth member" of ICP. He does a lot of the guitar work and background vocals on their albums, and is unrecognizable in costume as part of ICP's live shows.
Carnival of Carnage (1992)
Riddle Box (1995)
The Great Milenko (1997)
The Amazing Jeckel Brothers (1999)
Bizzar/Bizaar (two albums with a shared theme but different songs) (2000)
The Wraith: Shangri-La (2002)
Hell's Pit (2004)
The Tempest (2007)
Bang! Pow! Boom! (2009)
The Mighty Death Pop! (Smothered, Covered, & Chunked/Freaky Tales/Mike E. Clark's Extra Pop Emporium)note Each version of The Mighty Death Pop! has one of these three bonus albums inside it. Smothered, Covered, & Chunked is basically a cover album for rap artists that they've liked with a mix of a few pop songs there; Freaky Tales is a 64 minute dedication to the Too $hort song of the same name, and Mike E. Clark's Extra Pop Emporium is remix album that also contained songs that almost made it to the main album, but weren't on there for various reasons. (2012)
This group and its works are related to the following tropes:
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The band members themselves/live performance
Arch-Enemy: Eminem, Kid Rocknote Kid Rock appeared on "Is That You?" on Carnival of Carnage. He later dissed them in the song "Ya' Keep On," with the lyric "Don't call me Joe/Cause the Joes I know can't even flow.", the mainstream and critics.
The beef with Eminem was actually ended officially back in 2005 when D12 and Psychopathic Records met at a concert to talk out their differences and then even had a bowling game/party together as a peace offering.note That's how you know they're all from Detroit: Settle a beef? Go bowling! (Michigan in general Detroit area in particular has more bowling centers per capita than anywhere else in the world. Don't expect any Internet fanboys on either side to pay attention to this, though.
Evil Sounds Deep: Averted; Shaggy 2 Dope has the higher voice, but plays the more evil role.
Fat and Skinny: Further on in ICP's career, Violent J gained some weight, thus fulfilling the role as the fat one, while Shaggy remains skinny.
Food Fight: Countless gallons of Faygo soda are sprayed into the crowd during ICP's live shows.
Long Runner Lineup: Since 1994, the group members have consisted solely of Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope. Impressively, this group has been around for over 20 years.
Stout Strength: Violent J. On the occasions he wrestles, one of the moves he uses is a gorilla press slam to samoan drop. That involves shoulder pressing another person above his head. Even though the "opponent" is cooperating, that's no easy feat.
White Gangbangers: Both members of ICP were this in real life, in their gang the Inner City Posse, which was also the original name of their rap group, before it was changed to Insane Clown Posse, with added fantasy themes.
Media and fandom
Howard Stern: One of ICP's biggest supporters. He was initially skeptical of the duo during their first appearance on his radio show, but they impressed him enough that they were repeatedly brought back to the show, both due to the entertainment value, and because Stern highly respected their independence.
Updated Re-release: Bang Pow Boom: Nuclear Edition, a three-disc set. The first disc is the original album, with the three separate Track Twos from the three original versions blended into one song; the second disc contains all three "hidden tracks" from the originals and three unreleased tracks; the third is a DVD.
And there's a box set of the first "deck" of Joker's Cards on the way, with bonus material and remastered versions of each "Card" (from Carnival of Carnage to The Wraith).
Acrofatic: J can perform a moonsault, pretty impressive for a near three hundred pounder.
Things work out pretty well for Violent J in "Blaaam!", when he gets ahold of a magic lamp.
Boastful Rap: Subverted in that they boast about stuff that no sane person would ever brag about, including that they frequently have sex with women that are physically unattractive, sometimes leaning on repulsively unattractive levels. They also have boastful raps involving supernatural and other unusual elements or which involve acts of violence that go beyond what is even humanly possible.
"I'll pull a big ass beehive out of a tree, drop my drawers and hump it." ("Fearless," from Bizaar)
"I'll rip your face off and wipe my ass with it" ("Hocus Pocus," from The Great Milenko)
Breather Episode: "Hell's Forecast", a dark song about Violent J trapped in his personal hell is immediately followed by "Juggalo Homies", a more lighthearted song about the company of friends.
Brick Joke: How's this for continuity? The scream from Prince's "Gett Off" that Esham sampled in 1992 for "Dying to Be Down" resurfaced 20 years later in the unlisted outtakes montage at the end of the Cover AlbumSmothered, Covered, & Chunked, which comes in the "Red" version of The Mighty Death Pop.
Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: All of ICP's work is "Dedicated to the Butterfly." The CD booklet for The Wraith: Shangri-La includes an explanation from Violent J. When he was around 7 years old, he and his brother Rob found and caught a butterfly and put it in a jar. Despite their well-intended efforts to keep it alive, they found the next morning that it had died. So, they made a vow that when they get to Heaven they will apologize to the butterfly, face to face.
Darker and Edgier: The Hell's Pit album, which was to be expected, as the entire album is themed around hell, with many songs describing hell itself, or songs about brutally violent killing sprees, etc.
Deep South: In "Chicken Huntin'", "Your Rebel Flag", "Red Neck Hoe," "Willy Bubba," "My Axe"
Drugs Are Bad: Violent J's real life sister was addicted to drugs at one point, so he, Jumpsteady and Shaggy 2 Dope swore off drugs in RL. Within ICP's lyrics, there are several anti-drug stances in songs like "Halls of Illusions" and "Manic Depressive". Despite this stance, Shaggy later became a big time alcoholic.
Also, "Rosemary," from The Calm, starts with J saying, "I'm on crack," and, after a whole song where he describes a woman he saw dancing at a club and how he followed her home and killed the guy she was with, ends with "I'm still outside the club and it's all in my head."
Early-Installment Weirdness: Carnival of Carnage, while technically the first Joker's Card, was made before any of the Dark Carnival was thought up, and as such is much closer to a standard gangsta-rap album. And that's assuming you don't count Dog Beats as an ICP album.
Fate Worse than Death: Double subverted in the track "Echo Side." The first subversion occurs when the fate is shown to be accessed only through death; subverted again when the soul mentioned in the song enters the eponymous location, which is suggested to be 1.7 times more evil than Hell itself.
Fractured Fairy Tale: The ICP completely fracture a tale about the "Three Little Pigs" in the rap song "Piggie Pie", about hunting down "piggies" (crooked/evil/racist cops whose houses are made of wood, bricks, and gold, rather than straw, sticks and bricks) in order to make a "piggie pie".
God: "The Carnival is God, and may all Juggalos find him!"
Gorn: It's not uncommon for the duo's victims to be reduced to bloody chunks. Seriously, almost every song at least makes reference to extremely violent things happening.
Mythology Gag: On "Hellalujah," the evil preacher, simulating speaking in tongues, chants "Lama Namaneumi." This was also the name that they gave Japanese hardcore wrestler Shoji Nakamaki on the StrangleMania tape, which was a bootleg of the IWA Japan King of the Death Match Tournament (featuring Cactus Jack [who would later appear in Big Money Hustlas as "Cactus Sac," his name on StrangleMania] and Terry Funk) that ICP added their own sarcastic commentary onto and released themselves, paving the way for Juggalo Championship Wrestling. While ICP are known for their continuity, this one might just be a coincidence, given the four years in between the IWA Japan King of the Death Match Tournament and the release of The Amazing Jeckel Brothers.
"Off the dresser with the Yokozuna splash" ("Hot Sweaty Betty," on Forgotten Freshness Volumes 1 and 2)
"What is a Juggalo? A Hulkamaniac He power bombs muthafuckas into thumbtacks People like him until they find out he's unstable He Sabu'd ya mama through a coffee table" ("What is a Juggalo," on The Great Milenko)
"Watchin' my favorite wrestling pay-per-views On a 100 foot screen Television tube With the fast forward button I can fly past the Jobbers while eating pizza getting fat What you thinking about?" ("What You Thinkin' About?" on J's solo album Wizard of the Hood)
"If I was André the Giant, 'This is how I would be talking'" ("If," from Bizzar)
"One time I was a wrestler, I wrestled the best I got kicked out though, I had a knife in my spandex I stabbed Tony Schiavone the commentator guy before the match I went to shake his hand but I stabbed him in the eye I stabbed Norman Smiley in the middle of a match he was like "What are you doing?" I said fuckin relax" ("Still Stabbin'", from Bizaar)
Religion Rant Song: "Hellelujah" is a Type 3 rant against religious con artists that fleece their faithful in the monetary sense.
Their cover of Willie D's "Guess My Religion" is pretty much the same kind of song that "Hellelujah", but it is more involved with the Church and those who don't practice what they preach for more than one day per week.
"Where's God" is a mix of each type, but it mostly involves Type 1. Despite how they may still believe in him, they wonder about why God doesn't stop the horrible things that still plague this planet with the innocent getting punished and the evil still surviving, with a mix of why people stop believing in God when they grow up and how the holy leaders say stuff that people already know and collection plate money going to the wrong things.
To summarize, the entire Dark Carnival is an allegory of judgment day; each of the albums starting with Ringmaster referred to a specific judgment within the Carnival in reverse order, beginning with The Wraith, representing death. Shangri-La was a thinly veiled reference to Heaven, and the Carnival itself is representative of God, and almost no one pieced it together until Thy Unveiling.
Stalker with a Crush: "Love." Its about a guy who was just released from prison and proceeds to chase after some random girl while he screams about his feelings for her. She understandably gets freaked out and spends the whole song trying to get away from him.
Stock Parody: They did it on "Wizard of the Hood," with Violent J playing Dorothy Gales, original third member John Kickjazz (Shaggy's brother) playing the Scarecrow, and Shaggy playing both the Tin Man and the Lion.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: The characters Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope portray are serial killers who set their sights on racists, the greedy, pedophiles and other Asshole Victims. In real life, ICP themselves aren't as extreme about their hatred of the people who are murdered on their albums.
"Back to reality and what you're about Your wife can't smile, cuz you knocked her teeth out! And she can't see straight from gettin hit Cuz you're a fat fuckin drunk piece of shit! But it's all good! Here! Come have a beer! I'll break the top off it, and shove it in your ear! And your death comes wicked, painful and slow At the hands of Milenko!"
I'm the number one contender for a shot at the bible belt, I swam between piranhas and assaulted a patty melt. The red planet still remains in orbit, Leavin' trash piles, cleaned up by A.J. Styles, me, and J. Giles.
Your Head Asplode: Often. Almost every album has a song that involves one or more of these.
From "Hokus Pokus," on The Great Milenko:
"Four cards down, and two more still to drop And when they do, I get in my car and hit the road Cuz I don't wanna see your head explode"
Cover Album: Covered, Smothered, & Chunked, which is a bonus CD in the "Red" version of The Mighty Death Pop!
Public Medium Ignorance: Despite being rappers, a lot of people seem to think that ICP are a rock or metal band for some reason. A state trooper in the documentary A Family Underground, who hasn't heard ICP's music, thinks that it's "PsychedelicThrash".
Digital Piracy Is Evil: Played with; one video confesses, in essence, "Go ahead and steal it, it's stolen anyway!"