What about when I'm 103, what will you be? (Down)
What about when the world's like 'fuck us, kill us' what will you be (Down)
What about when the Carnival comes to your town?
I'm a be down with the clown!"
Consisting primarily of two people, Violent J (Joseph Bruce) and Shaggy 2 Dope (Joseph Utsler), the Insane Clown Posse are a Hip-Hop group and Professional Wrestling tag team from Detroit, and the co-founders 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 are also extremely loyal and honest with their fans, something to be admired. Many of their fans are like Dave Matthews Band or Grateful Dead fans in the sense that they'll listen to other kinds of music, but their favorite group has really captured their heart. ICP fans prefer to be called Juggalos.
ICP originated as a Gangsta Rap group called "Inner City Posse," derived both from the name of a Detroit gang (formed by Bruce) and a dream Bruce had involving a clown running around in Delray, the most depressed and blighted area of Detroit (currently slated to be largely demolished to make way for a bridge to Canada). The group's popularity resulted in them becoming the target of growing violence, leading its members to abandon gang life and adopt a Geto Boys-esque style instead.
ICP built a media and distribution empire all on their own. They were independent music before anyone else. They didn't want or need radio or MTV (back when either of those mattered) and they were an affront to the gatekeepers who owned every single aspect of the music industry. The Great Milenko was #8 on the charts and not a single video or song was played on MTV/Clear Channel. The Amazing Jeckel Brothers debuted at #4 on the Billboard Top 100, with guest appearances by Snoop Dogg (back when he was relevant) and Ol' Dirty Bastard (RIP). This was at a time when everything in the Top 10 was Ricky Martin, Britney Spears, or boy bands. There was—and still is—a lot of resentment toward them since they basically invented a new way rap empires could be built. And they did it out of necessity because no one else would invest in the music.
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.
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)
- Violent J
- Shaggy 2 Dope
- Mike E. Clark — Producer, 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.
- John Kickjazz — Before Mike E. Clark, they actually did have two different third members of the group. While recording an album, Carnival of Carnage, Shaggy's brother John Kickjazz quit the group, and ICP became a duo. He left before Carnival of Carnage was released due to him not really getting into the whole clown business (although he can still be heard in a few songs).
- Greez-E — He left after their first EP (Beverly Kills 50187) due to things not really working out, since he only contributed to one song.
- Rich Murrel (better known as Legz Diamond) — Not widely known, Murrel is the unofficial "fourth member". 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)
- Ringmaster (1994)
- 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 (2012)
- The Missing Link: Lost & 'The Missing Link: Found'' (2015)
- Fearless Fred Fury (2019)
- Shockumentary (1997)
- Big Money Hustlas (2000)
- Death Racers (2008)
- A Family Underground (2009)
- Big Money Rustlas (2010)
- Insane Clown Posse Theater (2013)
Insane Clown Posse are the Trope Namers for:
"We will never die alone, Juggalos will carry on, swing our tropes if we must, each and every one of us"
- Acrofatic: Violent J has always been "the fat one" but he's pretty mobile on stage and is pretty quick on his feet whenever he's in a wrestling ring. As of 2016, the "fat" part is less prominent than it used to be since he's actually lost quite a bit of weight.◊
- Arch-Enemy: Eminem, Kid Rocknote , 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 Don't expect any Internet fanboys on either side to pay attention to this, though.
- The Artifact: Shaggy 2 Dope got his name after his shaggy, dreadlocked hairstyle - the one he shaved off sometime around the year 2000.
- Dreadlocked Rasta: The group sported dreads in the mid-90s, with Violent J's going all the way down to his waist.
- 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. Violent J has slimmed down considerably in recent years, however.
- 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.
- Monster Clown: Their image is based on this, though they're more Heroic Comedic Sociopath Clowns.
- No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: Invoked, with "Miracles". note
- 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.
- Verbal Tic: If you ever decide to play an ICP drinking game, for the love of God, do not take a shot every time Shaggy says "You know what I'm sayin'?" in an interview. You'll be dead in five minutes.
- 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.
- Juggalo: They're the creators of this fanbase.
- Rockumentary: Shockumentary is this.
- 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.
- Anti-Christmas Song: The ICP have two: "Santa Claus is a Fat Bitch" and "Red Christmas" (in the latter, one rapper is killed by Santa while attempting a home invasion and the other is killed by a snowman who wants them to die together in separate verses).
- Anti-Love Song: J and Shaggy don't do Silly Love Songs.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Cover Album Covered, Smothered, & Chunked, included in the "Red" version of The Mighty Death Pop, consists entirely of cover versions of famous songs such as House of Pain's "Jump Around," AMG's "Bitch Betta Have My Money," Public Enemy's "Night of the Living Baseheads," and... Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful."
- The Cover Changes the Meaning: "Beautiful" becomes "Indestructible," for example.
- Asshole Victim: The targets of the Dark Carnival are bigots, rich people who exploit others for gain, and other less-than-decent folk.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Violent J himself in "Growing Again" from "The Tempest" album.
- An Axe to Grind: The Wicked Clowns love using axes to murder people in their songs.
- Back from the Dead: "12" and "Piggie Pie" are two examples.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: At the beginning of "Growing Again" a young Violent J wishes to be bigger. Guess what happens.
- 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 Album Smothered, 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.
- Calling Your Attacks: "Bang! Pow! Boom!" plays with this trope.
- Canon Discontinuity: The announced Chronicles of the Dark Carnival DVD, which was announced for 2006, was apparently never released.
- Chainsaw GOOD: "Night Of The Chainsaw", also many pictures of Shaggy holding one in the CD booklet for The Wraith: Shangri-La.
- Circus of Fear: The point of the Dark Carnival.
- Cluster F-Bomb: "Fuck The World" holds a record for F-bombs per second and states the fact at the end.Violent J: "In this song, I say 'fuck' 93 times!" note
- Concept Cycle: The Joker Cards.
- Contemplate Our Navels: "Miracles" is entirely about the little and big things in life that people seem to take for granted.
- Continuity Nod: In several songs.
- Dance Sensation: "Clown Walk"
- The Dead Can Dance: "Headless Boogie," "Zombie Slide"
- 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.
- The Marvelous Missing Link: Lost is one of ICP's darkest albums to date. Many Juggalos even consider it to be darker than Hell's Pit, which is really saying something.
- Deep South: In "Chicken Huntin'", "Your Rebel Flag", "Red Neck Hoe," "Willy Bubba," "My Axe," "Confederate Flag"
- Disproportionate Retribution: Some of their songs' protagonists carry out what could be considered this.
- 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.
- The Eponymous Show: "The Shaggy Show," from The Amazing Jeckel Brothers. See the entry for Defictionalization on the Trivia page.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: "Mom Song".
- Fake Faith Healer: The televangelist from "Hellalujah" is a con artist of this type. He wheedles six thousand dollars from his loyal followers in order to "heal" a kid with a twisted neck, tangled legs, and a crooked spine, and when the healing doesn't actually do anything, he then tries to assuage his followers by saying that the boy's spirit has been healed.
- 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.
- Finishing Move: On ICP's first two Juggalo Championshxt Wrestling DVDs, they use a Dudley Death Drop/"3D" which, on Vol. 1, commentator "Diamond Donovan '3D' Douglas" (Violent J) calls the "Deadly Clown Drop."
- For the Evulz
- 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.
- Groin Attack: Common method of torture used by the duo.
- Hall of Mirrors: "House of Mirrors"
- Hazardous Water: "Don't go in the water at Fonz Pond!"
- Hollywood Voodoo: In the song Southwest Voodoo followers of the religion are described hurling fireballs, rasing the dead, and turning people's heads into lima beans.
- I Call It "Vera": More like "I Call Him Chuck" in Night of The Chainsaw."Cut 'em up, Chuck! (Somebody!) Cut 'em up, Chuck! (Get bloody!)"
- I Did What I Had to Do: From "The Blasta":"You fucked with the blasta
Till he does what he hasta"
- I Didn't Mean to Kill Him: There is a song with this title on Forgotten Freshness Vols. 1 and 2.
- I Have Many Names: Both of them.
- I Love the Dead: "Cemetery Girl" and "In My Room" are examples of this. Also mentioned in "Dead Body Man."
- "I Want" Song: "I Want My Shit."
- ILLKILLYOU: "Imma Kill You"
- I'm a Humanitarian: "Dead Body Man."
- Kavorka Man: In "The Neden Game" where the duo appear on a dating show... As contestants, and "Boing Boing".
- "Kick Me" Prank: From "The Juggla":"I'm that Nerd in the back of the class
Who went psycho and killed your ass
I cut and stab and hack
With a 'Kick-Me' sign on my back, Jack"
- Lighter and Softer: Many say Bang! Pow! Boom! is this compared to the group's previous works.
- Losing Your Head: In "Headless Boogie", Violent J jumps into a graveyard and witnesses headless bodies dancing. He gets his own head chopped off and joins in.
- Actually swinging axes and cutting people's heads off happens a LOT in their songs.
- Made of Iron: J in "I Want My Shit" wherein he gets hit by a train and shrugs it off... and that's just in the first minute of a five minute song.
- Measuring the Marigolds: "Miracles."
- 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 two years in between the IWA Japan King of the Death Match Tournament and the release of The Great Milenko.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Bang! Pow! Boom! The constant all consuming living explosion.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: ICP collaborated with Jack White on an "interpretation" of a Mozart canon. The title of said canon? Leck mich im Arsch, i.e. "Lick Me in the Ass."
- New Sound Album: The Dark Carnival doesn't truly enter the picture until Ringmaster.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Basically "Imma Kill You" is this in song form.
- Obsession Song: "Hate Her to Death:""I want you off this planet
(I fucking hate her to death)
You don't want me and I just can't stand it"
- Of Corpse He's Alive: "I Found a Body."
- Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: The opening warning on the Psychopathic: The Videos DVD ends:"Perpetrators may be prosecuted and may face fines... Ya heard?"
- Pædo Hunt: Literally in "To Catch a Predator," though the chorus admits the singer's not doing it for the public's good.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: A theme in many songs, such as "Halls of Illusions" and "The Amazing Maze".
- Political Rap: Occasionally dips into this. Features heavily on their earlier albums, like Carnival of Carnage, Beverly Kills 50187, etc.
- Product Placement: "Juggalo Juice" is pretty much a 3 minute long Faygo commercial, but with the title being what it is everyone probably got off lucky...
- Professional Wrestling: MANY references. Here are just a few:"Off the dresser with the Yokozuna splash" ("Hot Sweaty Betty," on Forgotten Freshness Volumes 1 and 2)"What is a Juggalo?
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
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)
- "When Vampiro Gets High" (from ''Forgotten Freshness Vol. 3)
- The Great Milenko is a reference to Boris Malenko, a great wrestler from the 1960's and 1970's and father of Dean and Joe Malenko.
- Really 300 Years Old: Violent J according to "I Want My Shit."
- Rearrange the Song: "Hey Vato," on Forgotten Freshness Vols. 1 and 2, was later turned into "Wagon Wagon" on Ringmaster.
- Refuge in Audacity: Every song is built on this to some extent.
- 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.
- "How" has them questioning how they can be expected to be good in a world full of sin and how its extremely easy to do evil even with good intentions.
- The Reveal: Thy Unveiling.
- 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.
- Rock Star Song: "Radio Stars."
- Running Gag: The various usage of the number 17. note
- Sad Clown: A few of their songs, notably those on Hell's Pit, particularly "Manic Depressive."
- Also, Shaggy's facepaint is intended to represent a frown (J's is supposed to represent a smile).
- Sanity Slippage: "Under the Moon."
- Although, when the group has the word insane right there in its name, clearly they are presenting themselves as having gone far beyond this already.
- Satan: "The Witch," according to Hell's Pit; presented in a surprisingly Catholic fashion as being little more than a decent liar.
- Science Is Wrong: If an article with the pair in The Guardian newspaper is anything to go by then they certainly hold this view.
- But the liner notes for their album Bizaar thank scientists among many occupations in the Juggalo world. So it seems to be zigzagged.
- Set the World on Fire: "F**k The World," from The Amazing Jeckel Brothers, includes the hook, "If I only could I'd set the world on fire."
- Shout-Out: Other than the ones listed under Professional Wrestling:
- "For the People" includes the line "Chilling with the Creature from the Black Lagoon."
- "Real Underground Baby" includes the lines: "Who can paint their face up / Who can paint their face up / And wear a ninja suit / And wear a ninja suit"
- 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.
- The Stoner: Violent J.
- Subliminal Seduction: "Echo Side" has one of the more unusual examples.
- Suicide as Comedy: In the skit after "Piggie Pie" on The Great Milenko: "DO IT! DO IT, FUCKER! BRING ME THE GUN! I'LL FUCKIN' DO IT FOR YA!" BLAM! "Hello?"
- Take Me Instead: Said word for word in "Crossing Thy Bridge," so that little children don't have to go to heaven before their time.
- Take That!: To just about everyone, including themselves.
- "Fuck the World" becomes ridiculously specific about this, at one point saying: "You know the guy that operates the drawbridge in Delray and Jefferson? FUCK HIM!"
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: "I'll hypnotize you like a vampire, bite your neck and set your head on fire!"
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: "Bitch, I Lied" is a whole song of this. Also used several other times.
- Torture Cellar: Many a song makes reference to these.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Faygo, a budget soft drink brand which originated in Detroit.
- True Companions: "Juggalo Homies" is an ode to this.
- Unusual Euphemism: "Neden" and "Cotton Candy" (vagina).
- Vigilante Man: "To Catch a Predator" is about a guy who pretends to be a child and lures paedophiles to his house, where he kidnaps the creeps and locks them in a Torture Cellar.
- 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.
- Wham Line: The Reveal of "Thy Unveiling", in which Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope reveal that they are in fact devout Christians, and moreover, the entire Dark Carnival was a metaphorical repackaging of Christian ideas about good and evil."Truth is, we follow God! We've always been behind him!
The Carnival is God, and may all juggalos find him!"
- When It Rains, It Pours: From "Hell's Forecast:""Mama told me when it rains it pours
She never mentioned dead bodies, dead bodies
Mama told me when it rains it pours
La dee da, da da dee, la da dee, dead bodies"
- Wife-Basher Basher: The first victim of the "Halls of Illusions" is a wife-beater:"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!"
- Word Salad Lyrics: "Scatter Brain" off The Tempest: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 AJ Styles, me, and J. Giles.
- Your Head Asplode: Often. Almost every album has a song that involves one or more of these.
"Four cards down, and two more still to drop
- From "Hokus Pokus," on The Great Milenko:
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 "Psychedelic Thrash."
Dedicated to the Butterfly