No Laughing Matter – FBI’s Newest Gang Threat: Obscure Detroit Rap Group I.C.P.’s ‘Juggalo’ Fans

The two discernable clown-faced men who used to rap alongside former wrestling group ‘The Oddities’ stick out even under the guise of the circus that is professional wrestling. In my younger years I can’t deny I was a rabid fan of the wrestling spectacle. It is ironic as a 90’s rap enthusiast that the ‘Oddities’ theme music is among some of the first I ever heard in my younger years. The music I.C.P. has put out since 1989 resorts to shock value that could instill a serial killer mentality in any of their impressionable fan base.

The masterful ‘Nightline’ ABC correspondent Martin Bashir questioned if I.C.P. could deny many of their lines were juvenile (undeniably they were – but you can’t expect every High School drop-out to articulate well). Group member ‘Shaggy 2 Dope’ responded that maybe they were for Bashir because he sounded smart as f____. I thought this response was fair. In our society I feel too much is placed on being intellectual as opposed to genuine.

I am not aiming to belittle the intellectual value of I.C.P.’s rap. I would hope, however, that stupidity (whether part of the blame or not) would not be a crutch for I.C.P. to lean on when putting out socially irresponsible material. I don’t feel supposed stupidity is an acceptable excuse for putting out the harmful music I.C.P. does (especially on a mass scale).

Juvenile lyrics aside there were lines in that ‘Oddities’ theme that resonate with me to this day. Those lines; “What’s the matter pretty boy? Where you going son? Just cause we’re a little different you’ve got to run?! Not with ‘Oddities’, we’re anomalies!” They speak to the isolation all of us feel at some points in life. One half of I.C.P. duo ‘Violent Jay’ exclaims, “Whether born with a silver spoon in your mouth or a rusty fork, you can be a ‘Juggalo’”, if the above lines were their official philosophy this may be appealing.

But contrary to a healthy society, the majority of their lyrics go beyond being juvenile and cover territory dark enough to place their fans on the FBI’s radar. “Family” is a constant chant of the ‘Juggalos’, but it is also what groups like the Bloods and Crips perverted in their attempts at unity (not to mention that the majority of I.C.P.’s lyrics would undoubtedly make even their stomachs turn).

It is far from shocking that certain fans or those ‘falsely claiming ‘Juggalo’ status’ (as self-proclaimed ‘Juggalos’ like to assert in their defense) have been connected to grotesque violence from the West to East Coast of the United States. Whether ‘Juggalos’ and I.C.P. like it or not their counter-culture has created a haven for individuals of a violent nature.

I would hope the majority of us would not want to be in the self-proclaimed ‘Juggalo Family’ since it has often shown a Manson Family mentality. Once the Manson Family went to jail they cursed their old brain-washed ways but it was far too late, hopefully something changes for any ‘Juggalos’ who remain a threat for such destruction.

I.C.P.’s music undergoing extreme positive change would undoubtedly assist in this, but instead the groups songs go beyond the lines of shock value – even for rap. They discuss raping women, necrophilia and have a song devoted to literally stabbing people for fun. I.C.P. seem to hold nothing sacred. A ‘Juggalo’ (Violent J’s given name for fans of the group) is apparently far scarier than the out of place clown make-up that often adorns their face.

I.C.P. themselves are like a philanthropist’s nightmare, admitting they often lose money on the “Annual Gathering” they host (surely a few thousand isn’t a big blow with their huge yearly revenue) but they stunt emotional growth with their lyrics. I.C.P. even admitted the ‘Juggalos’ are now their own movement essentially beyond Insane Clown Posse control. This is why ‘Nightline’ called on them to defend their violent music which spawned this movement in a 2010 interview.

The gist of the groups defense in the interview was that they were catering to the outcast kids (whose experience they can relate to) and that any violence (even to the extent of murder) that their lyrics allegedly motivate they should not have to take responsibility for. “Shaggy 2 Dope” (the other half of the duo) made a strong case with his suggestion that maybe the kids who committed these violent acts watch Stephen King movies as well…

Ironically, King was a victim of having to rebound from one of his early novels ‘Rage’ being pulled when it was found in the room of a school shooter, but I.C.P. albums are not being pulled from shelves and reach a vulnerable and developing mind far easier than an intricate novel does. Their rap was astutely (and disturbingly) described by Bashir as “violent nursery rhymes” (although it is far from a joke – it is estimated I.C.P. has made ten million dollars a year off of their underground merchandise and album sales).

While so many underground rappers I hold in high esteem are far from a comfortable living it is discouraging to see I.C.P. make so much off their sadistic messages. I won’t list the several violent crimes all over the nation committed by self-professed I.C.P. fans to avoid being called “a brutal attack” which Violent J dismissed Bashir’s interview tactic. Before Violent J condemns perceived “brutal attacks” however, he should recognize I.C.P.’s music as virtually nothing but a brutal attack on civil nature.

Violent J being caught on camera telling a kid to commit crimes while they won’t stay on his record at a signing and at a concert proudly bringing his own son on stage is an awful contradiction (hopefully he wouldn’t suggest the same to his son). I feel I.C.P. should be called on to switch to only healing lyrics that will help their listeners function in society rather than rapping enough morbid descriptions to make even a sane man snap.

I am afraid to think what may be professed in their ‘seminar tents’ at the “Annual Gathering of the ‘Juggalos’” given I.C.P.’s consistent temperament of their music. The ‘Juggalos’ are looking more and more like a dangerous cult. One should certainly be cautious if they see a clown face on their street outside of Halloween, it is no laughing matter.

Violent J said to any one who committed any of the crimes Bashir mentioned that they are a “Sicko” he wants out of his life, but the lyrics I.C.P. puts out are certainly befitting of such a “Sicko.” To any self-professed ‘Juggalo’ who can listen to a typical I.C.P. track and hold the lyrics true to their convictions: I seriously suggest you seek professional help immediately. I.C.P.’s so-called ‘horrorcore’ music genre has created far too much horror already.

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