Insane Clown Posse
About Insane Clown Posse
Insane Clown Posse are more than a band; they are a subculture. In addition to sprouting their own community known as the Juggalos, the group boast a universe of artwork, fashion, and slang all informed by the Dark Carnival, a comic-book-style mythos embedded in their lyrics. ICP are, in a way, the Grateful Dead of hip-hop. And as with those hippies from San Francisco, their home base was central to their story. Cofounders Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope began circulating releases on their own Psychopathic label throughout Detroit and surrounding cities in the early ’90s. The Michiganders became a word-of-mouth sensation: They were jesters, both absurd and menacing, whose horror-movie mashup of gangsta rap and rock was tapping into the postindustrial anxieties of the Rust Belt. ICP weren’t the only Detroit artists associated with the sound that would become known as horrorcore—the legendary Esham, who recorded several records for Psychopathic, is widely seen as its originator—however, over the years it’s ICP who have become the scene’s highest-profile (and most scandalous) proponents. The platinum-selling The Great Milenko (1997) and The Amazing Jeckel Brothers (1999) remain their commercial peaks, but thanks to their loyal fanbase, all of their albums have performed well on the Billboard rap charts. ICP have plowed ahead without interruption despite a string of controversies, including a push by the FBI to label the Juggalo community a gang. They even achieved viral success with their 2010 video for “Miracles,” which found Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope surprising just about everybody with whimsical and outrageous reflections on cosmic love. ICP didn’t go soft, though. The 2019 album Fearless Fred Fury, for instance, represents some of the gnarliest productions of their career, ensuring that horrorcore remains a strong underground current in hip-hop.