For those who grew up in the 1990s, the act at the center of this need no introduction. For the rest of you…
Meet the Insane Clown Posse. This Detroit “horrorcore” hip hop duo is perhaps best known for its short stint in the WWE (yes, that WWE) and for showering its fans at shows with Faygo sodas. The pair, dubbed Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J, have been around for 20 years. You can’t be a music act for that long without having a loyal fan following. It’s logo is a silhouette of a clown running with a cleaver.
And boy, does ICP have a massive and loyal fan following. Their fans, called Juggalos, mostly travel far and wide to see the two, particularly at the annual “Gathering of the Juggalos,” a weekend long festival of music and frivolity starring ICP and the rest of the acts on its Psychopathic Records label. They even have an infomercial (language NSFW in places):
As you can imagine, Juggalos are largely young, white males who dress up like their ICP. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the Juggalos are also a gang, a “non-traditional” one, right up there with the Latin Kings.
Represented by Birmingham-based entertainment lawyer Howard Hertz, the band has sued the federal government on behalf of its fans. Shaggy 2 Dope explained the band’s position to The Village Voice, complete with a civics lesson. [via Gawker]
“You’re trying to grow love in your country and s***,” Shaggy 2 Dope told me last month. “Then the head of your country—the FBI—just turns around and f***ing kicks you in the nuts. How are you supposed to respond to that?”
Yes, America, exactly how are you supposed to respond to that?
The VV writer went to the recent Gathering and heard first hand the Juggalos tales of woe.
Spend an hour wandering around the Gathering and you’ll hear story after story after story about cops, schools, and bureaucracies discriminating against Juggalos for wearing Insane Clown Posse gear and their label’s Hatchetman logo. There’s the guy who lost his kids to a foster home because of his tattoo. There’s the Juggalo who was discharged from the United States military for having a Psychopathic Records CD. There’s the Wisconsin kid who was forbidden from wearing Insane Clown Posse shirts to school, but didn’t have money for new clothes, so he kept getting suspended.
“I know it’s just Juggalos and to a lot of people out there, that’s the lowest life form,” acknowledges Violent J. “But they’re being fucked with heavily. And this is some extraordinary shit that’s happening to us.”
ICP has a website, JuggalosFightBack.com, at which its asking Juggalos to tell their tales of harassment so that they “can fight for you in Court.”
But seriously, the report is pretty strange, particularly in its description of a band’s “criminal” makeup.
Most Juggalo criminal groups are not motivated to migrate based upon traditional needs of a gang.
That’s because they are 14.
And, fellas, if you don’t want you or your fans to be associated with gangs, it would help if you didn’t flash gang signs in photos on your website.