The abridged version of our 5500-word primer on Juggalos goes something like this. The self-declared “most misunderstood people in the world” insist they are not a roving gang of suburban serial killers, but a fellowship of outcasts united by dick jokes, harlequin vigilantes, and family love. This last part is particularly offensive to the creator of ICP Fans Against Juggalos, who says that clown rappers Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope have become little else than “a pair of tree-hugging hippies looking to spread peace, love, and the word of the Holy Bible” and that while he once identified as a Juggalo, now the community is nothing but “a support group for misfit children.” We spoke with the anonymous blogger, a mid-20s Chicagoan who describes himself as “an award-winning independent filmmaker” that doesn’t “want to be known solely for this blog,” over e-mail.
When did you first get into ICP?
I got into ICP back in 1995, when they were still a relatively unknown (outside of the Midwest) group from Detroit. I was a kid back then, about 10 years old. I didn’t really get what their deal was with the facepaint at first, but when I heard the song “Toy Box” [about an elementary school outcast who gets revenge on his peers with a lethal-toy arsenal] I felt that I could relate. That was me to a tee–aside from building toys that murdered all of my classmates, of course.
Once years passed and I got a bit older (and angrier), I started to realize what [the band’s] message was. Their intense imagery was made to frighten the upper-class and get them to be more afraid of the lower-class instead of looking down on us like shit. It’s also a heavily marketable image, which, as I got older, made me admire that they had the creativity to conceive the image and cash in on it.
No matter what any Juggalo tells you: ICP does love their fans, but [Violent J] Bruce and [Shaggy 2 Dope] Utsler would be lying if they told you that they weren’t out to make a buck. [Author’s note: J and Shaggy had never heard of the site when we spoke with them, but the latter offered, “It’s probably some moron just trying to have people talk about him.”]
What did you connect with about their lyrics?
Most of the songs I can connect to were made before 1998. To see a group like ICP, with such an angry and hateful message, actually scare the well-to-do parents of children made me a bit happy, as bad as that may sound. The parents were scared of an image; and thinking about them being terrified of the music from back then used to make me smile. And to think, at the root, these two guys were simply venting frustrations on tape, genuinely angry at the world because of the cards they were dealt. Being the same way, I related a lot.
How can an ICP fan be against Juggalos?
It’s like this: I love ICP, but I hate the majority of their fan base. I look at the Insane Clown Posse, Twiztid, and any other band/rapper that is, and ever was, on [ICP’s label] Psychopathic [Records] as “Juggalos.” Everyone else is just a follower. Lead by example: the archetypes for the “Juggalo” [Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope] worked hard and busted their asses on a daily basis to make something out of themselves, and to turn something into nothing. They still do everyday. They dropped out of high school, have felonies, they drink, they get high–no one is perfect, but they didn’t let it deter them from their goal. And they let out their anger in a positive way and use it as a driving force to make something better for their lives.
Look at the average “Juggalo,” and you’ll see the opposite. He sits at home all day, gets high constantly, plays his XBox360, has no ambition, doesn’t try to advance himself in any way and makes an ass out of himself publicly (usually both online and in real life) while claiming to be a “hardcore Juggalo” because of the Ringmaster T-shirt on his back. He’ll claim to be part of a “Juggalo Family,” but wouldn’t lift a finger for his so-called “family” unless he was put on the spot (and still, would only do it reluctantly). In essence, doing everything to disrespect everything ICP has ever done or will do while making them look like shit instead of feared. Look up the term “Juggalo Julie,” and you’ll find a “Juggalette” (who refers to herself as a “Juggalo”) who killed her baby in the womb with her neglect, because she couldn’t stop popping pills and drinking excessively while she was pregnant.
Have you ever been to an ICP show?
I’ve been to a lot. They’re fun. There’s nothing wrong with painting up your face and acting a fool for a night. But when that’s all your nights are full of, then you’re a loser. Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope are obviously not losers, so why should that be the definition of a Juggalo?
Why don’t you consider yourself a Juggalo? Did you ever?
I did, before ICP started this “Juggalo Family” nonsense. The overall group was much smaller back then so there was a connection, but it wasn’t defined, which in my opinion made it a lot stronger. A majority of Juggalos at an old-school ICP show were angry, disadvantaged scrubs just looking to have a good time, even for one night. At least, those were the people who I met and knew while frequently going to ICP shows. We would start angry chants, we’d gang up on the big guys trying to control a mosh pit, etcetera.
Then The Wraith tour happened [when ICP came out as followers of God.] This was the tour that would kick off the “Juggalo Family” marketing campaign. (Let’s call it what it is, really: a brilliant marketing campaign that will continue to supplement Psychopathic for years to come). It seemed like everyone was drinking the Kool-Aid. That night, there were me and five others who kept scoffing and rolling our eyes as “Raining Diamonds” finished off the show. While we were leaving, we tried to start our angry chants, but they would just be overshadowed with chants like “Family!” It is only the beginning of why I know longer drop the J-bomb while referring to myself.
What was the tipping point for you?
The tipping point was when ICP morphed from angry, dark vessels of justice with a terrifying message into a pair of treehugging hippies looking to spread peace, love, and the word of the Holy Bible. Talking about “Juggalo Family,” and inviting in outsiders who for the most part don’t even get the original “mission” of the Insane Clown Posse, and believe that it was always to promote togetherness. It started to turn the Juggalo community into a support group for misfit children.
What is your dissatisfaction with the Juggalo community stem from? The internet? Things you’ve witnessed personally? YouTube clips? ICP’s most recent releases?
When the [Juggalo Family] campaign started, I initially refused it. Later, I figured there had to be something I was missing, so I gave the “Juggalo Togetherness” a chance. These “new Juggalos” turned out to be sad emo kids who were fascinated with gang life (a fascination that in and of itself is very pathetic), who wanted to get high nonstop, thought everything was stupid (including their own friends), and were always quick to give you the sob story of their “horrible” lives and use it as an excuse for their idiotic and self-destructive behavior.
Soon, more little kids looking to rebel against their parents (while calling themselves “Hardcore Juggalos,” of course) started coming into the picture, and any Real Juggalos either opted out or saw their “status” as an “Original Juggalo” as an ego boost, while fully embracing this “Juggalo Family” nonsense, disregarding everything else.
Today, it’s easy for anyone to call themselves a Juggalo. And if they’re convincing enough, they could take advantage of Juggalos who actually are trying to look out for their own, misguided or not. All in all, the Juggalo community is nothing like it was way back then. It’s fragmented. Not to mention that it’s embarrassing to read horribly misspelled comments, and see YouTube videos of them making asses of themselves. Their overall behavior is embarrassing, period. They try to act, dress and talk ghetto, even if they don’t even live close to one, and they always feel like they have something to prove (which opts the public to believe Juggalos are a “gang”). Being a Juggalo today is the center stone for scene-hoppers; it’s not the first scene they hop to, and it’s not the last either. How can you call someone “family” when they won’t even know your name in a couple weeks?
Juggalos look at how Violent J always says he loves all of the Juggalos, but what they’re not seeing is his perspective. Juggalos are paying his bills, Juggalos bought him a house. Juggalos will be supporting [his son] little Joe Bruce until he gets thrown out of the house. Violent J is probably overwhelmed with love because of what his fans did. The loss of perspective makes them think the love is unconditional. If ICP never existed, the term “Juggalo” would never exist. Juggalos wouldn’t know who Joe Bruce was, and he wouldn’t know them. You know what I’m saying? Of course Juggalos don’t want to hear that, and will always believe that this “Juggalo love” is unconditional.
ICP songs aren’t even scary anymore. It’s just “Juggalo love” shout outs. They haven’t had a good music video since “Halls of Illusions,” and I fear they’ll never have a good one again.
Have you ever been to a Gathering?
No, I could never get the funds together (especially as a kid, being poor and all). But from what I saw, it looked like any other convention, really. Nothing like the monkey-shit-fight videos you see on YouTube. Which brings to mind a theory I have.
If you look today, you’ll see mostly white trailer park trash and the offspring of the rich claiming to be Juggalos. Seventeen years ago, ICP was rapping about killing these types of people and their families. If you look at the Gathering, every year, it gets more and more violent. One could predict that the last Gathering will end with a large death toll.
My theory is, maybe it was ICP’s plan to build up a fan base of the children of their enemies (and in some cases, their enemies themselves), group them up in a combined space for a weekend once a year, and let them rip each other apart overtime. Only this year, someone “innocent” got in the way of the plan (Tila Tequila) and got hurt. It’s a tad crazy, I know, but Juggalos won’t even hear it.