The Meaning Behind ICP’s “17 Dead”
At first glance, the song “17 Dead” by Insane Clown Posse might appear to Juggalettes and Juggalos to be about some sort of killing spree or other massacre. It could refer to a shooting, or a bad car accident, or a 17 year old who died. However, it is none of the above. ICP’s “17 Dead” is really just another one of the group’s morbid horror rap songs that Juggalos and Juggalettes can’t get enough of. Consider the following “17 Dead” excerpt when looking for meaning in “17 Dead.” I woke up next to a dead body / roll it out the way and jump out of bed / strap on my kicks and step out of my room / cuz somehow there’s another stiff in the bathroom / dead fucks all over the grass / I’m a kick somebody in they dead ass. It’s difficult to determine if the guys in ICP are trying to portray themselves as the murderers of these 17 dead or if they’re just observing the aftermath of some massacre that left 17 dead. So if that’s really all there is to “17 Dead”, then why is the song such a hit with Juggalos and Juggalettes. The answer is simple. Juggalos and Juggalettes are fans of more than just ICP; they’re also fans of ICP’s genre of music – horror rap. And horror rap is filled with these types of rhymes and verses, that’s kind of the point. Don’t ever assume that ICP’s J and Shaggy 2 Dope are serious when writing lyrics like this for Juggalos and Juggalettes, they think it’s nothing more than fun and games to write gruesome lyrics, and their Juggalo and Juggalette fans feel the same way. Nothing to get bent out of shape over! However, the astute Juggalos and Juggalettes reading this will know that there is some reasoning to part of the title in “17 Dead”, the number 17. That number wasn’t chosen randomly, instead it’s a very important number in Juggalo and Juggalette culture. You see, 17 dead was the number of records that ICP sold on the first day their first album, Carnival of Carnage, was released. It goes without saying that 17 copies isn’t much, but I’m sure the guys wouldn’t have really cared how many they sold on that first day if they knew how many copies of all their albums they would be selling 20+ years later to adoring Juggalos and Juggalettes! If you look closely, you’ll see mentions of the number 17 in many ICP songs, and sometimes the numbers mentioned, if not 17, add up to 17 when combined. So remember, just because horror rap isn’t known for its metaphors or hidden symbolism doesn’t mean that innovative groups like ICP will slip a little clue into their music every once in a while! It’s this kind of tactic that keeps Juggalos and Juggalettes glued to every ICP release for a long, long time. Resource Box Insane Clown Posse has written many gory songs over the course of their career, songs like “17 Dead”. To learn more about ICP’s songs like “17 Dead”, please visit http://insaneclownposse.com.
Mainstream Artist Vanilla Ice Goes the Underground Music Route?
Everyone has heard a Vanilla Ice song, and it’s probably the same one. Even if you don’t know who Vanilla Ice is by name, you would know by recognizing his enormous 90s hit, “Ice Ice Baby.” Vanilla Ice was so popular in the early 90s, his song “Ice Ice Baby” was the first hip hop song to ever top the Billboard charts. Some say that after the Beastie Boys and House of Pain, Vanilla Ice was just the third white rapper to achieve this level of mainstream success. With all that said, how did Vanilla Ice go from chart-topping success to being an underground music star who performs at Gathering of the Juggalos? Truth be told, Vanilla Ice always considered himself edgier and more of the underground music breed than his label and fans ever did. In fact, Vanilla Ice’s history will show you that he started getting into hip hop and break dancing in the mid 80s long before it was popular. Vanilla Ice’s nickname, Vanilla, came from his underground music friends because he was the only non African-American member of their friend group. So really, it’s almost ironic that the once underground music maven would find his way to the top of the billboard charts. But even as unpredictable as that turn of events is, it doesn’t come close to outdoing how seemingly random Vanilla Ice’s collaboration with Detroic horror rap outfit Insane Clown Posse and their festival, Gathering of the Juggalos, is. For those who are unfamiliar with Insane Clown Posse or Gathering of the Juggalos, just know that both are about as far as one can travel from the top of the charts and still call it music. I don’t say that to mean that ICP and Gathering of the Juggalos aren’t successful – in fact, they’re both enormously lucrative – but rather to mean hat sonically, one will never see an ICP at #1 on the billboard charts or see genuine coverage of Gathering of the Juggalos on MTV, VH1, or any other music television network. However, Vanilla Ice and ICP, and those who attend Gathering of the Juggalos all have one very important trait in common: misunderstanding. As mentioned above, Vanilla Ice always felt that his music was misconstrued as more mainstream than he wanted it to be. Believe it or not, his record label actually fabricated a biography that they deemed more appealing to the mainstream. The same misunderstanding is felt well by Juggalos, or fans of underground music group Insane Clown Posse at Gathering of the Juggalos. They don’t feel properly understood, and bond over this fact when ever in touch with one another. Knowing that, it makes much sense that Vanilla Ice would choose to collaborate with underground music group ICP at their festival, The Gathering of the Juggalos. So look deeper before you judge, there’s many layers to ever underground music artist’s career! Resource Box Vanilla Ice once topped the billboard charts but now collaborates with underground music groups like Insane Clown Posse and at underground music festivals like Gathering of the Juggalos. To learn more about Gathering of the Juggalos, please visit http://insaneclownposse.com.
How do ICP’s J and Shaggy 2 Dope Compare to Other Hip Hop Artists?
When you think of the stereotypical hip hop artist, what image comes to mind? Most would say African American, fashionable, wearing expensive jewelry, into the partying lifestyle, and it’s likely that any stereotypical hip hop artist came from a wealthy background. I say this not because hip hop artists act like they came from bad areas, but because much of the lyrical content spouted by hip hop artists has to do with coming from a rough background. With all that said, how do ICP’s J and Shaggy 2 Dope stack up? They align well with about half of the criteria that was outlined above. ICP’s J and Shaggy 2 Dope do come from poor backgrounds, but this overcoming of adversity is one of the number one attributes that attracts their Juggalo fan base to their music. Furthermore, much of the Insane Clown Posse’s Dark Carnival mythology is structured around themes of the poor receiving redemption for being mistreated by the wealthy class. ICP’s J and Shaggy 2 Dope met when they were teenagers, and experienced live in the Detroit Ghetto together, something that no doubt brought them closer and gave them material for what was to become their immense catalog of songs. ICP’s J and Shaggy 2 Dope are not African American. This is obvious to most, but for any newcomers it might be difficult to discern because ICP’s J and Shaggy 2 Dope are constantly wearing clown face paint, concealing their skin color. On the topic of race, while most mainstream hip hop artists are African American, most hip hop artists that operate within the horror rap genre, as do ICP’s J and Shaggy 2 Dope, are white. Interestingly enough, the first white hip hop artist to ever reach prominence in the genre was Eminem, who happens to be from the same city as ICP’s J and Shaggy 2 Dope: Detroit. Coincidence? Or is there something about this city that breeds unique hip hop artists? Are ICP’s J and Shaggy 2 Dope fashionable like the hip hop artists you see on TV? For 2011, the answer is no. You won’t see ICP’s J or Shaggy 2 Dope sporting the latest kicks, the most expensive bling, or smelling of the freshest cologne. And they’d have it no other way. ICP’s J and Shaggy 2 Dope do not buy into the same materialistic whirlwind that many other mainstream hip hop artists do; for them, it’s more about the music. Looking at ICP’s J and Shaggy 2 Dope, you’d think that they never got the memo the 1990s rap game is over, because they still dress that way. All good to them, however! Lastly, we arrive at partying. It’s well documented that ICP’s J and Shaggy 2 Dope enjoy the partying lifestyle just like other hip hop artists do, and who’s to blame them? In fact, ICP’s J and Shaggy 2 Dope throw a bigger party every year than any other hip hop artist: The Gathering of the Juggalos. The best part? They invite their fans too! How many other mainstream hip hop artists can say that? Resource Box ICP’s J and Shaggy 2 Dope have much in common with other mainstream hip hop artists, and at the same time are quite different. To learn more about ICP’s J and Shaggy 2 Dope, please visit http://insaneclownposse.com.
What is Hip Hop? Dissecting the Umbrella and one of its Sub-Genres
Everybody and their mother knows the answer to the question, “What is hip hop?” That’s what happens when people ask “What is hip hop?” for 30 years – eventually it will reach saturation, for better or worse. But while most of the world is fixated on this umbrella genre, there are many lesser-known micro-genres that have sprouted up in the same time period. After all, when people keep asking “what is hip hop?”, some are not going to be satisfied with the answer and venture out to make their own version of the now famous genre. Juggalos certainly weren’t satisfied. Thanks to the musical innovators of the world, one such micro-genre with obsessive Juggalo fans is that of horror rap. What is hip hop in its purest form? The genre largely consists of synthesized drum beats and instrument samples that are looped in frequencies of 2, 4, or 8 measures. Sometimes the pattern changes up for a chorus, but more often they stay the same throughout. The trademark of hip hop is, however, in the vocal stylings. Hip hop artists do not sing, they rap, or talk quickly and rhythmically over the music described above. Content can range from heavy to light, but most popular hip hop is on the light side. The darkest content in hip hop belongs to that in the micro genre of horror rap, lapped up by Juggalos. What is hip hop’s relation to horror rap? Horror rap is a hip hop micro-genre that separates itself with dark, sometimes even morbid, lyrical content. The most noted act to have success with horror rap is Detroit horror rap outfit Insane Clown Posse. One look at the evil clown face paint, listen to the disturbing lyrics, or experience with Juggalos at one of the group’s famous live concerts and you’ll have a very thorough understanding of what horror rap. Analyzing this style of music would lead one to believe that, when unsatisfied with the typical answer to “what is hip hop?”, the horror rap founders believed it could be darker and less focused on care-free topics like materialism and braggadocio. What is hip hop’s fan base like compared to horror rap’s fan base? To start, the horror rap fan base (consisting primarily of Juggalos) is much smaller than that of general mainstream hip hop. Horror rappers appeal to their Juggalo fan base primarily through their content and legend, but also through interesting add-ons like mythology, customized horror rap music festivals, a family feeling, etc. What is hip hop and what are horror rap are two very different questions, the answers to both would best be explained by a demonstration of their various live settings. Juggalos and normal hip hop heads are very different people. What is hip hop’s life span? Time will tell, but good mainstream hip hop, the kind that the genre’s founders had in mind, hasn’t been on top of the charts in a decade, while horror rap is growing rapidly. Perhaps Juggalos could see a switch in the genres’ fortunes soon! Resource Box Hip hop is a major musical form that has been around since the mid 1970s, and has given birth to micro genres such as horror rap, the genre preferred by Juggalos. To learn more about horror rap and Juggalos, please visit http://insaneclownposse.com
What Rare ICP Do Juggalos Like the Most?
Before we pose the question, it’s best to define just what media type is being referred to with the term rare ICP. Because there are rare ICP merchandise items, rare ICP footage, rare ICP music, and other rare ICP or horror rap material in general, the media type is an important distinguisher. Let’s begin with Rare ICP footage. This could mean concert footage, backstage footage, footage of the guys just hanging out before they were famous, or maybe even footage of the guys hanging out with members of their Juggalo fan base or Psychopathic Records’ horror rap entourage. Some of the coolest rare ICP footage out there is of Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope just being themselves. There’s a couple videos of J putting Shaggy 2 Dope’s makeup on for him before he learned to do it himself back in the early 90s, and one exceptionally rare video of the guys writing music in producer Mike E. Clark’s bedroom studio in 1994, without makeup or any other usual ICP horror rap decorations. That video only has 14,000 views on YouTube, has it been overlooked by Juggalos looking for rare Insane Clown Posse footage? Probably! To Juggalos, or any fan of horror rap in general for that matter, the most inspiring thing about all the rare ICP footage is that it proves Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope haven’t changed one bit since they started in the early 90s. The rare ICP interviews will prove that their philosophy is still the same, and they were just as invigorated about it then as they are today. They still stick up for the less fortunate, and have never forgotten their roots. On top of that, there’s some excellent rare ICP footage taken by Juggalos themselves, and not by a TV network or ICP insider. For example, a rare ICP concert footage google search will turn up fan-generated video of waiting outside in line for the group’s horror rap concerts, and some times even from inside the venue when the horror rap performers were actually performing. Another inspiring thing about these Juggalo generated videos – they show that the Juggalo has not evolved since the early 90s either. Juggalos are still as madly passionate about ICP as they were in the early 90s, the only thing that’s changed is their age and the number of them in existence. Older Juggalos who may have retired from the horror rap scene would undoubtedly be impressed by the fervor that Juggalos still show in 2012, just like they did 20 years ago in 1991. Rare ICP merchandise, while not as revealing per se, is still extremely valuable to Juggalos and all who follow the horror rap game. The Hollywood Records version of ICP’s 1995 release Great Milenko is rare because it was only on shelves for 6 hours before the record label realized what kind of music ICP was and pulled it. Another cool merch item is the Carnival of Carnage Crew BMX Jersey. ICP rolling papers and old, colorful t-shirts are other highly sought after rare ICP items for Juggalos. Resource Box Horror rap enthusiasts will find some pretty appealing gems if they Google “Rare ICP.” To learn more about horror rap, Juggalos, and all things rare ICP, please visit http://insaneclownposse.com.