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In 2011, Juggalos were classified as an actual gang in Pennsylvania, Utah, Arizona, & California (Przemieniecki, Compitello, Lindquist 2019). Christopher Przemieniecki has a Ph.D. and is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at West Chester University and also been published in a journal about gang research. Samantha Compitello graduated from West Chester University in 2018 and completed her bachelor’s at Arcadia University and has research interests surrounding gangs. Josiah Lindquist worked as an intern for a Gang Unit, and as an Analyst and the Dauphin County (PA) Criminal Investigation Division.
Although, an onset of followers of the Insane Clown Posse were caught sight of in over 20 states (Przemieniecki, Compitello, Lindquist 2019). A Juggalo (Male fan) and Juggalette (female fan) can be recognized by donning a hatchetman chain (band logo), band shirts with the logo, any merchandise or a tattoo. Faygo is the drink of choice among Icp’s fanbase. Juggalettes and Juggalos scream Whoop! Whoop! to signify another in the vicinity. The fanbase considers one another as a family despite the FBI’s best efforts to pin Gang on them.
ICPs fanbase is a tight-knit family with morals, ethics, religion and they are united by music, life experiences, and love not gangs and criminal activity. The Horrorcore rappers Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J started ICP in 1991 (Przemieniecki, Compitello, Lindquist 2019). The term Juggalo was implemented after a song in 1992 called The juggla (Kennedy,2017).
The name of the band was originally Inner City Posse and previous works were released in accordance with that name. Joseph Bruce AKA Violent J, had an epiphany regarding the Joker’s cards and from there the path to Shangri-la was laid along with his long-time friend Joseph Utsler AKA Shaggy 2 Dope.
ICP was founded in Detroit. The first Jokers card was dropped in 1992, entitled Carnival of Carnage (Bruce & Echlin, p.541,2003). Joseph Bruce is Violent J and one of the rappers in ICP, who better to tell this story?
Hobey Echlin is an author from Detroit who co-wrote Behind The Paint with Bruce, Behind the paint is an autobiography written about the duo’s humble beginnings. This joker’s card warns you about the end of time and the need to get your life straight, it also encourages its listeners to look within and soul search (Bruce & Echlin, p.541,2003). This album discusses the trials and tribulations of growing up in poverty and facing hard life-decisions. It also discusses racism and the rebel flag. It talks about where you will go when you die based on your life. The second joker’s card in the deck is entitled The Ringmaster. The Ringmaster is the ringleader of the Carnival of Carnage and the ringmaster takes souls condemned to damnation. This album talks a lot about morality and ethical issues and is a lot of Juggalo’s favorite album by far (Bruce & Echlin, p.545,2003). The third Joker’s card is the Riddlebox.
The Riddlebox offers its listeners that when you turn the crank, what pops out is where you will go when you die and this character shows you the afterlife essentially (Bruce & Echlin, p.552,2003). This album is very intense it gets into stereotypes and even into psychosis. It talks about love and death. It delves into how kids get roped into gangs and violence. It also discusses judgements made about looks and why it is superficial. The fourth Joker’s card is The Great Milenko. Alice Cooper did the intro for this album which is fascinating (Bruce & Echlin, p.556,2003). The Great Milenko is able to see the things you hide from the world, he can make the real person underneath show by casting out fronts put on by the individual, you can’t hide from him he is all-seeing (Bruce & Echlin, p.556,2003). This album is awry with trickery. The Great Milenko is a necromancer with the ability to deceive. There are two ways an encounter can go, you can fall prey to the spells or ones heart is in the right place and cannot be deceived as they are genuine. This album discusses rape and revenge, abuse, and what awaits after death. This album discusses the fear of death and dying and how church scares you into believing and demands money for miracles. The fifth Joker’s card is entitled The Amazing Jeckel Brothers. The brothers are depicted as one being good his name is Jake as he cares for people (Bruce & Echlin, p.565,2003).
Jack is evil and conniving (Bruce & Echlin, p.565,2003). These spirits do a balancing act with each sin that is committed over an individuals lifespan with each bad thing added it can make their juggling act off balance if they happen to drop the sin ball the person is sent to hell if they manage to keep it going the person enters Shangri-la AKA Heaven (Bruce & Echlin, p.565,2003). Jack being conniving likes to sabotage Jakes work (Bruce & Echlin, p.565,2003). This album has two parts, One for each brother and after death (Bruce & Echlin, p.565,2003). This album discusses souls that are in jeopardy, riches, unity, what lies beyond our realm. It has visuals about the way hell looks and feels in the song Echo side.
The next Joker’s card album is the Wraith Shangri-la and Hells Pit. This album is also a two-parter. It is the sixth Joker’s card. The wraith is the grim reaper that takes the individual to heaven or to hell upon death according to the life that they lived (Bruce & Echlin, p.593-594,2003). This album discusses the intentions of Insane Clown Posse from the beginning. With the song called Thy Unveiling ICP is shed in a new light. They talk about how God was a heavy influence on them and how they have felt that they have touched many lives. This album talks about the need to belong and feeling like a loser. This album is was very long awaited among its fanbase because of its importance to the Dark Carnival. ICP’s Joker card albums have running themes that reflect their morals and values. They are against racism and bigotry. They are Christians and don’t profess to be perfect. They are very tired of being accused of being a gang. The Dark Carnival has a message to convey. Matt shorr sums it up nicely, It isn’t for everyone but there is something in it for everyone (Shorr,2010). He likens some of their music to Edgar Allan Poe’s level of writing. Shor is an avid online writer and blogger.
The Dark Carnival is the message of our lives, as upon death our lives are echoed. How did we do? Did we falter more than prospered? Did we try our best? How did we treat people? What are our beliefs? The Dark Carnival takes a person and dissects them chronologically based on their lives. Upon personally interviewing Jesse Hamilton there were some great insights given as to why ICP receives such scrutiny. Small towns need funding for law enforcement and need a scapegoat he offered as an explanation why Juggalos are considered a gang Hamilton, Jesse. Personal interview. 26 April 2019. Juggalos everywhere get harsher sentencing if they do commit a crime and its wrong and A few bad apples spoil the bunch Hamilton, Jesse. Personal interview. 26 April 2019. The FBI has given Juggalos more notoriety in the endeavors to shut them down. I have been down with the clown since 8th grade and have followed them closely ever since Hamilton, Jesse. Personal interview. 26 April 2019. Family means a group of people that have similar music interests, aren’t ashamed and have fallen on hard times and aren’t judgmental. It is a good time to be a Juggalo Jesse is an underground rapper that goes by Crosface whos major influences for his music is ICP and he has been a long time fan of the duo. Juggalos and Juggalettes are a subculture that is largely misunderstood he offers that fear drives people to write the family off. Juggalos have gained more following in recent years due to their values and how they are against bigotry and racism he offers insights into his experiences in the past few years.Upon another interview, it enlightened me as to how deep Juggalo blood runs. Chance Wilkins likened Juggalo family to survival.
Preventing other Juggalos and Juggalettes from taking their own life and being there for them keeps me going Wilkins, Chance. Personal interview. 26 April 2019. Chance was severely bullied and outcasted. Felt underground music was an outlet, kept me sane.Wilkins, Chance. Personal interview. 26 April 2019. It means something to be a part of a community that is accepting Wilkins, Chance. Personal interview. 26 April 2019. Chance has been a fan of the duo for over 10 years and has been producing music for roughly 10 years. Among both interviews, I couldn’t find any criminal activities that were participated in or any previous gang affiliation whatsoever. The National Gang Intelligence Center said that Juggalos were “a loosely-organized hybrid gang” in 2011 (Young, Q. 2017, Sep 26). Juggalos and Juggalettes from all over not just the immediate Washington D.C. area did the protest to increase awareness and rebuke the gang allegations. The NGIC argued that the family occasionally exhibited gang-like characteristics were sometimes involved in criminal activity and had violent tendencies (Young, Q. 2017, Sep 26).
Quentin Young is a news writer for TCA regional news in Chicago. Psychopathic Records was a label started by ICP. It was a label that ran beneath the streets and devoid of mainstream influence. By starting their own label the duo was able to give the absolute truth with no filter. They didn’t have to sugarcoat anything and each song was delivered truthfully and without censoring. Many artists have been signed to the label and believe in their cause. The psychopathic family is a crazy and wild bunch, what family isn’t dysfunctional? (Young, Q. 2017, Sep 26). The wraith was alarming to its onlookers at the protest, a large rendition of the reaper on stilts was a little nerve-wracking for people covering the story as well as the faygo showers that took place (Young, Q. 2017, Sep 26). Faygo showers are administered by shaking up bottles of faygo pop and spraying the liquid on its fanbase in the audience. Faygo became a thing because its the cheapest pop on the market, in Detroit Michigan where the duo started, the rappers loved that pop and grew up drinking it and incorporated it into Juggalo culture. Juggalo Juice is a popular song in the second deck of joker cards entitled The mighty death pop referring to the pop’s many flavor options for your palette enjoyment. The Dark Carnival isn’t palatable for everyone. The lyrics are often misunderstood. The Juggalo and Juggalette population is a largely misunderstood fanbase.
ICP has been referred to as the most hated band in the world well before the NGIC took notice and labeled them as a gang. There seems to be a specific type of people who prefer their music. Not excluding the populous adult fanbase however, Among youth it is not uncommon for youth Juggalos to have been a victim of abuse, been homeless, witnessed violence and because of this unfortunate fact juggalo youth is more prone to drug use (Petering, Rhoades, Winetrobe, Dent, and Rice, p. 642-650,2016). Petering, Rhoades, Winetrobe, Dent, Rice were published in Child Psychiatry and human development articles online. ICP has been known to hold concerts where there was no admission but bring canned food for the local food pantries to get in, the good stuff like chef Boyardee. Via a sign at the Juggalo March: “I’ve never been asked to commit a crime to be a Juggalo. The only thing I’ve been asked is to bring canned food to a drive (Baragona,2017). Justin Baragona does Weblog posts for Newstex Trade & Industry Blogs perspectively. All the albums ICP has ever done is dedicated to the butterfly (Bruce & Echlin, p.12,2003).
The butterfly represents a time in Violent J’s childhood where he felt pure and innocent untainted by life’s bull (Bruce & Echlin, p.12,2003). Older brother Rob Bruce and Joe captured a very large and beautiful butterfly in a jar, they poked lots of holes in the lid and placed it in front of a fan so it could fly (Bruce & Echlin, p. 11-12,2003). To their horror the next day the butterfly had died and they were upset that they had killed something so utterly beautiful, they dug a grave and made a vow when they made it to heaven they would apologize to the beautiful insect (Bruce & Echlin, p.12,2003). ICP has put out comic books where J wrote the dialogue and Shaggy drew it up (Bruce & Echlin, p.227,2003). They Spent substantial amounts of time and effort at Kinko’s to promote their work (Bruce & Echlin, p.227,2003).
They took nothing and essentially made something out of it, speaking on their tireless efforts in order to become the clowns they are today. They have their own wrestling gig, starting out backyard wrestling and then gaining ground and landing the real deal. They have made movies and been featured on The Great White Hype movie soundtrack (Bruce & Echlin, p.553,2003). Why does all of this matter? The march on Washington D.C. was a peaceful one. Juggalos and Juggalettes are getting wrongly railroaded for petty crimes because of this wrongful designation likening the fanbase to known gangs like Ms-13s and Bloods and Crips (Przemieniecki, Compitello, Lindquist 2019). Juggalos and Juggalettes are losing their children just for liking their music due to the alleged gang ties according to a youtube video documentary covering the march (YouTube, 20 Sept. 2017). This documentary covered footage from the march and testimonials of the harrassment Juggalos have gone through since 2011. There are few studies that have been done regarding this subculture, there was a study, however, conducted at the march by researchers who attempted to blend in amongst the fanbase, the researchers findings were relatively inconclusive due to the fact that they found things that could support NGIC points but also things that can contradict their claims (Przemieniecki, Compitello, Lindquist 2019). Juggalos and Juggalettes are being wrongfully viewed, there may be criminals that happen to also be a Juggalo but that doesn’t accurately reflect the entire group as a whole! People are complex and are many things.
Music tastes shouldn’t be grounds to take kids from their parents. At the march in Washington D.C., the crowd was chanting We are family! Not a gang! and even though the march seemed to be a display for the public eye, lots of caring and compassionate actions were observed, clear resentment was present considering the gang label wrongfully thrust on this subculture (Przemieniecki, Compitello, Lindquist 2019). Music has long been dissected and blamed for individuals actions and this topic is nothing new. People criticize things they don’t understand and ICP is not your grandmother’s music. ACDC and Black Sabbath have long been on trial regarding the message they are sending to their listeners (Przemieniecki, Compitello, Lindquist 2019). ICP is current and a new focal scapegoat. Interestingly enough many have failed to sue the bands and actually won so a new tactic was born, blame the fanbase (Przemieniecki, Compitello, Lindquist 2019). The Juggalo March was on September 16th, 2017 and it was held in and around the Lincoln Memorial (Kennedy,2017). Gerrick D. Kenndy is a writer for the Los Angeles Times online. The march was a protest to denounce any gang affiliations associated with the Juggalo population (Kennedy,2017). Trump had a rally that day as well in D.C. (Kennedy,2017). There were many testimonies uncovered at the march and since the beginning in 2011, that told very disheartening stories of Juggalos and Juggalettes being fired, losing their children, not being allowed to serve in the military, being labeled as a gang-banger just for having apparel of ICP’s (Kennedy,2017). Immediately following the protest Insane Clown Posse held a concert for attendees (Kennedy,2017).
The Juggalos are fighting for basic human rights here! They are fighting to express themselves and they fear to be a target of harrassment by cops just for wearing ICP apparel (Kennedy,2017). A traffic stop could be enough for a Juggalo/Juggalette to be labeled a gang-banger and ruin their lives (Kennedy,2017). A lawsuit was filed on the duo’s behalf in 2014, by The American Civil liberties Union regarding the gang allegations (Kennedy,2017). ICP went as far as to sue the FBI and it has been dismissed (Kennedy,2017). It is so wrong that Juggalos civil liberties are being infringed upon. I really hope that I have helped the reader to develop their own opinion regarding this matter through the facts that were presented and through the personal interviews transcribed. More joker cards have since been released with very similar underlying themes present.
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