With the 12th installment of the Gathering of the Juggalos around the corner and the Insane Clown Posse releasing an album soon thereafter. Cameron, a shamed ex-Juggalo, explains his idea of two men from Michigan who started one of the largest cults in America.
A Long time ago, I was a Juggalo, this was during my prime years of high school. I came to be a Juggalo in order to impress the girlfriend I had at the time. A little back story to this; her brother was a Juggalo, and she was a much closeted Juggalette (yes they have a female version too), so you see where my predicament was. In my time I was very dedicated to the “Dark Carnival” and it’s show-runners the Insane Clown Posse. I followed every act on the Psychopathic Record label like an obedient puppy, I bought every CD to find the hidden keys to the ‘Carnival’, I also purchased every piece of merchandise I could afford, and I never thought anything of it; I merely just listened and bought. I was a true Juggalo, and I sincerely believed every word they had to say and everything they, essentially, preached, kind of like cult leaders.
Scientology, as we see it, is a millionaires club, the rich pay hefty sums of money to belong to something that makes them feel above the rest. Even though their careers and bank accounts show they have reached the top of the mountain they only want more, Scientology seems to allow this outlet. There are also two sides to Scientology; there’s the nutty Scientology, the one the Celebrities seem to adhere too that involves a lot of science fictional overtones, and then there’s the Scientology that runs much like every other religion, which is a safe-haven for people to worship something that gives them hope. There is always two sides to a coin if you catch my drift.
The Insane Clown Posses and the ‘Carnival’ they preach about is something that gave hope to me in a time when I was hopeless and in high school. Back then, I was a 300-pound man, who lost his mother to Cancer in his first semester; essentially I was a big, fat, hormonal mess that had barely any friends and somehow was able to convince a woman that was way, way, way, way out of my league to be my special lady-friend. Kind of like I was a high school junior varsity baseball player and she was the big league organization I was trying to get in to. Her brother first introduced me to the Insane Clown Posses in mid-2003, the first album he showed me of theirs was the final Joker card entitled “The Wraith: Shangri-La”. The whole album revolves around the idea of Juggalo heaven and what the six Jokers Cards had been leading too. This was something Juggalos had been waiting for since 1992 (the release of the first Jokers Card “Carnival of Carnage”).
The Joker Cards are six different albums, starting with the aforementioned ‘Carnage’, then two-years-later they released “The Ringmaster” (1994) a year after that “The Riddle-box”(1995), then another two years “The Great Milenko” (1997). It was with ‘Milenko’ that ICP broke into the Mainstream. Signing a deal with the Disney-owned Hollywood Records, ICP, had some money to throw around on advertisements, signing tours, recording time, and live tours in ’97. That was until Hollywood pulled the plug on the release of ‘Milenko’ hours after the album released, subsequently eliminating ICP from their roster and creating a buzz in music for the Detroit based duo. This buzz lead to “The Amazing Jeckel Brothers” the fifth Jokers Card and second most successful next to ‘Milenko’,this also brought ICP even further into the mainstream, after they signed with Island Records, the same company that puts out U2, ICP saw a peak at No. 4 on the U.S. charts under Island and with their release of “Bizzar” and “Bizaar”in 2000 ICP had come fully into the limelight even having a video labled as “Brand Spanking New,” on MTV.
At this point in time ICP had their own record label funded by Island, they had side acts aside from themselves that they were collecting more cash from, they were on MTV, on the cover of Spin, and they made a full-length feature film titled “Big Money Hustlas”. (here I’ve linked the entire movie on YouTube. Watch it at your own risk, I’m telling you it’s practically the worst thing ever made.)
In each of these albums ICP has had certain subtle nuances that hinted at specific things that dealt with the ‘Carnival’ along with very vague hints at what the “Carnival” is. The number 17 is a very pertinent number to the group, in the linear notes of each album the number is referenced, and each album has 17-songs on it. The number 17 refers to the fact that ICP sold 17 copies of their first album, “Basement Cutz”, these were the days when they were a underground rap group in Detroit along the same likes of Kid Rock, and Eminem. Not the small time Cult leaders they’ve become today.
In 2002 they released “Shangri-La” the first half of of the final Joker card. They basically went all sorts of Harry Potter and broke the last one into two parts, the second part, “Hell’s Pit” came out in ’04 and put a nice little bow on the whole “Dark Carnival”. ‘Shangri-La’ features the big reveal of what the ‘Carnival’ means and what it is, the ‘Wraith’ ends with a song entitled “The Unveiling” basically it refers to everything that has been in Juggalo-dom and how it came to be; what is the magical source behind all juggalos? God, yep, bet you didn’t see that one coming. In the middle of the song ICP just comes out with it. “When we speak of Shangri-La what you think we mean?” utters Violent J in the raspiest of tones. “Truth is we follow God, we’ve always been behind him, the ‘Carnval’ is god and may all Juggalos find him.” Yep, that’s right, after 10 years of violent lyrics, being banned from labels and being seen by the media as a group of homicidal rapping-clowns, these guys, Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J, are just two good ol’ christian boys who love god and have a sick way of portraying it, just so they can sell albums on pure shock value.
After the announcement of the ‘Carnival’ being god, many Juggalos jumped ship, I being one of them. I remember asking my ex’s brother about what he thought the god thing meant. He had been following them since the beginning and he had too of deciphered some of their hidden messages. His response was that the ‘Carnival’ wasn’t Christian God, that it was their God, that this traveling ‘Dark Carnival’ was their religion and is what Juggalos adhere to. This was maybe 10-year-ago, and at the time it didn’t damn on me that, “hey maybe this is a cult and not just music.”
Now, with the ‘Gathering’ around the corner, and it being the 12th since its conception, Psychopathic Records released another infomercial for the line-up at the ‘Gathering’. These infomercials are so under-budgeted and poorly written it’s not even funny, well it is kind of funny but more in a sad-funny kind of way. In this video there is an underlying theme of a place where Jugalos can escape the real world and just be one with each other. This is ICPs’ whole shtick now, they pray on the weak and unfortunate.
It was a little after I watched this video that it started to dawn on me, that these two have the keys to the poor mans Scientology. They preach what they want, they have a loose definition of what is right and what is wrong and they will jump down anyone’s throat for saying that they’re either a cult or wrong. Obviously ICP is very wrong in everything they preach and the factor that they just want to dupe hardcore Juggalos into spending their money on a second set of Jokers Cards that will lead to another grand message is absolutely preposterous, especially since the first set was supposed to be the only set at first. It’s kind of like in Scientology you hear that you have to pay money to get a healthier education on the church or too gain a higher thetan level and you just keep paying-and-paying. In Juggalo-dom the older shirts you have and the more knowledge about the band you have, and the ‘Carnival’ the “deeper” you go into their world of pseudo-Christianity, ICP likes to pray on the weak, they offer safe-haven in their music by saying they’re one with the “Scrubs” in the world (and not that stupid show that was on ABC) that they come from the gutters and no one but them can understand you.
In 2011 the Juggalos were added to the F.B.I’s list of National Gang Threat Assessment, they were evaluated as, “loosely-organized hybrid gang, forming more organized subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity.” stated in the F.B.I’s report. A year prior too Psychopathic Records was estimated to be pulling in $10 million a year. These are the things that have to make some Juggalos realize that they aren’t the sad sacks they used to be, when ICP was only selling 17 copies of an album. Now they sell over 300,000 every time they release something, they have their own festival every year, and they are a completely self-operational record company. They preach to kids about getting revenge on the people that wronged them, they preach about a ‘Carnival’ as god and they try to give morals to people while talking about going red-neck hunting. Much like any cult they don’t really know what they’re preaching just as long as the idiot masses buy it and put more money in their account.
We think that when artists are trying to convey a message that they really mean it, that somewhere inside them is a little piece of us. This is not true, no celebrity or anyone with a large sum of money will ever understand your plight, they’re in a completely different tax bracket, you’re a pee-on to them, they’ll do their song and dance, only as long as your putting money in their accounts. It is this that makes ICP so scary, it’s not that they’ve gone after the rich and smart people of the world, the 1% if you will, they’ve gone after the 99%, and this was before people were picketing Wall Street. They saw that if you gather the poor and uneducated masses you have more of a chance of convincing them that your way is the right way. It’s almost terrifying to think that I was once so emotionally distraught that I bought into this crap, If you’re a Juggalo and you’re reading this, please, for your own sake, go read a book, stop listening to their music, and never, and I mean never, ever think magnetism is a miracle.