Insane Clown Posse's Shaggy 2 Dope: "There's Always Been Juggalos"

Categories: Juggalo Watch, Q&A

ICP 2010
Victor Palagano
ICP at the Marquee in 2010.
In 1997, when a heavy, rock-influenced sound and record label meddling gave Insane Clown Posse their first brush with the mainstream, it was hard to imagine Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope remaining relevant in 2003, let alone 2013.

That's because none of us were taking the Juggalos into account. In the 20 years since the release of their first album, Carnival of Carnage, ICP has watched as a devoted fanbase morphed into a closely knit culture and a lifestyle all its own.

ICP is bringing the Mighty Death Pop tour to Flagstaff on June 2; we spoke with Shaggy 2 Dope about surprising old fans, making new fans welcome, and why there were Juggalos long before Juggalos had a name. (We also got an update on the FBI's decision to label the Juggalos a "hybrid gang.")

Insane Clown Posse is scheduled to perform at Pepsi Amphitheater in Flagstaff on June 2.

ICP fans
Victor Palagano
You guys have tweeted about playing some deeper cuts on the tour you're on right now. What prompted that, and how is it going to be different from a normal show?

We've been touring forever, and as years have gone by we've seen what goes over really good that we do live. So over the years we've kind of formulated our show to all the shit that we know that people love and wanna hear compiled.

But there are so many people that have been to so many of our shows that for this tour, we decided to go back and dig into some old shit. We're not really doing the shit we normally do on tour. We're not doing "Chicken Huntin'," we're not doing our songs we always do--the staples that we usually do live.

We're doing a lot of rare shit, a lot of old shit, and then a lot of shit from [The Mighty Death Pop!, their 2012 album]. There's no shit that we usually do on tour in this show.

How have the fans reacted to that so far?

People have been loving it. I haven't actually face-to-face talked to a gang of people, but from what I could tell just from being up there, it's going great. It's nothing but love. I think we're definitely blowing some wigs back on some of the juggalos that come to see us, because they're expecting that same old shit and then we come in sideways with some other stuff--and I think that's definitely blowing some wigs back, but in a good way.

I was interested in knowing how your feelings about your music and your music itself changed when you realized how devoted your fans were, and how much they built their lives around it.

Of course, everything we put out is 100 percent through and through our full heart. If there's anything that we don't feel is up to our standards, there's no way we'd put it out. There's nothing just floating around that gets out there without our stamp of approval. So everything we put out, to us, is our heart and soul.

As far as anything changing for anybody, I don't feel that we ever had to change, because what we do, for Juggalos, is the same shit that we're into. We're, like, all one person. We just put out what we do best, and what we think is awesome, and nine times out of 10--of course you're not going to please everybody all the time--but what we do is we just figure that what we think is awesome is what Juggalos think is awesome.

Because like I said, it's one big mind between us and them. Because we are them. And of course it sounds different nowadays, and I'm sure some of the content's a little bit different, but that's because we've been putting out records for 20 years. We can't put out another Carnival Carnage, because that was then. That was that era. We can't do another Riddle Box because that was from '95. As your career goes along, of course your music's going to progress with time and maturity just from doing it.

So reaching people on such an intense level as you reach Juggalos, that's always been your goal?

No, not at all! When we first started out, we were Inner City Posse. [laughs] So it just so happens that there's an audience that are the same type of people that we are. So the shit we're saying, the people that are picking it up are the same type of people we are, and they feel it just as hard as we feel it.

After the jump: It just kind of developed into that, and what it developed into was fucking beautiful.

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