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ICP: A Band With Its Own Sub-Culture

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The rap duo Insane Clown Posse, Shaggy 2 Dope, left, and Violent J, pose in their stage makeup in a 1999 promotional photo. The rap duo Insane Clown Posse, Shaggy 2 Dope, left, and Violent J, pose in their stage makeup in a 1999 promotional photo.

Deanne Stein, News9.com

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The band Insane Clown Posse or ICP is not new to the music industry. The American hip hop duo made its start in Detroit's underground music scene back in the early 1990s.

Composed of Joseph Bruce (Violent J) and Joseph Utsler (Shaggy 2 Dope), ICP is known for its elaborate live performances. Its music style is hardcore hip hop known as horrorcore. It was this style of music, with its supernatural and horror themed lyrics, that originally kept them out of the mainstream and even banned from radio airwaves. However, the group developed a huge following and went on to sell millions of albums in the U.S. and Canada, earning two platinum and five gold albums. The group even created its own record label, Psychopathic Records.

The group's dedicated fan base of millions is often referred to as Juggalos and for the female fans, Juggalettes. It's a fan base that has become its own subculture of sorts, developing their own idioms, slang and characteristics.

According to band member Joseph Utsler, "[Juggalos come] from all walks of life -- from poverty, from rich, from all religions, all colors. [sic] It doesn't matter if you're born with a silver spoon in your mouth, or a crack rock in your mouth."

Juggalos have compared themselves to being a family. Some common characteristics of the Juggalo subculture include drinking the soft drink Faygo, listening to horror-themed rap music and wearing face paint. They even hold an annual Gathering of the Juggalos each year in rural Illinois. They spend days camping out, partying, listening to music and bonding.

Even band members say their fan base exceeded their expectations.

"ICP just makes rap records, that's all we do," Joseph Bruce said during an interview for Omusicawards.com. " We never fantasized that we'd have a Juggalo nation out there that loves us like this. It was never in the blueprints, it was never in the plans. We're just as blown away by this as anybody else. We're just a rap group."

There have been several incidents of criminal activity across the country attributed to self-proclaimed Juggalos. Although Juggalos have denied any connection to being a gang, they are classified as a gang by police in some cities and states, including Utah, Arizona, Monroe County, Pennsylvania and Modesto, California. Some schools prohibit students from wearing ICP related clothing.

Psychopathic Records and Insane Clown Posse have denounced violence within their fan base, suggesting many of the violent incidents have been committed by individuals claiming to be Juggalos as an excuse for their behavior.

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