For those among you who are "down" and perhaps for those who are not, you know that much brouhaha was made by the FBI's inclusion of Juggalos -- ie fans of Insane Clown Posse -- in their 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment. This, of course, put them in the same category as well-organized Mexican-helmed narco machines, Bloods, Crips, meticulously tiered Russian mafia syndicates, and the intricately ordered, centuries-old Chinese Triads and Japanese Yakuza.
But why? For what reason would a motley family of painted fans be considered a national menace? Well, thanks to the recently-fulfilled Freedom of Information Act filing made on behalf of ICP and lawsuits related to the FBI's assessment, we now know the truth. And it will shock you.
By David Thorpe
While perusing Insane Clown Posse's Twitter timeline, like a person does, I came across something interesting: our favorite rap clowns announced a new update to their official smartphone app, which I didn't even know existed. For the advancement of pop journalism and human knowledge in general, I hereby volunteer to investigate.
When I started as LA Weekly music editor last summer, I was fairly committed to not covering Insane Clown Posse. After all, we'd put them on the cover earlier that year and the duo's not from here. But more than that they're disgustingly overexposed. It took them a while to break through to the mainstream media, but in recent years they're everywhere. Our sister paper Village Voice is at the front of the pack, and they've done a great job with their coverage, so I didn't see a reason for us to stay on the beat.
But it was difficult. Over cover story did huge pageviews, and it seems that the hipster demographic we cater to has an endless capacity for information about the group and their inability to understand magnets. But is that actually the case? I began to wonder why there are so many ICP stories, and why they do so well. Because, to be honest, the group's fan base is not that huge, at least when it comes to traditional measures.
Oddly, Insane Clown Posse rapper Joey Utsler -- better known as Shaggy 2 Dope -- is humble. When we meet up with them in June, on the group's bus in the parking lot of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, he speaks as if he can't believe his duo's success. His counterpart Joseph Bruce (aka Violent J) is watching SpongeBob SquarePants on a small TV, smirking now and then.
Ever hustling, the group offered to meet us at the L.A. Weekly offices, but their tour bus wouldn't fit in our parking garage, so here we are.
They've come out to Hollywood before, and remain enamored of the local women. "There's so much parking-lot pimpin' going on," Utsler says, a bit cryptically. "The women are like 3-to-1, all over this fuckin' place."