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Insane Clown Posse: 'We're First Amendment Warriors' for Juggalo Nation

“Juggalos are being fucked with, so we have to do something about it.”

On a hot summer night in July, crowds of people gathered in a remote wooded area in front of a concert stage. Their faces were covered in clown makeup and their arms and legs painted with hatchetman tattoos.

By the end of the night, they'd all be covered in sticky, cheap soda.

This was the annual "Gathering of the Juggalos" in Oklahoma City, where thousands flock to see their favorite rap group, Insane Clown Posse (ICP).

The Juggalos aren't just ICP fans— they've built a cultural identity around the music, the rap duo, and what it represents. In turn, ICP has stood up for its followers as they've been harassed and profiled all over the country. Unwittingly, these two white rappers from Detroit have become some of the nation's most determined advocates for free expression.

On September 16, 2017, ICP will lead the Juggalos in a march on the National Mall in Washington D.C. They'll be protesting the FBI's decision to label the group as a "hybrid gang" back in 2011 in the agency's National Gang Threat Assessment. Since then, local police have used the report as guidance, resulting in rampant harassment and profiling of a group defined by its love for a music group.

ICP sued the FBI in 2014, but after three appeals, the case hasn't made it to trial. So now the group is heading to D.C.

"It's a publicity stunt," says ICP's Violent J (Joseph Bruce). "We want to say to everybody, 'we're not cool with that.'"

"[If] Juggalos are being fucked with, we got to do something about it," says Violent J's partner Shaggy 2 Dope (Joseph Utsler). "If that ties us into some First Amendment movement, whatever, we're First Amendment warriors. I don't know."

In the early 1990s, the rap duo from Detroit started to notice that its unique brand of scary horror rap was attracting poor, scrubby, white kids also from the Motor City.

"We represent people who weren't born with a silver spoon in their mouth but instead with a rusty fork," said Violent J in a 1995 interview.

So Violent J. and Shaggy 2 Dope started painting their faces like clowns as a point of pride. If society was going to treat the poor like carnival freaks, they would play along. The duo also started bringing bottles of the cheap soda pop Faygo on stage to spray the audience during their sets.

In 1997, ICP had its album pulled from stores by Hollywood Records, a subsidiary of Disney. A few years later the duo had a disappointing experience at Woodstock '99, a corporate reboot of Woodstock '69. So ICP decided to chart its own path away from the mainstream.

In 2000, the group held the first "Gathering of the Juggalos," which was around when their fans started to draw negative attention.

"They're the poor white people that everybody has no problem mocking," says pop culture writer Nathan Rabin, who's the author of the Juggalo-centric books You Don't Know Me But You Don't Like Me and 7 Days in Ohio.

But ICP used its pop-culture-punchline status to bolster its fan base. Getting demonized by society brought the community closer. Juggalos often refer to each other as family.

"We feel like whatever the magic is that's bringing us all together, whatever the magic is they're hearing, is the same magic we're feeling," says Violent J."This shit saved our lives too."

"It's very validating and exciting to be around people who love you just because of what you do and what you like," says Rabin.

Then came the FBI's gang classification, which ICP initially took lightly.

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  • Rhywun||

    It's like the FBI time-warped here from 1950. I'm picturing Joe Friday or somebody talking about the dangers of "the reefers" and youths wearing black leather jackets only now it's clown paint and soda pop.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    This is the problem with coercive monopoly government; whack one excess, it creates a dozen more. Its bureaucrats have nothing else to do but expand their turf, especially when threatened.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    +1 Correct Use of Its.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    You forgot to mention: ICP made a bit of a splash in WWE at one time. They were nothing but fun. The Juggalos are more than a bit over the top for my taste, but WTF: leave them alone.

  • Karen24||

    Exactly. If the Juggalos are a gang then so are the Deadheads, Parrotheads, KISS Army, Beliebers, and fans of One Direction.

  • target||

    I was thinking the same. If the FBI can classify the juggs as a gang, they are gonna loose their shit when they learn that KISS has an Army stationed on American soil with branch cells in other countries.

  • Sevo||

    Raider NATION!

  • ||

    Deadheads have been jailed with gang members on the theory that they are a gang.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Maybe the juggalos can be granted some land somewhere, far away from everyone else..........

  • Citizen X - #6||

    "If that ties us into some First Amendment movement, whatever, we're First Amendment warriors. I don't know."

    Shaggy 2 Dope is as keen a constitutional scholar as he is a student of magnetism.

  • Arizona_Guy||

    Free Speech, how does it work?

    Fucking miracles

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    As long as they're not promoting a political candidate or voting for Donald Trump, they're good.

  • Rhywun||

    He probably has a firmer grasp of the principles than any recent occupant of the White House, including the one who supposedly was one of those.

  • ||

    The stories I've heard about the recent constitutional scholar in the White House suggest Shaggy 2 Dope is probably a better student of magnetism too.

  • Rhywun||

    Obama steeps himself in the innovative

    LOL. A reminder of a different era.

  • jwind009||

    Is it wrong that I'm kind of hoping antifa will show up?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Now that would be pure entertainment. I wonder if the Juggalos would go into enough of a frenzy that they would outright start raping the antics thugs in the street.

  • ||

    Yeah I got 2 liters of Orange Faygo on the Juggalos.

  • Eman||

    Not great at pseudonyms though.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Yeah so I bought this ICP t-shirt at a seconhand store in town, not a fan, just liked the shirt, and was wearing it walking down the main drag, when out of the blue these two scary-as-fuck looking dudes spun around and said "A Juggalo! Hey I'm Mikey Clown, and this is Ricky Clown, so dope to see clowns in town!" I didn't want to piss them off so I just said, "Hey I'm Bobby Clown!" Then they did some obscure hand signals, and I just kind of faked hand signals back. They asked me if they could take pictures with me and everything. Good times.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Those were almost certainly FBI agents. Congratulations on having your picture in a gang task force database now.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Yeah. Like commenting here doesn't get you into an FBI database.

  • Chipper Morning, Now #1||

    They have a ten person profiler task force working full time trying to figure out Agile Cyborg.

  • Chipper Morning, Now #1||

    "Jenkins, I am going over your expense reports, and can you explain to me again why you've spent half your budget on red string?"

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Haven't seen Agile around here in a while. Did we lose him in the Great Libertarian Migration?

  • BYODB||

    He's posted in threads today and recently, although I also thought he was dead.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Outstanding! I look forward to reading more of Agile's wisdom.

  • Sevo||

    He's been here most all week, Late, though.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    I'm pretty sure i have a file.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    How is your handle not Bobby Clown?

  • Chipper Morning, Now #1||

    I guess you would be Crusty Clown.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Simple. My first name is not Bobby.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I don't get it.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    So what's your point, Bobby Clown?

  • Chipper Morning, Now #1||

    Dude, you are Bobby Clown from now on. Just own it.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    I Am Bobby Clown!

  • Sevo||

    So it's DEAT Clown?

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Deathclown. I AM DEATHCLOWN.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    You should make a cameo appearance in 'IT'. Just show up out of nowhere in the third act screaming "I am the Deathclown!", while beating the living shit out of Pennywise. Preferably with an empty 40 oz. malt liquor bottle. Then after Pennywise is beaten near senseless, he begs for mercy. At which point you whip it out and start pissing on him, yelling "Here's your fucking mercy! I am the deathclown!"

    Kind of specific, but it's based on a dream I had recently involving Bill Maher, and Clarabell from Howdy Doody. Hint: Bill Maher fared poorly in that dream.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The thing that really hacks me off about this (and similar stories) is how hard it's going to be to get the FBI to admit they made a mistake. If the freaking government was a little more ready to say "Hey, we screwed up. Sorry. Here, we'll fix that." I would be a great deal happier with the state of the Union.

  • RenaD||

    Can't put all these genies back in the bottle, unfortunately.

  • GILMORE™||

    Replace "Juggalos" with "Alt-Right" and compare to Zach's video.

    Prepare popcorn.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    "Family! Family! Family!"

  • BYODB||


    "I didn't have a problem with this country. Then all of a sudden they technically made it illegal to be a Juggalo," says Violent J. "It's like they took that one thing away that made me not have a problem with the government."


    Yeah, welcome to what made plenty of other people suddenly realize that Libertarians had a point all along. I know this is one of the things that made me look into it in the first place.


    I still think they're a pretty weird group, and I have absolutely no idea what all their nonsense is really about, but I don't really care either. I can't say that I've ever heard of a group of these wacko-birds causing any particular violence or anything, even while I've seen plenty of fear-mongering over them.


    If I were a poor white kid in Detroit, I'd think I'd grow up pretty weird too.

  • Zeb||

    It's a big group of "the wrong kind of people" who like to drink Faygo, do drugs and fuck each other a lot. That's probably enough right there.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    "do drugs and fuck each other a lot"

    Arent juggalos all guys?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I almost met my wife on here.
    JuggaLove

  • Longtobefree||

    Sorry, Wikipedia does not have a page for 'hybrid gangs' so they cannot be a 'hybrid gang'.
    The FBI web site (briefly) flashes a "no results found" message before dumping a lot of regular gang stuff when I searched for 'hybrid gang'

    The web tops the FBI.

  • Trigger Warning||

    Good on them. Thanks, Violent-J and Shaggy2Dope!

  • patskelley||

    Headline correction: FBI puts Juggalos on the map to fame and fortune! (Idiots)

    Common characteristics of identifying a member of the Juggalo subculture are as follows:

    Drinking and spraying the inexpensive soft drink Faygo. (oh the horror!)
    Listening to horrorcore and other types of underground rap music. (we can't have any of that!)
    Wearing face paint, generally those either like a clown or perhaps similar to corpse paint. (scary clowns ooooh)
    Wearing HatchetGear. (shows cartoon silhouette of guy running with tomahawk - someone could get hurt!)
    Having the Hatchet man logo applied on personal effects and, die cast, worn as jewelry. (Worse, apparently than the millions of tiny gun, grenade and bullet charm bracelets available everywhere)
    Doing hair in the spider legs style, i.e. like the Twiztid members (And just what is wrong with a traditional buzz cut anyway? Shameful)
    Displaying the gesture of wicked clown, the westside sign with the left hand and the C sign in ASL with the right, with arms crossed over. (Heavens!)
    Making and responding to "whoop, whoop" calls. (Can I get a whut, whut? What!?)
    Expressing a (generally) tongue-in-cheek obsession with murder, committed with a blade weapon. (Similar to the finger gun I suppose,)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juggalo

    Good luck guys, hope you make millions thanks to the free publicity provided at taxpayer expense. :-)

  • Trigger Warning||

    WTF is horrorcore?

  • mondo_cane||

    You realize, of course, that this is not news. Juggalos have been around for years doing their weird thing. But I guess everyone needs to write something. So power to you.

  • Sevo||

    "You realize, of course, that this is not news."
    RTFA:

    "On September 16, 2017, ICP will lead the Juggalos in a march on the National Mall in Washington D.C. They'll be protesting the FBI's decision to label the group as a "hybrid gang" back in 2011 in the agency's National Gang Threat Assessment. Since then, local police have used the report as guidance, resulting in rampant harassment and profiling of a group defined by its love for a music group.
    ICP sued the FBI in 2014, but after three appeals, the case hasn't made it to trial. So now the group is heading to D.C.
    "It's a publicity stunt," says ICP's Violent J (Joseph Bruce). "We want to say to everybody, 'we're not cool with that.'"

  • Dread Pirate Roberts||

    Before you get all choked up, do a search for "Juggalo baby funeral". Yes, that really happened.

  • Sevo||

    All choked up about the FBI declaring them a 'gang'? Is that what your meant?
    Or just 'you don't like Juggalos'
    Care to straighten that out?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Does anyone 'like' juggalos?

  • Sevo||

    The vid linked in the last article about the Juggalos had some rap by the duo and then a lot of comments by the Juggalos, most of which comments had to do with the failure of "science" to explain the lives of the Juggalos.
    Like Schermer's comment regarding Paris Hilton, there are things "science" can't explain, especially if you think "science" is a bunch of facts hidden in some book you've yet to see.
    But, it says right here:
    "Congress shall make no law..."
    So Congress shall make no law even as regards some folks who have a hard time dealing with the world as it is.

  • Trigger Warning||

    So Congress shall make no law regarding 49ers fans?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    There's an idea. A constitutional amendment that simply reads "Congress shall make no law".

    That would solve a LOT of problems.

  • RenaD||

    Bottom line:

    Where's the fucking cavalry? Where's fucking Eddie Vedder? Where's Neil Young? Where's fucking all these activists? Where are they?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Dude, juggalos get less respect that Rodney Dangerfield in one of his stand up punch lines.

  • Cloudbuster||

    I don't see any point in harassing the Juggalos, but good Lord, they're a bunch of filthy pigs. In 2016, the Gathering of the Juggalos was just down the road from me at Legend Valley in Ohio. They had their gathering there for two or three years. Last summer they left the place so filthy it was unbelievable. Trash was everywhere and blowing out onto State Route 13. It was disgusting. I wonder if that's why they're down in Oklahoma this year -- they eventually wear out their welcome at their venues due to their filth.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Then all of a sudden they technically made it illegal to be a Juggalo,

    Kind of contradicted by the fact that they keep gathering publically every year and they're not all arrested and hauled away for being Juggalos.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Hey now, you're talking about some kind of dream world.

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