Are Insane Clown Posse The Banksy Of Hip Hop?

Insane Clown Posse
The Marvelous Missing Link (Lost)

From the opening intro of their umpteenth studio album, The Marvelous Missing Link: Lost, it is obvious that the ... uh, hmm, I just can't do this. I mean, how can any one artist make that many albums and still...?

I mean, is it my fault for expecting it NOT to...?

There's a sick sort of curiosity that masquerades as complete indifference 99.9995% of the time before catching you completely off-guard like a herpes flare-up, That's why it's good to check in with Insane Clown Posse every so often just to confirm that exactly nothing has changed in the five years since your last "flare-up" and that its okay to go right back to ignoring their existence.

After all, it doesn't take long to see that the music has always been secondary in this successful execution of "band as brand".  In that sense, Insane Clown Posse are the 5-Hour Energy Drink of the hip hop scene and, well, there's something to be said for that, I guess.

What is most amazing about this groundbreaking(?) hip horror duo is the humongous industry that they've managed to build around them. Their own in-house record label employs 30 people just to keep up with the demand for ICP merch. Those annoyed but curious that there might be accidental genius found within the duo's music because, hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day, will be disappointed.

This is a band for which the process of making an album is farmed out to others more trusted for their secrecy than for their musical talents. The results are completely, almost brilliantly underwhelming. It almost feels like an elaborate Banksy prank once you take in the annual Hallowicked concert in Detroit, or the larger-scale yearly camp-out known as The Gathering of the Juggalos.

How many rap acts, much less bands, could hold their own four-day camp-out and sell every last ticket, camping spot and hoodie?  Answer: One, ICP. If the band has succeeded at anything, it is at connecting with the "completely aimless misfit" demographic, which turns out to be much larger than expected, in a way no corporate entity has to date. This'll be their sixteenth year and now bands like Puddle Of Mudd are adding a sort of cockeyed mainstream legitimacy to what was once a very popular underground event.

Will it become the next Lollapalooza; a completely commercialized and wildly popular reboot of what was once a very edgy underground music festival?  Maybe it already has. The Gathering has no problem fetching $180 for a weekend ticket to their shindig and has yet to meet the campsite they haven't quickly outgrown. This is Lollapalooza as seen through fun house mirrors where everything is just slightly askew, or from a parallel universe where the pop culture references are all foreign to us.

That, above all else, is the charm of gathering in a field in the middle of Deliverance, Ohio with thousands and thousands of like-minded souls all losing their minds to music just barely good enough to keep you from meeting eyes with the stranger next to you and mouthing "This sucks".

And while the rest of us keep waiting and hoping for the next Nirvana to come along and clean the gutters, ICP stand atop their own thriving corner of the music industry, completely out of view of the mainstream, laughing their asses off.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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