Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Insane Clown Posse Has No Shortage of Enemies

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Insane Clown Posse Has No Shortage of Enemies

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- Here's a distinction to strive for: the most despised musical act in America. Insane Clown Posse nominates itself.

Dumped by Disney and dissed by critics, this two-man rap outfit from Detroit is ignored by radio stations and can't get its videos near a TV screen. Yet its new album debuted at No. 4 in Billboard's album chart, and the group's concerts are crowded, particularly in the Midwest. The duo also performed last weekend at Woodstock '99.

It's the outlaw syndrome at work again.

"We're the most hated band in the world," said Violent J, the talkative clown.

J and his partner, Shaggy 2 Dope, sit in a Manhattan hotel room, wheezing slightly. It's a muggy day, and they're hanging out with buddies, but since a reporter is in the room, they hide behind warped circus masks.

It's the daytime version of the clown makeup they wear onstage, and for all public appearances.

The two men sit astride a rather macabre, growing empire. In addition to CDs, Insane Clown Posse is releasing its own, straight-to-video movie this summer and even selling its own dolls. That's plastic J with the ax in his hand.

They don't even pretend to be musicians, rapping and laughing over backup tracks provided by their producer, Mike E. Clark. Predictably, much of the instrumental backing sounds like a slightly sinister circus.

(Cultural reference point for those over 30: Think Kiss for a generation weaned on rap and much harder to shock than youngsters who grew up in the 1970s.)

Insane Clown Posse has some eclectic musical tastes, even making the unfashionable admission that they're Michael Jackson fans. Its music mixes in some rock inspired by bands they admire, like Korn. Yet the group's embrace of rap is another indication that hip-hop's aggression and do-it-yourself ethos are what really appeal to their generation. …

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