Every Insane Clown Posse LP That Has Come Out Since I’ve Been Down Has Mirrored My Life Exactly

I first heard ICP in 1999 when a friend of mine brought Amazing Jeckel Brothers to school. We were in the 8th grade and AJB was still pretty new, so he would bring the shit to school to listen to on a Discman. Remember the Discman?? Anyway, he and our other homie were talking about it, so I wanted in and he played me “Mad Professor”.

What’s funny about this is that I IMMEDIATELY felt the Juggalo magic. I didn’t even know the word Juggalo. I didn’t know shit about what ICP was all about, or the Dark Carnival, or Psychopathic Records, or none of that. And yet I still felt it, which is how I know to this day that it’s real. It’s not like someone told me, “Hey there’s some magic in this shit,” and then I heard it and made myself feel it. Nah. I didn’t even know there was anything to feel, but it was still so real.

So from that instant, I was a Juggalo. Before I even heard the word “Juggalo,” I was a Juggalo. And then when I did hear it, I started spelling it “jugalow,” but I digress. Hey, nobody’s born with ALL the knowledge!

The truly weird thing is how every ICP LP that has come out since then has reflected exactly what was going on in my life at the time. Bizzar/Bizaar, The Wraith: Shangri-La, Hell’s Pit, The Tempest, Bang! Pow! Boom!, The Mighty Death Pop!, The Marvelous Missing Link {Lost}, and The Marvelous Missing Link {Found}. Crazy, right? Let’s break it down, y’all!

Bizzar Bizaar era (2000 – 2002)

We need to start slowly here, because Bizzar and Bizaar don’t have a very clear concept to them. But if I had to say that BB is about anything, it’s about pulling together as many Juggalos as possible before the 6th Joker’s Card. For me, this is exactly what happened.

When I came into the Juggalo family during the Jeckel Brothers era, some of my other friends were getting into it too. Not only that, but some of my homies were already Juggalos and I didn’t even know it! During the Bizzar Bizaar era, we just started high school and our Juggalo crew became super tight. We were all about that shit all day and night; every day after school (or during school if we cut) we’d bump Juggalo shit, smoke weed, and play video games. Typical high school kid shit. Those days were the shit. That’s what Bizzar Bizaar was: a Juggalo party where new Juggalos and seasoned Juggalos could kick it and bond over the wicked shit. It wasn’t about anything incredibly profound, it was just about enjoying being a Juggalo, and I damn sure did.

The Wraith: Shangri-La era (2002- 2004)

This was the second half of my high school life, and it was DOPE. I still look back on it as being the greatest extended period of my life. My Juggalo crew was getting tighter than ever, and I was reconnecting with old childhood friends as well. Lifelong friendships were made and every day there was something to get into.

Years before, in middle school, I was the very definition of a scrub. I had very few friends, and the whole school was going through puberty and just going insane. You know how 14 year olds are. It’s a Goddamn jungle! But high school was Shangri-La to the fullest. It was also the era that I would be graduating from high school. The end of a chapter, much like the Shangri-La album itself. Good times. Great times.

Hell’s Pit era (2004 – 2007)

Fuck me. The beginning of college. I thought college was gonna be super fresh. Fuck that. College SUCKED, and especially the first few years. I moved about 200 miles away to go to the University Of Oklahoma, and even though it wasn’t too far away from home, it felt like a fucking island. Some of those high school friends of mine also went there, so that was good, but it wasn’t the same. We got to kick it a lot, but they were doing their own shit and living their college lives the way most people do. I was sleeping all day and barely going to class, because I hated my life. Real talk. I wanted to quit that shit right from the rip. My super fun high school times didn’t prepare me at all for the real-er world of college, and my grades sucked. I had no interest in making new friends or really doing much of anything except sleep and download music.

I did make friends with a chick, and that seemed pretty fresh, until it wasn’t. I was such a scrub that I didn’t know how the fuck to talk to girls, so I ended up just making myself more miserable over her. And then the worst part of all happened: a friend of mine died in a car crash. THAT SUCKED. That was the first person I ever knew who died. We weren’t super close, but she was the only “popular” kid in middle school who was nice to me when everyone else was a dickhead. I never forgot about that, and then boom. Dead. Fuck. Devastating. I felt like I was in Hell’s Pit every Goddamn day. Truly alone

The Tempest era (2007 – 2009)

During The Tempest era, I managed to luck into actually getting a super hot (and awesome, though I didn’t appreciate it at the time) girlfriend. One of my close high school friends had transferred to OU and he and I got an apartment together, so that was fun. I started drinking a lot, so that was also fun (and stupid). I finally lost my virginity, so you know that was fun! Yes I was 22 and in college, fuck it. Scrub life! Anyway, things had stabled off a little in my life, and I was able to keep pushing through as long as I focused on the goal: graduating college. That shit was hard as fuck, y’all. But I summoned the strength by my motivation to start a life with my girlfriend. The plan was to graduate college, move back to my hometown with my girlfriend, start working, and get married. That’s what you do, right? That was the track.

My whole life, I always knew what was next. The next grade. The next school. Ever since I was a young-ass kid, I always wanted to graduate from OU. But now the stakes were high; my girlfriend was in a less-than-ideal living situation with her parents and siblings, so I felt like I was supposed to get a good job and save the day. But as I got closer and closer to graduating, I realized I was running out of track. I know I’m supposed to graduate, but what the fuck am I supposed to do after that? How do I get a job? How do I get a place to live? How do I do anything? I’m a fuckin 23 year old kid, I don’t know SHIT! How do I use the Goddamn stove? And I was trying to play Superman to this girl and her little sisters? I don’t know what he fuck I’m doing!

This is EXACTLY what The Tempest is about. That’s the metaphor of The Tempest. For ICP’s whole career, they were on a track. They always knew what was next. The next Joker’s Card. And then when they finished, they didn’t know what the fuck to do next. Think about what The Tempest is: The Tempest is the largest, fastest, steepest, deepest, tallest, all-this-and-more roller coaster. It’s life. But when it runs out of track, it crashes and everyone dies. It is my belief that this is what ICP was worried about with their career at the time. What happens if all the Juggalos lose interest after the Joker’s Cards? Without any more track, ICP could’ve crashed and died. That’s how I felt as I approached the end of college. There’s no more track. If I fuck this up, we could all crash and die.

Bang! Pow! Boom! era (2009 – 2012)

Wouldn’t you know it, I actually graduated college and nobody died. I did move back to my hometown, but my girlfriend of 2.5 years “decided” at the last second that she didn’t want to move with me. Actually, her mom decided that, but the relationship had gone beyond toxic at that point. I had to break up with her (over Yahoo! Instant Messenger, by the way. I know, I’m an upstanding guy) and start the next phase of life. I started my career with a good entry level job, and rented a room in a house with two friends. Shit, life after college wasn’t so fuckin scary after all!

This is the Bang! Pow! Boom! era. New beginnings. Clean slates. That’s literally what B!P!B! is, in that it’s the start of a new set of Joker’s Cards, but it’s also what the album is about. When the lines to the Carnival get too long, Bang! Pow! Boom! clears out all the garbage and starts over. That’s what happened in my life. I cleared out the garbage and started on a new era. New job. New place to live. New girlfriend. I even experienced my first Gathering! Fresh.

The Mighty Death Pop! era (2012 – 2015)

Everything was going great at this point and I was steadily getting promotions at my job. Things were going strong with my new relationship, but unfortunately, I knew that that shit was just a ticking time bomb. I never had the marriage feelings for her that I had with my last girlfriend, so I knew it couldn’t last forever. After 1.5 years of dating, I felt that I had to either pull the trigger on marriage or break it off. So we broke it off. The real kick in the ass is that she was my coworker, so I had to see her every fucking day at work. It was a Goddamn nightmare. Even though the break up was mutual, I still hated seeing her every day. I know it doesn’t logically make sense, but we all know there is no logic when it comes to romantic relationships. I was drinking more and more. And more. And more and more and more. Every day was a hurdle just to get through the work day so I could get home and drink. And then tragedy.

The Death Pop. My dad died of a heart attack. What the fuck? See, I think some of you are thinking, “These are all self fulfilling prophesies. You only made a connection because you’re looking for one.” Wrong. Do you think I planned for my dad to suddenly die during the Death Pop era? I didn’t even notice all these parallels UNTIL that happened. I couldn’t deny the similarity, so then I realized, “Hey, wait a minute. This has been going on MY ENTIRE JUGGALO LIFE.” I didn’t make any of this shit come true, it just happened.

How do you think I handled my dad’s death? If you said, “super healthily,” then you haven’t been paying attention. My drinking problem kicked into high gear. Coming into work drunk. Killing fifths of 100 proof vodka every weekend. Drinking to black out. Drinking until throwing up, and then drinking more. The combination of seeing my fucking ex-girlfriend at work every day and then my dad dying unexpectedly was too much. I was getting too fast and loose with my life. Passing out in my car while driving. Bringing booze to work just to make it through the day. And then MY LIFE got The Death Pop; I passed out at work. I think. To be honest, I really don’t know. I know that I was at work and then woke up in a hospital. I called my job the next day and yeah, I was fired. I was getting too crazy, and then lost everything in the blink of an eye. Pop.

After that, I quit drinking. I was unemployed for three months, and then I finally got another job. It was a significant pay cut and the conditions sucked, but I was racking up a lot of credit card debt from unemployment. I needed to rebuild, and beggars can’t be choosers. I worked my ass off for months at my new job while the company went through transition after transition. It was impossible to move up the ladder; I would be halfway into trying to prove myself to one manager, and then another manager would take his/her place. I was treading water, getting nowhere. I was still accruing debt because I wasn’t getting enough hours, but I didn’t have a lot of choices. I didn’t have a girlfriend or anybody else relying on me, so it was a good time to reflect on what I really wanted out of life. What are my goals? Am I going in the right direction? Do I even WANT another girlfriend right now after my two huge relationship failures? Without booze, I had to actually think about it. If I had to describe this period of my life in one word, it would be “lost”.

The Marvelous Missing Link {Lost} era (April 2015 – July 2015)

{Lost} came out when I was 10 months into my job. 10 months of getting nowhere. There was a pattern of things happening at work that made me think, “I’m not sure that this job is the permanent place for me.” But wait! I knew that The Marvelous Missing Link {Lost} was soon to come out, and I thought, “That will tell me what to do!” After all, by now I had noticed that all the other ICP LP’s were reflecting my life, so I thought {Lost} might have some guidance. Then it dropped.

“Oh fuck,” I thought. “This doesn’t tell me shit!” I screamed in my head! Sure, it was a lot of songs about feeling lost, but what the fuck do I do about it? I latched on to the only clue I could find: A line Shaggy spits in the title track, “Lost”.

“Find your freedom, find your link. To find it, all you gotta do is think.”

Think. Think. All I gotta do is think. Ok. Hmm.

Believe me, ninjas, when I say I thought about that shit HARD for months. For hours each day, every day, I thought. What am I supposed to do with my life? What have I done with my life already? What parts of my life do I cherish? What parts of my life do I hate? What could I have done differently? What did I do right? Who do I trust? Who don’t I trust? What are my options? What aren’t my options?

I thought and I thought and I thought, and I came up with nothing. {Found} was set to drop at that year’s Gathering, but I had no intention of going. I had no money. I had been to two prior Gatherings, but I didn’t have anybody to go with this year. I had never driven that far out (about 18 hours) by myself. I had never gone camping by myself. I would probably just forget something and fuck it up anyway, I thought. It never even crossed my mind to go. Besides, clearly the streak ends here, I thought, because there’s no way that {Found} was going to make my life do a complete 180. I thought, “Well, I guess The Marvelous Missing Link era is about being either lost OR found, and I’m destined to be lost. Maybe the 4th Joker’s Card of this deck will have an answer, because this one has nothing for me.”

The Marvelous Missing Link {Found} era (July 2015 – present)

With 4 days to go until the Gathering, I was doing more of my thinking when I finally had a productive thought. “Fuck it, I’m going to the Gathering.” I don’t know why. Something compelled me to go, and it was so strong that I could not resist. How the fuck was I gonna pull this off on such short notice? I wrote up a long document detailing every single one of my duties at work, so that I could pass it on to a coworker and they could fill in for me. I used my credit card to buy all the supplies I needed, as well as my GOTJ ticket and car pass. I was gonna go by myself. Trying to get some answers from {Found} was NOT part of the equation. I wanted to hear the album, sure, but I had no hopes of it revealing any kind of great truths to me. I just wanted to Gather.

This Gathering. Holy fuck. This Gathering, y’all. I could write an entire blog about how the 2015 Gathering Of The Juggalos changed my life. And eventually, I will. This Gathering changed the way I think about EVERYTHING. I started to feel it as I was driving into the camp grounds. The line outside was so long that I was worried I was going to miss Big Hoodoo, but I got in just as he started performing. I could hear him as I looked for a place to camp. At that moment, I started to feel like everything was gonna be ok. The Dark Carnival was like, “I got you, bro.”

After I set up my tent, I took my lawn chair over to the main stage and watched the Kottonmouth Kings perform. This was the moment that I feel like the switch was fully flipped. The preparation was behind me. The 18 hour drive was behind me. Finding a campsite and setting up my tent was behind me. Now I was just enjoying some bomb ass music from one of my favorite bands, and I had the whole Gathering ahead of me. As I sat there, I had the most powerful feeling of my life. I thought, “This is EXACTLY where I’m supposed to be at this exact time.” It justified 30 years of life. Every little thing that ever happened to me, good or bad, was pushing me one step closer to being right there, right then. That is some serious shit.

I bought {Found} on day 1, and would sneak a few tracks in my car every time I had about 20 minutes to spare. The opening track, “Found,” is still one of my favorite tracks from the entire 2nd Deck era. Right away, I thought, “This one track alone blows anything on {Lost} out of the water.” It moved me.

That was the greatest four days of my life. I had set up camp in a random spot, and ended up making some SUPER down by law homies. I love those guys/gals to this day, and I just met them by dumb luck. It didn’t matter that I went to the GOTJ by myself, because I was kicking it with these ninjas every spare chance I had. It was DOPE. And the bands were DOPE. Some of my favorites of all time. Rittz. Jarren Benton. Hopsin. Tech N9ne. Kottonmouth Kings. Potluck. Madchild. Not to mention the whole Psychopathic/MNE family. Perfect. I loved it. I loved every second of the entire four days. It was transcendent. I realized, “I can do anything. Anyone can do anything. I wasn’t even going to go to this because I thought I couldn’t, but I did. All it took was to do it. I can make anything happen if I just do it.” That was the missing link of my life. That is what I needed to know. I did NOT expect to get that at that Gathering. I found it. All I had to do was think.

Piece by piece, I listened to the whole album privately in my car, with intense focus. After that, I just let it play on a loop in my car with the volume up and the doors open. We started to pick and choose our favorite tracks. That one’s fresh. That one’s weak. This one has a dope verse. This one has a dope hook. That one has a corny beat. You know, like you do with any album. But it wasn’t until the long drive home that I got to listen to it from start to finish with no breaks. When I hit “Time,” I really started to reflect on the last four days. It was an emotional thing. I got it. I got what The Marvelous Missing Link era was trying to tell me. The link was complete. I looked into the eye of the Dark Carnival and it looked at me back. It was a beautiful thing.

Fearless Fred Fury era (2018, probably)

I don’t know what to expect from the Fearless Fred Fury era, but I have every reason to believe that it will make sense when it happens. Am I going to have to overcome some great fear soon? I really don’t know. It could be something that I don’t expect AT ALL. But whatever it is, I know I’ll get through it. I haven’t been steered wrong yet. Whoop whoop.

One thought on “Every Insane Clown Posse LP That Has Come Out Since I’ve Been Down Has Mirrored My Life Exactly

  1. I feel ya brother. I had a similar experience with AJB, although I was 19 at the time. A friend had borrowed the cd from someone and brought it to my apartment. He only played Bitches, Shaggy Show and all the skits. It was funny, but I wanted to hear more. I lived alone and worked a lot, so I could blow my paychecks on whatever I wanted. Usually it was cds. I was mostly into punk and bands like Korn and Tool. I couldn’t stop thinking about ICP though. I didn’t know anything about them, but I was hooked after hearing a few songs once. My local Fred Meyer had a great music selection, so I bought AJB. That was it. I was a juggalo. Within a year I had most of the major albums up to that point, plus a few t shirts, vhs tapes and comics.
    The era of Shangri-La was the beginning of a new life for me. I met and married my best friend and soul mate, we started a family.
    During Hell’s Pit, I was working a shitty restaurant management job and not spending enough time at home. It was kind of a dark period. That restaurant closed in January 2008. I spent the next year or so learning a new job and meeting new people, but still working too much.
    By mid 2009, I had settled in to my job and was finally able to start normalizing my schedule and life. That’s when I really started to feel successful and confident as a father, and a man. That’s when Bang Pow Boom came out.
    During the Mighty Death Pop era, I was kind of drifting away from the juggalo stuff. I didn’t know if it was ICP or me, but I just wasn’t really feeling the way I used to about it.
    Missing Link (Lost) came and went. I bought it, liked most of it, but still just wasn’t very excited about it.
    Then came Found. That album felt good. It was like a re-affirmation (if that’s a thing). A new job for me again. By 2017, I was excited and proud to be a juggalo again.
    I guess our stories aren’t really anything alike, but I always associate past events by what ICP album was out at the time.
    BTW, I dig your website. I’ve been listening to your podcast for about a year. I appreciate you interpretations and I usually agree. You should start fucking with instagram.
    Thanks. MCL


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s