On Tuesday night, comedian Jim Jefferies welcomed perhaps the most controversial pair of musicians in the modern music world as his guests on his weekly comedic news round-up, The Jim Jefferies Show: Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, the two Detroit MCs that collectively comprise the Insane Clown Posse. Jefferies’ on-air introduction of his two guests is all you need to understand the ever-contentious identity of ICP and their loyal fans, known as “Juggalos”: “My next guests are currently on tour across North America. They also just held a rally in Washington, D.C. protesting their fans’ official classificatn as a gang by the FBI.”
As the two explain, “Our fans have been labeled as a gang, officially, by the FBI…They put out a list, it’s official.” However, the two rappers and their supporters have been taking steps to change the perception of the fanbase including, recently, their official Juggalo March on Washington.
When asked why they, in particular, get this negative attention Violent J speculates, “I think we’re presumed to be easy targets, first of all. There’s a lot of jokes, too. We get the humor of what we do, of outside people looking in.”
Jefferies humorously guesses that maybe all the negative attention is just about their name, and offers a few suggestions for a new one, like “The Reasonable Clown Posse,” “The Mentally Stable Clown Posse,” or, “because ‘posse’ does kinda sound like a gang, just be something fun like ‘the Clowns.'”
Violent J continues, “If you’ve got six, eight kids in a rural neighborhood all hanging out, just having a barbecue, wearing this shirt [motions to ICP logo on his chain], they’re hanging out together…technically, the police force in the town can call that a gang, and they can get federal funding to combat that gang. And there’s Juggalos in every small town, all across America.”
Of course, Insane Clown Posse’s entire thematic and visual aesthetic is about shocking people. But that right to say and do shocking things (and like whatever music you want) so long as it’s not harming anyone. Even in the clip that Jefferies shows of the two speaking at the Juggalo March on Washington, they are intentionally shocking in their choice of language. But the right to such action is at the crux of a free speech debate that is all too important in today’s U.S.A.
“It’s not about us. It’s not about our music. It’s not about the people who like our music. It’s about discrimination…flat-out, blatant discrimination,” explains Violent J, “And we’re very happy with the outcome. A lot of people have taken our side on this, it is straight up bullshit. You can’t deny it. It’s not about us or our music, it’s about classifying what could be millions of people as a gang, which is as outrageous as it sounds…”
You can watch the full Insane Clown Posse interview on The Jim Jefferies Show below, via Comedy Central: