Violent J Talks the Importance of Juggalos

Posted October 18

We’ve spoken to our share of Fan Army FTW nominees over here at the O Music Awards, but when it came to delving into the psyche of the Juggalo, we decided to go straight to the source. Yup, that’s right, we hit up the Insane Clown Posse in the flesh.

ICP‘s own Violent J gave us a call this week to chat about Juggalos, ICP and how 12 Juggalos are just as good as 12 Supreme Court Justices. Check out his reasoning below:

What did you think when you found out the Juggalos were nominated for an O Music Award for Fan Army FTW?

I think it’s cool, you know what I mean? I think it’s very cool. I think it’s a big difference — I don’t want to come off the wrong way, I’m just going to come off as honest as I can about everything. I think it’s very cool. Something like that is all cool — to be nominated for something like that is super cool. It’s all fun. It’s the sh*t. I got nothing bad to say about it.

But when we’re talking about Juggalos on a serious level, I don’t think there’s anything like Juggalos in the world today. I don’t think there’s ever been anything like Juggalos in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. There’s nothing like Juggalos.

It seems like the Juggalos are getting a ton of attention lately. Every music publication was covering the Gathering of the Juggalos. Why do you think that is?

My guess would be that when we first came out — or when people first saw us — it was so different, what we do, our music was so different that people just hated it. They wrote it off. We got a lot of bad reviews. A lot of bad things written about ICP and Juggalos. We’re still here, though, you know what I mean? I believe everybody still has a girlfriend who has a little brother who’s a Juggalo. Or has a nephew somewhere who’s a Juggalo. Everybody still sees Juggalos out there and it’s been 20 years. I think the world’s taking a second look.

The other thing I think is that we’ve been around so long that when we first came out all of the young Juggalos of the ’90s are now in positions of power. They’ve grown up. And the people who used to listen to us even though we weren’t on MTV, VH1 or anything like that — we weren’t on the radio stations anywhere — I think all those kids are now older and they’re in positions of power. Now they’re starting to give us props, you see what I’m saying? Because now they’re the ones that are writing for the magazines, they’re the ones that are doing everything. They’re the industry today. So I think that you’re hearing more about us now because it’s a new generation running everything today, and that generation comes from playing our sh*t back in the ’90s.

That’s what I believe. People are taking a second look at us because we’re still here, and they’re like, ‘Why are they still here?’ And plus people know what to expect now. When we first came out and let’s say a magazine reviewed our album — they don’t know what to think, they don’t know anything about us, they don’t know anything at all, and they review our album. They hear what we’re rapping about, and they hear us cursing, and they hear our carnival beats. And they just diss the hell out of it.

Now, people know what we’re about, they know what our music is like and they know what we’re like, so when they review us today, at least they go into it knowing what we’re like. It’s not a shock like it was, so maybe the reviews are coming out a little better now.

Not saying we’re getting great reviews all of a sudden for our music, but I know for a fact these really, really great articles have been coming out about us. A lot of these really big kind of, I guess you’d say, hipster-type magazines are out there writing about us in a positive way. Sometimes calling us geniuses and stuff. That’s just really cool.

It’s just really different for us to be around as long as we’ve been around and have this kind of success going in right now. It feels really cool. We’re not coasting off of some of some ’90s success. We’re making noise right now. We’re banging our drums and people are looking at us right now. And it’s really dope, man. We’re really, really happy. And to have the Juggalos nominated for this award, that’s just showing you that we’re here right now, man, we’re not something of yesterday; we’re something relevant today. That feels really, really, really, really good, man.

I know you had a song come out in the ’90s that defined what a Juggalo is. Has that definition changed at all?

No, it hasn’t changed. Here’s where I’m going to sound conceited, but I’m not talking about ICP, I’m talking about Juggalos here. There’s nothing like Juggalos out there. None of the fans that you’re talking about — Justin Biebers fans — we’re not knocking anybody’s fans out there, but there’s nothing like Juggalos. Juggalos aren’t fans to begin with — it’s a lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a movement. Juggalos gather on their own. They don’t just gather at concerts. They put out things on the Internet. They have their own gatherings where they don’t even know each other and they get together by the hundreds. Sometimes more. And they just barbecue and hang out. Total strangers, drawn together in an immediate bond. And that is amazing. Especially considering how violent the music is that brought them together. What’s like Juggalos out there? Nothing.

They’re not like hippies, they’re not like — I don’t know what to compare them to because they’re not like anything. I believe Juggalos are one of the coolest things to ever happen in the history of rock ‘n’ roll and as it’s happening of course most people are pointing a finger at it, laughing at it. But in reality, it’s going to go down in history just like the hippies and the people that went to Woodstock. Juggalos are just something really awesome as part of today’s world.

What would you say is the biggest misconception about Juggalos?

That they’re not important. That they’re fools, they’re idiots. I don’t understand why people think that one human being is any less important than another. Because what? Because they’re fat? Because they’re underdogs in some way?

The things they say about Juggalos: ‘They’re a bunch of fat losers or idiots.’ That’s the things they write about us, as cold as that sounds. That’s what we hear. You could take 12 Juggalos and stick them with 12 members of the Supreme Court Justice and not one of those groups is any more important than the other one.

Everybody’s important. We’re human beings. We’re all equal. It’s so f*cking nuts; it’s so f*cking ridiculous to me. It’s like when somebody reviews our album or they review our concert they say: ‘Ah, man, the concert — the Juggalos had fun, but this was a catastrophe. They didn’t play their own instruments. Their songs sucked. Everything sucked. The only people that had fun were the Juggalos.’ Well, that’s the only people meant to have fun! That’s what we’re doing for.

What about when somebody says, ‘Yeah, you guys move a lot of records, but only Juggalos buy that.’ What the f*ck does that mean? Only Juggalos? Juggalos are human beings buying it.They don’t count because they’re Juggalos? What does that mean? That they’re any lesser of a record-buying public because they’re a Juggalo? It just blows my mind.

This kid the other day — we do this meet and greet — and this kid came up to me and gave me a photo album. And he’s like, ‘I’ve been down for 10 years. I’ve been to 90 events. 90 different Juggalo events.’ And here’s a photo album he gave me to prove it. And he said that he’s been down since he was 17 and he’s 27 now and he’s married and he has kids. And he said, ‘I’ve met the coolest people and had the best times of my entire life at Juggalo events. And I met my wife at a Juggalo event. And I have my family to thank for this.’ And as I flipped through the photo album, he was growing up in these pictures. And we were growing up, too, we were changing as well.

After reading through this whole thing, to have someone turn around and say, ‘F*ck Juggalos’ or ‘Juggalos are stupid,’ it makes me want to put a bullet right in their head. Like seriously, this kid was thanking us for the best time of his life.

Now ICP has nothing to do with that. ICP just makes rap records, that’s all we do. We never fantasized that we’d have a Juggalo nation out there that loves us like this. It was never in the blueprints, it was never in the plans. We’re just as blown away by this as anybody else. We’re just a rap group. But the Juggalos are the story. The Juggalos are incredible. I’ve seen sh*t come and go — I’m 39 years old — and I’ve seen sh*t come and go, but Juggalos are here and they’re still here and they’re just as strong as they’ve ever been. One Juggalo is the strength of a hundred fans.

Now there’s not millions and millions of Juggalos. I don’t see us winning that award because there’s probably millions and millions of Lady Gaga’s fan and Justin Bieber’s fans who will be all over it to vote. But the Juggalos are so strong, though. Their voice is just as loud as the rest. They’re just more passionate than those other fans.

So when did you realize that Juggalos were a movement, as opposed to just fans?

I’ve known it from the beginning. I’ve known it because we’ve done things that didn’t work. And I know that you can let them down if you make a certain move. For example, we’d be doing a show somewhere and a radio station would call and they’d say, ‘Hey, we want to come down and support your show. You guys have the biggest show in town.’ This was in the mid-’90s. So we’d be like, ‘Hell, yeah.’ Then they’d pull the radio station trucks up to the venue and Juggalos would throw pop all over the radio station trucks and say, ‘Boo! Get the f*ck out of here.’ They didn’t want it to go the radio. Because when it goes to the radio it’s for everybody.

It’s like this, people that hate ICP, it’s pretty funny how much they hate us, because we’re not there. We’re not on the radio. You have to go find us. You don’t have to sit through out vulgar music while you’re waiting for Lady Gaga to come on. You don’t have to sit through our horrible videos while you’re waiting for Justin Bieber. We don’t have any video play, we don’t have any radio play — we don’t want any of that. You have to look for us to hear us. So why so many people want us to die or go away is mind-blowing. We’re not bothering anybody.

Why do you think people go out of their way to hate on you? What do you think their reasoning is?

I think their reasoning is blowing their minds.

By Brenna Ehrlich