The Clowns are never down. For too long, at least.
There's simply never time when Insane Clown Posse is ever idle. Sometimes its drama,like the FBI's gang designation of the Farmington-based rap duo's Juggalo fan base or a recent beef with Twiztid, whose career ICP launched on its Psychopathic Records label. But more often it's just plain ol' musical work.
In 2015 ICP released two "The Marvelous Missing Link" albums. This year, in addition to plenty of touring, home and overseas, it's planning solo albums by both Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope as well as its annual Gathering of the Juggalo festival and a Sept. 16 Juggalo march in Washington, D.C.
This weekend the group plays two home town shows -- one featuring solo performances as a benefit for an ailing friend, the other the final American date for the Riddle Box Tour celebrating ICP's 1995 album. Clown time is far from over, and won't be for the foreseeable future...
ICP has been playing "Riddle Box" shows since 2005 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its acclaimed third solo album. But Violent J (real name Joe Bruce) says it's time to bring it to an end, at least in the U.S. "I think it's going to be the end for a long time," he says. "We're definitely not going to do it for many years, but I don't see us never doing the Riddle Box Tour again. We really are planning no more ('Riddle Box' shows), but who knows 10 years from now. We hope that there'll be other things to do all the time; We have a lot of releases, y'know?"
Shaggy 2 Dope's (Joe Utsler's) third album, "F*** The F*** Off, Motherf*****," will be the first of the two solo sets released, likely this spring. "I didn't want any involvement," says Violent J, who does guest on one track. "I wanted him to do it all him and write it all and produce it all. He sat with DJ Clay and produced every beat from track, and it's really cool. It's taking a long time, but he's wrapping it up now. It's very Shaggy 2 Dope."
Violent J, meanwhile, is in the nascent stages of working on his fourth solo release, "Karma Forest," and due out this fall. "I'm getting tracks from several different producers; I like to tell 'em what I want and see what they come up with," he says. "My album is going to be all positive. I want to make an uplifting, fresh, positive album. The Juggalos really gravitated to 'The Marvelous Missing Link: Found' album, which was about finding faith -- not just religion, but anything you have a passion for. I want to stay on that tip."
ICP is treating such 2017 as a special year. "Seventeen is kind of our lucky number," Violent J explains, citing "Thy Unveiling," the 17th track from 2002's "The Wraith: Shangri-La" album, as a key song in ICP history. "That's when we said that the Dark Carnival was God and all that. I sort of wish we would've referenced that differently; To a lot of people God means Christian or Catholic, and neither Shaggy or I are any specific religion. I just meant The Creator. We believe in a higher power, having faith, the power of positive thinking and things like that. But 17 is a special number in the Juggalo world, so 2017 kind of feels like our year."
On New Year's Day 2018, meanwhile, ICP plans to make an announcement about its next album and other future activities. "There's gonna be a lot of changes made in 2018," Violent J says. "All things will be changed in 2018 -- like major change, to pretty much everything. That's the only way I can put it right now."
Rude Boy Benefit featuring solo sets by Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, Friday, Feb. 24. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 advance, $25 day of show.
Insane Clown Posse Riddle Box Tour, Saturday, Feb. 25. Doors open at 6p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 day of show.
Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit.
Call 313-833-9700 or visit majesticdetroit.com.
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