A brief history of rappers whoring themselves out to the Insane Clown Posse
I appreciate that it’s gauche to knock the hustle, and that complaining about conspicuous capitalistic consumption in rap in 2010 is solely for white guys with dreadlocks and Guardian interns who’ve been allowed to write their first Comment Is Free piece, but surely I’m not alone in feeling that there’s something ever-so-slightly degrading about the willingness of rappers to phone in 16 bars on any track for any artiste for the right price. For instance, do you feel that Ghostface has a string of happy memories about the glory days of his work with Dane Bowers, Eamon and totally forgotten proto-The-Saturdays-except-without-the-hot-one The 411? No, of course not. Similarly, as a result of my email address being on some secret list of “low-end rap bloggers you can hassle with endless ‘promo blasts’ about your latest go-nowhere project”, every five or six days I get an email from some Brit rapper who has blown his student loan, InjuryLawyers4U.com payout or Perry Barr trifecta winnings on paying ten stacks for a completely unwanted verse that Busta or Weezy had at the bottom of their C-drive that they didn’t want to use on a song that anyone would actually hear.
Regardless of all of this, I admire the “kids in a sweetshop” approach to their wealth that Insane Clown Posse have taken to their entire career. For a band who have been a non-stop punchline for pretty much every single human being with a BMI of under 38 since 1999, they’ve been more than willing to blow the money those fatteys give them on their own passions. So they set up a professional wrestling federation solely so they could hang out with Kevin Nash and Abdullah the Butcher. Their Gathering of the Juggalos festivals lead to line-ups where dumb rap-rock nightmares like Too $hort and Drowning Pool sharing a stage becomes true. And they’ve always been more than willing to throw a whole heap of cash at your favourite rappers in order for them to perform an utterly perfunctory duet. Here’s a brief rundown of the majority of them, excluding the joints they did with Esham because a) there’s about 30 of them b) I turn 30 in a few years, I am not going to waste an entire fucking evening listening to songs by Esham, regardless of the potential lulz.
Insane Clown Posse ft Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Bitches
This song was recorded back in 1998, and from listening to it, you’d have to countenance that it was a miracle that ODB managed to live for another six years. He sounds like the last man standing from a bender on which Richard Pryor and Alex Higgins have both thrown their hands in the air and gone “You know what? This is too hardcore for me, I’m back to the hotel room”. Hilariously, despite the fact that ODB’s contribution to this has more in common with the average raging derelict on that street with the Gregg’s by Brixton Tube Station than it does with rap music as we currently understand it, ICP paid him 30 stacks up front for it, and were forced to turn it into a… well, I suppose technically it is “a song”. The Clowns, always happy to disprove the stereotypes of themselves, mention both “genital warts” and “pickle buffing” during their bars, while ODB promises to kill a woman named “Belinda”, which doesn’t strike me as the most common of forenames for BK hoodrats, and instead leaves me to believe he’d recently been screwed out of a guest spot on 2point4 Children.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard ft Insane Clown Posse – Dirty & Stinkin
It’s funny that we got no end of ODB material released while he was in prison, and now dude’s 6 feet under they can’t find themselves to get around to finally dropping “A Son Unique”. While he was doing his bids, enterprising record label bosses were more than happy to help spread his word to the people by ganking whatever old-ass verses they could find in their studios and slapping on guest verses from whoever was to hand. “Dirty and Stinkin’” is pretty clearly a demo version of “Recognize” from “Nigga Please”, except Chris Rock’s intro and the Neptunes’ production has been replaced by… two fat white guys in clown make-up. Shaggy 2 Dope claims to be “turning heads like an 8-foot tropical mud chicken”. It’s always nice when rappers rhyme about something everyone can relate to.
Three 6 Mafia ft Insane Clown Posse – Just Another Crazy Click
If you ever caught their post-Osar success reality show “Adventures In Hollywood”, you’ll be aware of the fact that Three 6 Mafia and the concept of dignity aren’t in each other’s Facebook networks. Still, slashing in Jennifer Love Hewitt’s back garden and asking Ashton Kutcher for dating advice are one thing, actively phoning Insane Clown Posse up and going “Hey, we should work together, it’d increase both of our fanbases” is another. The problem with a lot of this stuff is it makes you pause and realise that it’s as sure as gangsta rap bleeds into horrorcore, so horrorcore is merely a step away from rapcore. And then you’re within walking distance of nerdcore,and you have to consider that every time you download Kokane rarities, you’re merely a couple of bad life decisions away from listening to a man rhyme about the strength of his wireless connection and his Captain Janeaway fan fiction. Depressing. Anyway, if you cut ICP about of this song it becomes a pretty serviceable turn-of-the-millennium T6M joint, so get the Audacity out.
Insane Clown Posse ft Snoop Dogg – The Shaggy Show
Well…. technically it’s better than that one “beyond the grave” duet Snoop did with Johnny Cash I suppose…. It’s basically an extended skit, and by “extended” I mean “hideously distended beyond all human recognition”. Six minutes for a talk show skit, which, in fairness, is probably the only rap track ever to have practical advice on what to do in case of a friend or co-worker having a panic attack. Snoop sadly doesn’t get involved in that part of the track, which is a shame, as if he’s already conquered the SATNAV game, surely the next stop is an NHS Direct takeover?
Insane Clown Posse ft Mack 10 – Nobody Move
Yeah, the same sample as the Eazy joint. This is probably the most heartwarming of all the songs here, as rather than taking the money and run, Mack 10 has clearly got his Google on, found out what it is those crazy ICP fans are all about, and peppered his verse with references to “Faygo”, “jugalettes”, and “chicken hunts”. Why, it’s almost as if he has nothing better to do than sit around the house all day, waiting for Nate Dogg to stop slowly dying so that a 213 album can become a viable venture again.
Vanilla Ice ft Insane Clown Posse – Insane Killas
I thought that ICP did a track with Above the Law, but it turns out that it was just a cover of “Murder Rap” done in a “worst excesses of Woodstock 99-era sportz metal” style. So instead we end on this from the eleventh or twelfth attempt by Robert Van Winkle on a “serious” comeback, from his “Bi-Polar” album. It’s tempting to ignore the “Natural Born Killa as appearing on a Playstation 1 dance rhythm game” track here and try and ponder what ICP actually mean. They’re a group that’s never knowingly recorded a good song, but they’re out there getting paid. There’s probably a lesson for most rappers in their ICP strategy as well: while rap legends can’t fill 500 capacity crowds in the UK, two guys who’ve pretty much avoided a single lengthy write-up in any musical publication are getting 20,000 people to come to a four-day festival based solely around the concept of them performing. While there’s rappers out there on top 10 singles who are just waiting until their career hits the skids so they can do the reality TV circuit and start earning money for the first time in their lives, two adult males who dress as clowns and sing songs about chickens and strangling women have really, really comfortable lives despite just having one Billboard top 100 hit in 20 years. I mean, there’s probably a message in all of this, I just have absolutely no idea what it is. All I know is that it’s funny to laugh at the Insane Clown Posse. Much Mother Fucking Clown Love, as the kids say.
Words by Dom Grande