On Monday we spoke with Insane Clown Posse frontman Violent J about his musical upbringing and today he discusses the fruits of those interests — the Gathering of the Juggalos. This weekend marks the 12th year for the festival, which has captured the nation’s interest and became the product of countless photo spreads and quasi-gonzo journalism pieces, both anthropological and satirical. Saturday Night Live parodied their over-long Youtube advertisement two years ago, several cable television comedies followed suit with Juggalo-centric episodes. The festival chugged along though and this year boasts a fascinating lineup: Psychopathic Records artists like Dark Lotus, esteemed mainstream rappers like Busta Rhymes and Ice Cube, less esteemed rappers like Hammer and Vanilla Ice, wrestlers, comedians and even Charlie Sheen. Today J talks to Hive about the rather unique booking decisions he’s forced to make in planning for the Gathering and the Juggalo love that he feels from fans there.
The Gathering’s hip-hop lineup in particular looks insane this year.
Hell yeah man and the hip hop lineup looks a lot like my CD case. [Laughs] Hammer?! I liked Hammer way before “U Can’t Touch This,” I liked the original Hammer with “Turn This Mutha Out” and “Let’s Get It Started,” that was my s***. I remember that video was so dope: “You ain’t hittin in New York?!” [Raps] “We come to turn this mutha out!” Even Vanilla Ice, we were bumping him way before “Ice Ice Baby” blew up. We were bumping him when he had his first record out on Ichiban. Shaggy had the vinyl and we used to bump that s*** up in his room. It felt like two summers before that s*** blew up.
Now what does someone like Hammer think of your audience? Does he know what to expect when he goes out to the Gathering?
As for Hammer we went and met him the other day. He came to Detroit and he played at DET Energy Center, he was with Morris Day and George Clinton and we went out there and said hi to him and we shot this little video. He was kind of worried because when we first announced that he was at the Gathering TMZ ran this story about how he’s gonna die [there]. I don’t think he’s gonna die because I think Juggalos support anybody who seems to be coming from an underdog place. If Hammer was on top right now he’d have a hard time at the Gathering but because nowadays he’s not and people make fun of him for going bankrupt or whatever, now he’ll do fine. If you’re really doing good and you’re all over the charts they’re gonna boo you but if you’re struggling in some way shape or form they’re gonna respect you.
Does that make booking difficult? You have to be like “No, he’s too popular?”
It’s weird, that’s exactly how it works. There’s some exceptions, some of the guys we have booked we’re just gonna have to see what happens. There’s some guys on there that aren’t coming from an underdog status. Busta Rhymes, for example. But I think Busta Rhymes has peoples respect because he’s so original. Nobody sounds like Busta, he invented his own everything. So I think people accept him even if he’s large and doing well and has hits on the radio, Juggalos still accept him because he blazed his own path so well. He’s not a corporate machine.
It seems like there’s been an uptick in Juggalo jokes in the media? Do you find that frustrating?
No that’s the s***, that’s awesome. People are taking a second look. We’ve been around so long they’re like “What is it about these guys?” I think it’s great to be parodied on Saturday Night Live. What makes it cool is it’s not really about ICP, it’s about the Juggalos and in my opinion there’s never been anything like Juggalos in the history of music. You could call the Deadheads, or Jimmy Buffett‘s Parrotheads but there’s nothing like Juggalos and I think they should be in the f***ing dictionary. I could go on and on and on about how great Juggalos are. Juggalos aren’t just fans of ICP, Juggalos support groups that have nothing to do with ICP. Juggalos love Tech N9ne, he’s not on Psychopathic [Records]. It has nothing to do with us. Juggalos are amazing, Juggalos are breathtaking. It’s good to see them get recognition whether people are making fun of them or not.
Everybody knows that one Juggalo is worth the equivalent of a hundred mainstream fans because one Juggalo will love and support you the way a hundred mainstream fans will. With mainstream fans the second something else is on the radio their attention is off you and on whatever else is on the radio. I’ll take Juggalo support over mainstream support any f***ing day. Mainstream support is so f***ing phony and fickle. It was mainstream fans that loved Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby,” it was mainstream fans that loved Hammer. That’s why they’re not there for them anymore. And who’s there in the end? Juggalos.