Detroit horror rappers Joseph “Violent J” Bruce and Joey “Shaggy 2 Dope” Utsler who perform as Insane Clown Posse, aren’t letting a fight with the FBI stop their music career.
They’re working on a new album with Dark Lotus, a supergroup that includes members of Twiztid and Blaze Ya Dead Homie; they threw a benefit concert for a fan who lost his battle with a liver disease and plan more; and they’re otherwise trying to redefine themselves as more than just a freak show, The Detroit News reports.
And they’re not taking lightly the FBI’s branding of their fans, collectively known as Juggalos, as a “loosely organized hybrid gang” in its 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment report.
“The FBI ain’t just gonna come (dismiss) our legacy and say, ‘They’re just a gang.’ That’s our legacy you’re talking about,” Bruce told The Detroit News.
Bruce and Utsler are fighting the rap and have enlisted the ACLU of Michigan to help them.
Earlier this year, the ACLU and Insane Clown Posse teamed in a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of the Juggalos claiming fans’ First Amendment rights were violated when the U.S. government labeled an entire fan base a “hybrid” criminal gang.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the two Insane Clown Posse members and four Juggalos.
"The Juggalos are fighting for the basic American right to freely express who they are, to gather and share their appreciation of music, and to discuss issues that are important to them without fear of being unfairly targeted and harassed by police," Michael J. Steinberg, ACLU of Michigan legal director, said.
"Branding hundreds of thousands of music fans as gang members based on the acts of a few individuals defies logic and violates our most cherished of constitutional rights,” he said.
The FBI justifies the label. In its report, it said “transient, criminal Juggalo groups pose a threat to communities due to the potential for violence, drug use/sales, and their general destructive and violent nature.”
The government also said in the report that some Juggalos have been involved in felony assaults, thefts, robberies and drug sales.
“Us fighting it is more important than us winning it,” Bruce told the newspaper in an interview from his Wixom home. “If we don’t fight it, it shows we don’t (care) what happens to our fans, and that’s terrible. The victory here would be to get the names off the list, and then slowly let people know we have a legacy here.”
While fighting the FBI and a financial reversal of fortune – Insane Clown Posse recently cut the staff of its Farmington HIlls-based record company, Psychopathic Records, by two-thirds, and is still paying off $700,000 in debts from last year’s Gathering of the Juggalos – the duo are hopeful “some freshness comes out of” their struggles.
“We’re trying to turn over a fresh leaf, man,” Bruce said.