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Horror Rappers Insane Clown Posse Reinventing Themselves

The duo don’t want the FBI, which has branded the Juggalos, their fans, “a loosely organized gang,” to have the last word on their legacy. They’ve teamed with ACLU Michigan in a First Amendment lawsuit.

Insane Clown Posse performs “Miracles” in a video on YouTube posted by their Farmington Hills record company, Psychopathic Records. (Screenshot: Psychopathic Records video)
Insane Clown Posse performs “Miracles” in a video on YouTube posted by their Farmington Hills record company, Psychopathic Records. (Screenshot: Psychopathic Records video)

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.

Read the full story on The Detroit News. >>>

grama April 22, 2014 at 07:26 AM
Patch just isn't the same anymore and I don't enjoy it like I used to.
trisha rayer April 23, 2014 at 03:22 PM
When did the "Dexter Patch" become the "Greater Detroit Area Patch". I loved all the articles about my home town. I don't even want to subscribe anymore. The articles are not relevant to my town. If I want the doom and gloom, I will turn on the TV and watch the Detroit news stations.
Peggy April 23, 2014 at 07:21 PM
This is the first story from the patch I have read in a while because it is no longer appealing to me now I just realized why not very local. With that said this band is ABOSOLLUTLEY right to file a suite to protect their name and fans. I'm not even close to being one but think about how STUPID the reasons are to put all these people in the same group and on a "gang list" REALLY?. That is absurd!!! what if a lot of seniors were arrested when younger for something should that make ALL SENIORS on a "gang list"?
Diane Kansier April 25, 2014 at 10:25 AM
I used to enjoy reading the Patch. But lately all of the news is just what we hear on the TV, read in the papers . . . just more news sensationalism. Where is the news about our community and stories letting us know what is going on in our wonderful city? It's very sad that in today's world with all of the news hype and unpleasant stories, that our community Patch can't brighten a person's day with news relevant to our city and surrounding communities. People won't be thrilled about road closings and detours but it sure would be nice to know what, where and when before it happens. Bring the patch back to it's original purpose to inform the community, to share stories and support our city . . . leave the hype and sensationalism to the big guys. They don't need our help in 'getting the word out'!
Bryce April 26, 2014 at 09:54 PM
I agree with much of the sentiment regarding the new vs. old Patch. However, would you folks be willing to pay, say 5 dollars a week to have the old Patch back? Paying for local coverage and the machinery to put it all together costs money. It has to be paid for. Have you thought about starting to contribute story's to your local Patch? If more people started doing that, It could become more local again.

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