Insane Clown Posse Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais

The general public loves using long-running Detroit hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse and their fans, better known as Juggalos, as avatars for just about anything convenient to its cause. After Trump narrowly won Michigan, a battleground state, in the 2016 election, I noticed handfuls of Twitter users blaming Juggalos (who, generally speaking, are white and blue-collar) when in fact white folks from all walks of life played a part in securing the state’s electoral votes for that orange buffoon. In September, when Trump superfans decided to hold a last-minute “Mother of All Rallies” on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on the same day the Lincoln Memorial hosted the Juggalo March on Washington in protest of the FBI’s 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, in which ICP fans were called a “hybrid gang,” well, leftists got down with the clown. And don’t forget the streams of journalists who’ve gawked at the spectacle of Juggalo culture: the worst of their efforts are narcissistic stabs at literary relevance disguised as pseudosociological studies (hello, Nathan Rabin), the better ones self-aware in their attempts to capture the tribe’s ludicrousness (as the Ringer deftly noted). Most reports of the Juggalo March had one central thesis, which was “Look at these goobers.” When it comes to capturing Juggalo culture, it’s best to go straight to the source: ICP’s music. Tonight they’ll perform their cultural high-water mark, 1997’s The Great Milenko, their fourth studio album, significant for having been pulled from stores by Disney’s Hollywood Records within 24 hours of its release—and for being their first release to go platinum (you know what they say about bad press). Musically, the album helped bridge the gap between rap and heavy rock just as nu-metal was turning into a phenomenon (with a little assistance from guests such as the Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones on “Piggy Pie” and Slash on “Hall of Illusions”), and lyrically found the band perfecting their mix of silly horrorcore, anti-establishment ethos, and ripe juvenile “humor.” ICP also saw power in being misunderstood misfits, and they laid it out by sketching out caricatures of their fans on “What is a Juggalo?” Sure, some ICP fans fit some trashy stereotypes, but most Juggalos are more self-aware than people give them credit for—and because of that quality, they get the last laugh.   v