Insane Clown Posse, one of the most controversial hip-hop duos of all-time, are back with the release of their brand new full-length album, Fearless Fred Fury, which will drop on February 15th.
Fearless Fred Fury took over two years to create, and serves as the duo’s first album since 2015’s The Marvelous Missing Link. Raw, terrifying, and uncompromising, Fearless Fred Fury is a testament to the creativity and musical prowess that have made Insane Clown Posse pop-culture icons.
In our new interview with ICP member Violent J, we discuss the making of Fearless Fred Fury, what fans can expect at this year’s Juggalo Weekend, who his dream opponent would be in a WWE match, and more!
I wanted to ask about your new record, Fearless Fred Fury. How did the title come about?
I don’t know…it came to me. Pretty much all the Jokers Card albums just sort of appear. And when I hear it, I know that’s it. There’s wasn’t any brainstorming going on or anything like that. It just presented itself. Sort of like, “you got mail”! You know what I’m saying? (laughs)
With this record, you guys were able to really take your time and craft the songs that you wanted to make. Were you able to create a record that reflects your vision of what you wanted this album to be?
I think so. When you’ve put out as many albums as we have, I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter what you do, you’re going to have songs on there that aren’t as good as other songs, even if you take years and you keep putting the best songs of your whole batch on there. Because when they stand next to other songs, there are going to be songs that are better than others. There’s just no avoiding it.
I’m not saying that we have a record full of filler, because that’s definitely not the case! But I know we’ve recorded probably four albums worth of music. Wetook the best stuff out of all of it and put it on the main album. And there’s still stuff that stands taller than other songs. Even Michael Jackson’s Thriller has a couple of songs on there that suck! You know what I’m saying? (laughs)
In terms of going into creating a new album, what’s your general mindset? Do you usually create albums for yourself? Do you create songs for your fans, or a bit of both?
Anything we do that’s not a Joker’s Card, I would say, a lot of times we create albums for ourselves. But when it’s a Joker’s Card album, we create it to match the vision and the idea we have. We’ve been really fortunate because that tactic sort of appeals to the people that follow our music.
We don’t ever really sculpt songs to what we think Juggalos are going to want to hear, because we’ve been fortunate enough to have been dead on when we do Joker’s Cards. At least it feels like it during that time.
In terms of the songs on this record, what kind of themes or ideas did you focus on this time around?
Well, this record is about fighting back. It’s about taking a stand for yourself. I guess it it’s about fighting back in the natural sense of what fighting back means. Like if somebody’s kicking your ass and you stand up and fight back. I guess it’s about that. But more or less, it’s about fighting back against anything that’s making you unhappy.
If you’re not happy in your job, instead of bitching and complaining your whole life about how your job sucks, fight back. Get a different job, quit. Work harder so that you can land in a position where you’re happy. Fight back!
Instead of sitting there complaining about how life shorted you, fight back. If you’re too skinny and people push you around, fight back. Hit the gym. If you’re too fat, and you can’t get a girlfriend, and you’re sitting there complaining about how God dealt you a shitty hand, fight back. Lose some weight. Do whatever you have to do. If you’re in a shitty relationship and you’re unhappy, fight back.
I think people should understand that we only get one chance at being ourselves. I think we should do whatever makes ourselves happy and not sit there and complain about it the whole time, but actually do what it’s going to take to make ourselves happy.
The final track on the record, “I Like It Rough”, has been called the most disturbing work of your career. How do you think that song sort of fits into the ICP legacy?
A lot of times, when we make these songs, we channel the minds of serial killers. Sometimes there are people that are vigilante style serial killers and the people they’re killing deserve to die. I’d say that’s more often than not. But sometimes, they’re just serial killers. And this style of lunatic we channeled for this song is very scary. It’s very terrifying to us…to me and Shaggy. We feel this song is the scariest, most disturbing work we’ve ever done. It makes us feel a little uncomfortable and it makes other people feel uncomfortable too. So, we know it’s not just us.
It’s really scary. The way it’s worded and the way it’s put down is very terrifying. And so, instead of putting it on the beginning of the record, we put it at the end, so you could listen to the whole album. This song sort of acts like a black hole. It sucks other songs into it. So, we left it at the end of the album so you can play the album and you don’t have to listen to this song every time if you don’t want to. You know what I mean?
You guys lost a legal battle in 2017 that aimed to have the Juggalos removed as being considered a gang by the FBI. What kind of impact does that kind of distinction have on your fans?
The gang labeling?
Oh, a huge impact! I mean fuck, man. It makes it technically against the law to be a Juggalo. You know, I could argue that point all day. When you’re on the gang list and you’re an official gang member in the eyes of the government, that means all sorts of repercussions.
Shit, you could be fighting for custody against your spouse in a custody battle and her or his attorney could say, your honor, this man or this woman is a gang member according to the eyes of the law. And, they wouldn’t be lying. When you get sentenced, and you’re a gang member in the eyes of the government, you get a harsher sentence. So, technically, people are getting punished for being a Juggalo. It’s insane!
There’s never been anything like it in the history of rock and roll that I know of. I think it’s unbelievably foul that they did that. I’m happy we marched! We don’t plan on doing anything else about it. We feel like we made our point when we did the march on Washington D.C. We feel like it got a lot of press and it got a lot of coverage. All we wanted to do was, as a people, as Juggalos, as a united front, we wanted to tell everybody that we’re not happy about it. And, I think we did that. Juggalos turned out in force and we said it. We said that we’re not happy about it by marching. I think we needed to do that because if we didn’t do anything about the labeling, then we might as well have been a gang. We might as well be everything they’re saying we are.
With Juggalo Weekend coming up next month, what can fans expect at the event?
A good time! It’s always a celebration. It’s another reason to be together and I think that’s what makes Juggalo parties magical. It’s the fact that we all get to be together.
Juggalo Weekend is usually an event that is travelled to by the most diehard Juggalos. They know each other and they get to be together. A huge party of friends. Imagine a thousand people that are all your friends. That’s pretty much what it’s like. These people have been going to Juggalo events for years and years. They know those faces, and they’re all just like them.
They’re all into the same thing. They all find the same things funny. They all find the same things serious. They’re against the same things. So, when they’re together, it’s a wonderful feeling. It feels like you’re not alone. It feels like you belong to something, like you’re a part of something.
So, people on the outside might come to this event and not understand it at all. But that’s ok. It’s not for the people on the outside. A Juggalo understands what it’s about. A Juggalo feels like he or she belongs. And they do. It’s a wonderful feeling to be a part of it.
There’s nothing really specific that we’re doing this year as far as we’re not performing any specific album or anything like that. We’re more or less releasing our new album that weekend, so that’s the focus.
So, it has a lot more of a community kind of vibe?
Oh, 100 per cent man! People are always going to diss what they don’t understand. People definitely don’t understand Juggalos, so they diss it. They rip into it. They say awful things about it. They don’t understand why everybody’s doing what they’re doing. If they’re not a part of it, they don’t get it. And therefore, they talk shit about it. But in reality, it’s a beautiful thing when you’re one of us. It’s a wonderful thing!
We’re not doing this to put on a show for other people. When Juggalos party, there are no other people watching. It’s only Juggalos in the building. We’re happy with that. It’s fine.
You mentioned people don’t understand Insane Clown Posse. They don’t understand Juggalos. What do think are some misconceptions about ICP and your fan base that some people are confused about?
I guess a major misconception would be that we suck! (laughs) Because if we were really that bad, would there be such a thing as Juggalos? If we sucked that bad, would people still be listening after25 plus years? I think it might not be people’s cup of tea, but I think we’re good at what we do. That’s the misconception about ICP.
Maybe I’m feeling proud because I’m really happy about this new album. Another misconception about Juggalos is that they’re dangerous and they’re crazy. And, if you come to a Juggalo show and you’re not one them, they’re going to fuck you up. That’s the biggest lie that people can say.
When people come to one of our events for the first time and they’re not a Juggalo, those people are extremely welcome. Nobody’s trying to kick their ass. Everybody’s welcoming them. Everybody’s showing them a great time. Everybody’s introducing themselves and being polite as fuck, you know? I think the biggest misconception about Juggalos is that if you come to one of our events, you’re in some kind of danger if you’re not one of us. That’s a total fucking lie! It’s been a lie for a long, long, time.
A lot of people, myself included, first became aware of ICP when you guys were involved with the WWE back in the late ‘90’s with The Oddities. Do you have any fun stories from that experience?
Man, I’ve got endless stories of that experience! We had a blast. That was like a childhood dream to do that. We wanted to be wrestlers before we wanted to be rappers, and it came true! I believe in this secret. I believe in laws of attraction. From the time I was in seventh grade until I was probably sixteen or seventeen, I knew I didn’t want to be a wrestler, I didn’t hope I’d be a wrestler, I didn’t dream about being a wrestler, I knew I’d be a wrestler! Same thing with Shaggy. We bragged about it!
We knew we’d be wrestlers. And then, when we were seventeen, our dream changed and we wanted to be rappers because hip hop kind of overtook our life. But, by that point, we had already put in enough positive energy towards being wrestlers. That’s why when we were twenty-six, wrestling came to us! It’s really weird man, but I believe in that shit!
If you had to choose a dream opponent, whether it was a tag team match or a single match, who would be your dream opponent?
I got to actually wrestle with a lot of my dream opponents. We got to mix it up with the Road Warriors. We got to mix it up with Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio. I mean, we got to mix it up with a lot of guys man…Goldberg. I took a stunner from Steve Austin. That was awesome!
I guess my dream opponent would probably be André the Giant.
I mean, I know he’d kick my ass, but it would be awesome to be in the ring with the Giant, the legendary man. He’s my favorite wrestler because he was by far the one I was most excited to see every time he was on the show. Sometimes, I’d have dreams about it. It would have been so great to wrestle André the Giant!
Pre-order Fearless Fred Fury HERE.