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IT’S OFFICIAL: LIKING INSANE CLOWN POSSE IS NOW COOL/MAINSTREAM

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If you wait long enough, anything that used to be cool but isn’t anymore will become cool to like once again. There is probably a patented Sergeant D infographic to be made describing this phenomenon. Examples:

  • Hair Metal (super cool during the ’80s, the antithesis of cool in the ’90s / bands couldn’t be caught dead with guitar solos, “ironic funny haha” cool in the early ’00s via VH1’s I Love the ’80s, now totally mainstream / selling out arenas again)
  • Limp Bizkit (totally the “it” band in the late ’90s, quickly grew to be rejected by everyone who previously loved them, endured a decade-long period of obscurity, and can now make bank from nostalgia-riddled 25-year olds)
  • Rick Astley (one-hit wonder pop singer makes millions, times and fads change and new wave-inspired pop is not the “thing” anymore, goes completely off the map for 20 years and then resurfaces as one of the most widespread Internet memes of all time because of “get it? this song is old and goofy! haha!” irony).

The latest: Insane Clown Posse. After enduring nearly two decades of extreme uncoolness, it is suddenly totally ok and mainstream to “appreciate” ICP (“they’re such smart businessmen!” “they put on a great show, for what it is!”). Attending the annual Gathering of the Juggalos as a “spectator” is considered pretty cool. And now it’s  even cool for metal bands like Fear Factory and Soulfly to play the event.

I concede that it was probably never REALLY cool to love ICP. But when they first broke they definitely seemed really dangerous and crazy, and even though their music always sucked there was something about them that drew people in. When Juggalos started to become a thing, those who were passive fans of the band for the shock/rebellion value jumped ship; no one in their right mind wanted to be associated with the bunch of knuckle-dragging, suburban American scumbags that had become their fans, even if they were kinda digging what ICP were doing.

ICP hung with it anyway, created their own record label and lifestyle brand, and their die-hard fans made them into very rich men while the rest of humanity ignored them. You probably find this hard to believe in today’s ICP-as-proverbial-punching-bags climate, but when I lived in Detroit 10 years ago I’d regale my NYC friends with tales of ICP and Juggalos… and they had no clue what the fuck I was talking about. In the past five years the Internet and YouTube have made it cool/hilarious to poke fun at Juggalos, but that’s had the unintended effect of exponentially spreading the word about how ridiculous and funny this band is.

And then, at some point in the last year — I can’t really pinpoint the exact moment — it became cool to like ICP ironically and “appreciate” the “show” they put on and that these guys are “really smart businessmen” who have gotten rich through great “marketing” that’s resulted in them selling assload upon assload of merch. ICP even added an official SXSW 2012 headline show (which was canceled for some reason — maybe they couldn’t get enough Faygo shipped to Austin in time?) and now they’re getting metal bands to play their festival. Fear Factory and Soulfly’s nu-metal leanings make some sense in the context of ICP’s fanbase, but there’s no way those bands would’ve agreed to play the Gathering even two years ago.

If you’ve been a hardcore Juggalo for years through thick, thin and all six Joker Cards, are you now sad to see your precious underground treasure suddenly gaining widespread acceptance? Are juggalos about to jump ship now that their favorite band “sold out”? Are you a metalhead who now appreciates ICP??

-VN

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