What is a Juggalo?
Simply put, Juggalos are devotees of the rap group Insane Clown Posse. Composed of Michigan natives Joseph Bruce and Joseph Utsler, the duo perform in clown makeup under the stage names Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope. They have built a tremendous fan base thanks to their violent horrorcore lyrics, which describe murder, cannibalism, dismemberment and necrophilia in gruesome detail.
Their songs often describe exacting bloody revenge against those who look down upon the poor, unattractive, unpopular or otherwise marginalized segments of society, catering to a fan base that seeks an outlet for frustration and feelings of injustice. In addition to appealing to fans with violent lyrics, Insane Clown Posse have created an entire mythology, to which the most devoted fans adhere with a religious fervor. A major theme of ICP songs is the Dark Carnival, a limbo where the dead are judged before proceeding to their final resting place. Heaven is referred to as Shangri-La, and through a series of albums collectively called Joker's Cards, listeners are encouraged to "change their evil ways" and attain a glorious afterlife. Utsler and Bruce have both said in interviews that they believe in God, but have refuted suggestions that they are a Christian band hiding behind violent lyrics to appeal to troubled teens.
Despite the overarching message of positivity, the brutality of ICP's lyrics is disturbing. Claims that the depictions of gratuitous violence are just a vehicle for a greater artistic concept seem convoluted, and the connection between Juggalos and real-life violence is hard to ignore.
The word Juggalo came about in 1994, when during a performance of the song "Juggla," Violent J referred to the audience as Juggalos. The name stuck, and now tens of thousands of Juggalos and Juggalettes, who refer to each other as family and describe themselves as being "down with the clown," share a bond centered around the ICP ethos. Every year, thousands of fans attend a festival called Gathering of the Juggalos, a three-day event where Juggalos from across America camp out, drink the soft drink Faygo, and revel in the virtually unpoliced mayhem. What is a juggalo?
He ain't a b*tchboy
He'll walk through the hills
And beat down a rich boy
Walks right in the house
When you're having supper
And dip his nuts in your soup, gloop!
--"What is a Juggalo?," 1997Next: Juggalo Axe Murder