Insane Clown Posse will wrap up work this week on their upcoming double album Bizzar Bizaar, which will stress the rap side of their hybrid sound, according to Violent J.
"With our [previous] albums, we were going more and more toward rock," Violent J (born Joseph Bruce) said on Thursday from the group's Detroit studio. "This one's still got a lot of guitars, but it's more rap. Put it like this: If you didn't like ICP before, you still won't."
On Tuesday ICP will release the straight-to-home-video movie "Big Money Hustlas." In addition, they're in final preparations for the first Insane Clown Posse convention, dubbed the Gathering of the Juggalos (a nickname for ICP fans), July 2122 in Novi, Mich.
The clown-faced duo's follow-up to last year's The Amazing Jeckel Brothers is appropriately set for a Halloween release.
Violent J said he and partner Shaggy 2 Dope set out six months ago to make a double album, feeling that their fans have a tendency to get impatient for new material. "Every time we release an album, after the first tour, people are like, 'When's your next album coming out?' " he said. "We just want to give them a whole bunch of music this time."
Bizzar Bizaar was produced by the duo's longtime producer Mike E. Clark, who characterized their time in the studio as fun and free.
"I think the reason we did so well with this record is we didn't try to be anything we're not we didn't try to make a record for everybody," said Clark, who described the new album as lighter in spirit than its predecessor, which featured such songs as "Fuck the World" (RealAudio excerpt). "The goal was to please ourselves, and we made a great ICP record. We figured we're not going to be accepted anyway, so we just did whatever the f--- we wanted."
A Lighter Mood
The album hits on a broad mix of flavors and styles and features piano and banjo on some tracks, Clark said.
Violent J said the album will not feature any swipes at fellow Detroit rapper Eminem, who disses ICP on his chart-topping album The Marshall Mathers LP. J said he and Shaggy have said their piece for now with "Ain't Nuthin' But a Bitch Thang," a song directed toward Eminem that ICP recently posted on their Web site (www.insaneclownposse.com). Eminem is facing criminal charges for allegedly pulling a gun during an altercation with an ICP employee last month.
A song called "Radio Stars" provides one of the more humorous moments on Bizzar Bizaar, Violent J said. The number features Shaggy and J trying out different musical styles in an attempt to get on the radio.
"We switch our styles up three times during the song," he said. "In the first verse, we're doing the Dirty South, like Master P and Juvenile. In the second verse, we do an alternative song, like Barenaked Ladies or Ben Folds Five, and then we do like an R&B love song. We finally say, 'F--- it, let's just stick to what we do best."
Violent J said he and Shaggy (born Joey Ulster) abandoned some of the heavier themes that turned up on their previous albums, feeling that their good intentions are too often misinterpreted. "If I make a song about a guy who beats his wife and how we're gonna kill him, or how we hate him, by the time the press writes about us they'll say we made a song about beating our wives," he said.
"For a long time we've been struggling to be accepted publicly by everybody," Violent J said. "We've wanted people to see, 'Well, ICP have some good sides to them.' But I don't think that's ever gonna happen, so this time we didn't even try. If people are gonna dog you, they're gonna dog you no matter what. So this time we made a record for the fans we that already got."
Still, J characterized the song "Pendulum's Promise" as one of the new album's "deeper" moments. "It's about a giant pendulum that never stops swinging, like what you dish out in life, you get in return," he said. "The first verse, there's a guy making fun of a homeless guy, making fun of a bum. And then later he realizes he's looking at himself in the mirror."
Other songs on the disc include "Mr. Happy," a tune about a gleeful serial killer, and "Toxic Love." The latter number is about a "lunatic who gets released from an insane asylum, and on his way home he meets a pretty girl at a pay phone and has sex with her," J said. "Then the next morning he wakes up and he's sick and he realizes it wasn't a pretty girl at all, it was a barrel of toxic waste. So he turns himself back in to the insane asylum."
Videos And Gatherings
Violent J wrote the story line to "Big Money Hustlers," which he described as a takeoff of films that "rappers always make about them being gangsters and mobsters and hustlers." He plays a mob boss named Big Baby Sweets, while Shaggy plays a cop named Sugar Bear.
ICP already have their next film planned, which will be a western, Violent J said.
The Gathering of the Juggalos will feature live performance by the likes of ICP, Kottonmouth Kings and Twiztid as well as champion wrestling, seminars, tattooing, a house of horrors, a human freak show, extreme sports and ICP karaoke.
The event at the Novi Expo Center also will feature several contents, including a lingerie competition and a "Sleep With Shaggy" contest. "There would be a 'Sleep With Violent J' contest, but the place only holds 10,000 people," Violent J said.
He said ICP plan to hold the convention every other year.