Insane Clown Posse Toy With New Projects

Controversial Detroit rappers to be rendered as collectible action figures.

Controversial rappers Insane Clown Posse have a new album completed and a direct-to-video film in the works, but the pair -- notorious for being

dropped from the Disney-owned Hollywood label a day after the release of their first album -- also are being immortalized in toy form.

A pair of action figures depicting the Insane Clown Posse duo -- Violent J (Joe Bruce) and Shaggy 2 Dope (Joey Utsler) -- is due to hit the market in early 1999, around the same time The Amazing Jeckel Brothers, their fifth album, is due to be released.

"[Glam-rockers] Kiss had some dolls way back when, so I think this isn't such a shock," ICP fan Bryan Elliott, 16, wrote in an e-mail. "I'll probably pick them up because I'm such a huge fan. And if the Kiss dolls are any indication, the ICP figures will be worth some money further down the road."

According to the ICP's official website and an Island Records publicist who declined to be named, The Amazing Jeckel Brothers is due on store shelves in March. The 16-cut album will feature a cover of

"Assassins" -- a song by fellow rappers the Geto Boys -- and also will sport appearances by gangsta-rap veterans Ice-T on "Dead End," Wu-Tang Clan member Ol' Dirty Bastard on "Bitches" and Snoop Dogg on a currently

untitled track.

Other songs slated for the album are "Fuck the World," "The Amazing Maze," "I Want My Shit," "Terrible," "The Shaggy Show," "Everybody Rise" and "Nothing's Left."

Between-song skits on the album will be provided by noted telephone pranksters and recording artists the Jerky Boys. These vignettes include a tape of a prank call to Island Records.

"The Amazing Jeckel Brothers sounds like it is going to be off the hook," Elliott wrote. "I think it's cool that they've got ODB, Ice-T and Snoop Dogg on there. It just shows that they're starting to get some respect from the rap world."

"This album is finished and locked inside a vault somewhere deep within the southwest Ghetto Zone," the posting on the group's website reads. The geographical reference alludes to the area of Detroit that the ICP call home.

"We are just waiting for the final word from the Dark Carnival," the posting continues. "As soon as we get word, we will unleash The Amazing Jeckel Brothers onto the world."

In the group's mythology, the Dark Carnival is the apocalypse that will occur when the so-called sixth card is revealed. The rappers have suggested that each of their albums represents a card.

Their first three albums, Carnival of Carnage, The Ringmaster and The Riddle Box, were self-released on Psychopathic Records. Their major-label debut, The Great Milenko, was released on Hollywood Records with a few of its more outrageous songs omitted. But even so, the group was quickly dropped, due to parent company Disney's squeamishness over the content of such songs as "Hall of Illusions" (RealAudio excerpt). The ICP were quickly picked up by Island, which then released The Great Milenko in its original form.

More recently, the group just completed a club tour and also is attempting to put together its direct-to-video film, tentatively titled "Big Money Hustlas." According to their Island publicist, the movie is still in the planning stages, and the rappers have yet to shoot a frame, though they have settled on shooting it in New York City.

The ICP website outlines the movie's plot as a cops-and-robbers tale, with Violent J portraying "the head of an evil organization that is responsible for bootlegging millions of dollars' worth of rap CDs" and Shaggy 2 Dope playing "the cop hot on the trail of this whole sinister operation." Though no names are named, the website also promises cameos by artists from the worlds of rap and rock.

On the other hand, the Wicked Clown Action Figures -- miniaturized versions of Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope in full makeup and tattoos -- should be ready to go in conjunction with the release of The Amazing Jeckel Brothers. The Violent J toy will come with an ax he can carry, while the Shaggy 2 Dope figure comes with a cane topped by a silver skull.