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Are you down with the clown?

By Tony Carnevale
Arizona Summer Wildcat
July 7, 1999
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Arizona Summer Wildcat

Tony Carnevale

Chances are you've heard of Insane Clown Posse, at least in the context of the furor caused by Disney subsidiary Hollywood Records' release of their album, entitled The Great Milenko. Hollywood recalled the album on the first day of its release, so Insane Clown Posse jumped ship and reissued the album on Island.

If you've ever had the misfortune of hearing ICP, as they're known by thousands of bratty adolescent boys worldwide, then you're aware that this anecdote is pretty much the most interesting thing about them. But, like every musical plague that takes our great nation by storm, there's something to be learned from them. It's my goal to figure out what it is.

First of all, a notable element of ICP's name is the word 'posse.' But Insane Clown Posse is composed of two guys. This isn't a large group we're talking about here. Does this mean that any two people can now be referred to as a 'posse?' I ask this question for a reason. I've been looking for a new way to represent my mom and me to the world, and the phrase 'my mom and me' just doesn't cut it. Is it now legit for me to refer to us as 'Mom and Me Posse?' Consider the following: 'Yo yo, gramma, Mom and Me Posse will be at Thanksgiving dinner in full effect, y'all. MMP in the hiz-ouse.'

A complicating factor may be the fact that Insane Clown Posse sling the phrase 'Down with the Clown' about like so much cream pie, as in, 'Are you Down with the Clown?' Perhaps the posse referred to in ICP's moniker is a metaphorical one, composed not only of the two guys who are actually in the band per se, but also of every man, woman and child who happens to be 'Down with the Clown.' This would make the Insane Clown Posse a consortium of like-minded citizens striving for the good of all Clownkind.

Now, I'm supposed to do some research to support what I write for this column, but in this case that would require voluntarily listening to Insane Clown Posse. So instead of the detailed analysis of their music that you're probably expecting, I'll have to resort to analyzing some of their song titles.

'Hellalujah:' It blends a religious exhortation with a mention of hell. I guess that's supposed to be clever, but it was probably just a typo on the album sleeve.

'Bugzs on my Nugzs:' If you know what this means, you're probably not fit to exist on the planet.

'I Want My Shit:' Well, everybody does, really.

'Bitches:' If this was called 'Bugzs on my Bitches,' I might like it more.

Yet another example of the Posse's creativity is their implementation of wacky and compelling stage names. One member of the posse is called 'Violent J,' the other 'Shaggy 2 Dope.' Presumably, these names were chosen to highlight the most notable elements of each Clown's personality. This is really quite an efficient way of naming oneself. Upon meeting Violent J, you automatically know that he's violent, and when you're introduced to Shaggy 2 Dope, you can safely assume that he is in some way involved with both 'Scooby Doo' and stupidity. My name is not nearly this descriptive, and I'd like it to be. I've settled on the following alternatives. Let me know which one you prefer.

Studly 2 Lots

Smelly 2 Nice

Wanty 2 Eat a Sandwich

Miscellaneous T