Interview with Violent J
By David Friedman
Youre about to release "The Wraith: Shangri-La," the final
album in Insane Clown Posses series of six Jokers Cards. But
isnt there some other huge news that Psychopathic Records has been
waiting to drop on the world?
Man, Ive got fuckin news for you. Listen, Im gonna tell
you some shit, man. And Im telling you this because it matters to
me and it matters to a lot of fuckin people a lot of people.
When I started rappin, when I fuckin picked up a microphone,
there was Esham the Unholy. We started Psychopathic Records and we patterned
it on Reel Life Productions, the way they did their shit. The way they
ran their outfit, they taught us the ropes. Psychopathic built itself
and we looked at the fact that Esham would release album and EP, album
and EP. So anyway, for 10 years, weve been doin what weve
been doin. For 10 fuckin years, weve been doin
what weve been doin. Fuckin the wicked shit! We never
sold out. Weve been doin the fuckin wicked shit for
10 years. Thats what we believe Detroit is about. That Esham, ICP,
Twiztid, the House of fuckin Krazees all of that shit. Natas.
What is it? Its the wicked shit. Thats what we believe Detroits
about. Well finally, after 10 years of the House of Krazees and fuckin
all this other shit and all these other labels, weve all aligned
just in time for the Sixth Jokers Card. The missing link has signed
with Psychopathic Records. Esham the Unholy is with us. Thats it.
Thats like the missing like. Thats like Rubiks Cube
is completed. And you dont understand. For 10 years, Detroits
entire wicked shit has been branched off in so many different directions,
starting with the main seed that was Esham and (then) us and the House
of Krazees. But now weve all aligned. Theres nobody left worth
mentioning. All the dons of the wicked shit (are together). Im talking
about the wicked shit worldwide. They ripped it off from us everywhere.
They all ripped it off from Detroit, from the minds of ICP and Esham and
the House of Krazees and the whole scene in Detroit. We are the wicked
shit and we have come together. Right now, were all under the hatchet.
And its not about the hatchet, its not about Reel Life Productions,
its not about Latnem or whatever the fuck Platnem or whatever
the fuck. Its about the wicked shit. And were all putting
it down just in time for the Sixth Jokers Card. Its about
the Dark Carnival. We are the rulers of the wicked shit, man. We put all
of this bullshit aside. We have all merged as one one unstoppable
force. Undeniably. Youve always had Esham and youve had us.
And were together now. Its official. And youre the first
muthafuckas ear holes to hear it in the world. This is gonna rock
the entire juggalo nation, which might not mean anything to people, but
it means a lot to us.
Thats some major news without a doubt and definitely an historic
announcement when it comes to Detroit rap and rap in general. I know youve
been down with Esham since day one. I guess thats why this means
so much to you, right?
Man, because he structured every muthafuckin thing we do. He laid
the foundation for Eminem. He laid the foundation for all of us. And Ive
said it a million times. I would have never had the balls to come out
on stage in clown makeup if I would have never seen Esham come out in
a coffin. That was the foundation. Even though a lot of people say that
came from fuckin Geto Boys and Assassins. However, when
you take that certain flavor that they might have experimented with in
a song, and you create a whole style of music out of it, then you create
a whole masterpiece around it like we have. Everybodys hollerin
Keep it real, keep it real. What the fuck? Man, we are keepin
it real every day. Our music keeps it entertaining, man. You can vent
your frustrations through the wicked shit. Well let our music do
the murdering for you. And now, all the heavy hitters, the dons, the kings,
the Soopa Villains have come together.
Now that Esham and ICP are together on the same label, what can fans look
forward to? Whats going to happen now?
Were gonna saw the planet in half. I dont give a fuck what
happens now. I dont care if nothing happens. To us, it matters.
To the juggalo nation, it matters. To the fans of the wicked shit, to
the underground... And a lot of bands have the gall to sit there and call
themselves underground, but they aint shit. Were the fuckin
underground. Were under the fuckin underground. Even us, ICP.
And were all over. Everybody just laughs at us. Were like
a joke to the mainstream. But you know what? Thats all good. That
dont even matter. Cause whats going on underneath the
underground, its so dope. This is
Esham and ICP, man. Im talking 1991, when it all started. Its
Will Esham be on the Sixth Jokers Card? And, if he is, can you talk
about his involvement with the project?
Esham, my friend, will be on the Sixth rapping. Im giving
you super-exclusive knowledge here, man. Hes on a song called Soopa.
Because Esham aka the Boogieman, Violent J aka the Juggla and Shaggy 2
Dope aka the Southwest Strangla, make up the trio known as the Soopa Villains.
But thats a whole other story.
Some people feel like Kid Rock and Eminem should have helped Esham out
after they made it big, sort of as a sign of respect. But it seems like
ICP is the only group that ever gives Esham credit in interviews and invites
him out on tours. What has made you so loyal to Esham over the years?
Because I can admit that he laid the foundation and I can respect that.
Ive always respected that. Its the same reason I respect Paris.
Its the same reason I respect Ice Cube. What is ICP known for? Were
the wicked clowns. Even the word wicked (or wicket in Eshams case),
I was exposed to it by Esham. And Ive always known that and Ive
always respected that. Its kind of like, how the fuck can Esham
not get his dues, man? It just doesnt make sense. And Ive
told him to his face and Ive said in interviews in the past, I think
it was his bad business moves. Thats what I think. Theres
a lot of snakes out there.
In addition to Eshams forthcoming album, "Acid Rain,"
will you be releasing Eshams whole back catalog, totaling somewhere
around 15 albums, on Psychopathic?
Yes. Theyre gonna be all available. But right now, Acid Rain
is coming out. And Acid Rain has got about four, five, six
or seven new songs on it. Its a piece of art. And I guess you can
chop it into as many songs as you want, but also its a mix of his
old shit dating all the way back. Its narrated by us, just to let
any juggalos know the history of the wicked shit. Were not even
really concerned with the history or anything because now that the Sixth
Jokers Card is coming out on November 5th and Esham is here, Twiztid
is here, Blaze is here, Anybody Killa is here, ICP is here. This is going
down. The future is all that matters. Everything is where it needs to
be. Its our turn to hold the matrix.
When you make reference to the future, Im wondering what will happen
after the Sixth Jokers Card. Since this is the final installment
in the series, what comes next?
Well, see, its the end of the world. Right now, when the Sixth Jokers
Card comes, the worlds over with. And its the beginning of
a new one. Theres no more nothing. I feel like my whole fuckin
head is gonna explode. I mean, if you knew the spirit world and the underground,
its like theres so many fuckin spirits whippin
around this room Im in right now because its goin down.
Were connected to something beyond and itll all make sense
when you hear the Sixth Jokers Card. I can tell you about the Sixth
Jokers Card. What would you like to know about it?
Id like to know whether itll be anything like the Dark Lotus
album and the other projects that have been released on Psychopathic in
the last two to three years, or whether it will be more like "The
Amazing Jeckel Brothers" and the four previous Jokers Cards.
How would you describe the style and sound of the album?
I would say, musically, it moves at the same pace as Riddlebox.
But its way more diverse than Riddlebox was. Theres
more styles of music on this album rock n roll down
to old school gangsta rap. When I say old school, Im talking about
like Comptons N the House. I dont give a fuck
whats popular out there or what the fuck is on the radio or MTV
or any of that. We straight up made the bombest sounding piece of music
you could make, the bombest album there is. We did the old school Dope
Man shit from N.W.A. those kind of influences. Bangin
ass ghetto shit, mixed right in with rock n roll songs, mixed
in with pure ICP classic flavor, featuring tracks with ICP and Esham,
from straight up Carnival of Carnage era.
When you mention "Carnival of Carnage," that is of course ICPs
First Jokers Card from back in 1992. Are you remaking songs from
the early days?
No. Its all brand new.
So when you say youve got stuff from the Carnival of Carnage,
what do you mean?
Sound-wise. Songs like you think This reminds me of Carnival
of Carnage up to This reminds me of Dark Lotus. Everything.
Its such a complete barrage of sounds. Its such a complete
mix of sounds, but it moves real fast.
You were explaining to me a while back that Mike P makes the beats and
then ICP produces the tracks. Usually the producer is the person who makes
the beats. Could you clarify this a bit?
Mike P would make a track. A beat would be playing, hed make a drum
loop, add some dope-ass bass, maybe take a wah-wah guitar, whatever. Thats
it. The rest is us. We come in and we make the song. We create it. We
say were gonna create a chorus here. Lets add this keyboard,
lets add some guitars right here, lets add some 808. All right,
switch back to the verse now. Lets call it this. Lets add
this to make it sound more like the song now that its called this.
Lets do it up. Its like with a skeleton. We give it ribs and
a stomach and a chest and lungs and then a body and then skin and then
hair and then clothes. And then its a fresh-ass song!
According to D3, the label thats releasing the Sixth Jokers
Card with Psychopathic, the first single for the album is "Homiez."
Could you tell me about the song?
Its a song I made about giving it up for my homies. We made it for
our boys. Its featuring Twiztid. Those are like my best friends.
I dont know what the fuck their first single is, or their last single.
Thats totally their shit. We totally let them run with that. I made
radio edits for them because I want as many people to hear the Sixth Jokers
Card as I can. Print this: I made not one, not two, but FIVE radio edits.
Attention all juggalos: We sold out. We made five radio edits. Fuck anybody
that dont like it. This is the Sixth Jokers Card. I want as
many people to hear this as possible. And if that means Ive gotta
turn a fuck into a frick, Ive got no problem
What are some of the other songs on the Sixth Jokers Card?
Theres on song called The Pain and thats about
the pain that comes with not murdering, not being able to kill
like when you hear the voices. If youre a serial killer, you know
whats calling you out to do those murders. And if you dont
do it, its kind of like a heroin addiction. Then, theres another
song called It Rains Diamonds, which is about more realistic
(things). Its about life right now. Its raining diamonds all
over our face. Its such a fresh time, were over here beaming.
We look like weve got flashlight eyeballs were beaming so
hard. Everything is so fucking dope, man. It doesnt really matter
what happens. Its so fuckin dope to so many hundreds of thousands
juggalos that Esham is finally here. Its the end of an era, man.
The Sixth Jokers Card is coming out.
Will you miss this era in your life and music career now that that chapter
is about to come to an end?
Yeah. But everything runs its course. And us not being together has ran
its course. Were the Soopa Villains, man. ICP and Esham together
are known as the Soopa Villains. But were not known as that yet.
Im telling you first-hand shit.
In addition to "The Wraith: Shangri-La," theres another
version of the Sixth Jokers Card called "The Wraith: Hells
Pit." That second version is coming out about a year from now, although
no exact release date has been set. Why are there two versions?
Because two versions needed to be told. Theres two places youre
gonna go when you die, one or the other. Thats what we believe.
Thats what mama taught me.
With Esham being on Psychopathic now, whats the status on Natas,
which of course is Esham, TNT and Mastamind?
Dont think Natas aint family, too. Dont think Mastamind
and TNT aint right here. Theyre family.
Will the Natas albums be re-released through Psychopathic?
Esham owns all of that. Thats all Eshams music and thats
all merging together with us. So Esham will put out what he wants to put
out. Like Esham will say, I want to put these old records out
and hell pick the ones he wants to put out. But all of his catalog,
like you said, there are a million juggalos that want to buy all of that.
Well release his whole back catalog eventually. But hes coming
into Psychopathic not as an artist; hes coming in as a don. Hes
coming in as a shot-caller. Its like Twiztid. They call all their
shots. Nobody here is eating for free. Everybody is bringing something
to the picnic at Psychopathic. Everybodys bringing their own flavor,
everybodys bringing their own
shit and were all just barbecuing together, running this shit. And
undeniably, thats the shit. We wont lie, man. It took us 10
years to do it. But its the beginning of a new era right now. Muthafuckas
are young. All them rappers, all them Ice Cubes and Dr. Dres, theyre
fuckin old, dog! Were young over here. Were ready to
take the matrix. They need to pass that over here.
Are Mastamind and TNT on Psychopathic?
Yes. Weve signed Esham and Esham is Natas. He handles Natas. So
yes. Put it like this. When Eshams ready to do a Natas deal, another
Natas album, Natas will be released on Psychopathic because Esham is on
Psychopathic and hes with this company. So why would he have Natas
be released on another label somewhere when hes on this label. When
you hear the Sixth, youll understand why Eshams here. Youll
understand why Natas is here, when Eshams ready to do another Natas
Did Esham contribute to the Sixth Jokers Card in terms of production?
Yes, he did some production on the Sixth. Hell be doing production
in the future. Eshams even a member of the Psychopathic Rydas now.
Would you like to know his Rydas name?
Converse. Youre getting hellified information, bro.
Is Esham a part of Dark Lotus now along with ICP, Twiztid, Blaze and Anybody
I dont know because we dont have any plans of making another
Dark Lotus album yet. Theres so much other shit. Like Twiztid, they
have to do The Green Book. Thats a major thing for Psychopathic.
Eshams new album, thats gonna be a major project for Psychopathic.
The Sixth Jokers Card is next up at bat and thats major shit.
What do you hope fans get out of "The Wraith: Shangri-La" album
when they get a hold of it?
Shangri-la. I hope they get heaven out of it. I hope they get the message
that thats where they want to be. Thats my goal. Thats
the whole goal of the six Jokers Cards, man. Thats all it
was saying. Get your shit together, man. Were just entertainers
out here. Were rappers. Weve been telling it 10 fucking years.
In this long-ass thing we say at the end, we do an unveiling. And Im
not gonna do the unveiling right now, but its on the Sixth Jokers
Card. It all makes sense. But the bottom line, the basic goal, is to see
you in heaven. Thats it. The wicked shit is entertainment. Thats
how we live, thats how we like to laugh, thats how we like
our shit wicked. But its goin down, man.
Are there any other songs youd like to talk about from the "Shangri-la"
Theres a song on there called Bitch Slappas featuring
Blaze Ya Dead Homie.
Do you have any guests on the album other than Psychopathic artists?
Fuck no. The Hells Pit record, were gonna have
guests. The Shangri-La record is a very juggalo-oriented record.
Its really kind of for the juggalos. The Hells Pit
record, well do it with some outside special guests, some people
that helped me put my word out. We will be doing some shit with Paris.
Paris has already done some production for the Hells Pit
record. Hells Pit, a lot of it is done. Its not
totally done yet because Ive got time to work with that later. But
there were a lot of songs that were recorded and they just belonged on
the Hells Pit record.
Given the choice, which versions of "The Wraith" would you go
with "Shangri-La" or "Hells Pit"?
Shangri-La. I wish I didnt have to put the Hells
Pit record out because the Hells Pit record is
dark and horrible and its about hell. But it has to be said. Youve
gotta understand that when you go to hell, you really do go to hell. This
is the ending of my story. The ending is The Wraith. Thats
the name of the Sixth Jokers Card, The Wraith. The ending
is the grim reaper, death. Whats at the end? Death. And then where
do you go? You either go to shangri-la and for that I made the
sweetest, freshest, harmoniest, juggaloniest album possible. Blissness
in your earlobes. We fuckin molest your eardrums. Its like
12 naked bitches lickin your balls because thats what I tried
to make it sound like, shangri-la. And then on Hells Pit,
its the darkest, grimmest, ruthlessest album ever made. But thats
for the world. Thats for everybody. Thats why it features
outside special guests that arent immediate family because
its saying to the world, If you dont get your shit right,
youre going to hell. Its just saying Fuck off
with crazy ruthlessness. But the Shangri-La record is more
like a celebration for the few that get in.
Back when you started ICP, it stood for Inner City Posse. Were there really
20 people in the group?
Sure. Not as rappers, but on the streets it was 20 people.
As far as the rap group went, you and Shaggy have held it down ever since
"Dog Beats" came out in the early 90s. What was it like
working with Chuck Miller, who produced some of the tracks on the first
Jokers Card, 1992s "Carnival of Carnage"?
It fuckin sucked dick, man. He would snake the fuck out of us. He
would yell at us for squeaking in our chair, man. We went in there and
we didnt know nothin about studios. And wed squeak in
our chair and hed say, Hey! Im trying to hear the music.
He was horrible, man. Wed go in there and he fuckin sucked,
man. He would take forever. He would build a beat and it would take him
forever to sample something. He would get a snare out and then he would
sit there and equalize it and ask us, Do you like this one better?
We were like, Motherfucker, just get a snare. Loop up a fuckin break
beat. Were coming off the streets. But he was a fuckin
From "Red Neck Hoe" and "Wizard of the Hood" all the
way through the album, "Carnival of Carnage" still came out
great. Wouldnt you agree?
Yeah. Because were the shit.
When I first heard about Insane Clown Posse and I read about you on your
Web site, you guys have song titles that make people just have to hear
the song. Im talking about "Fat Sweaty Betty," "Amys
in the Attic," "Santas a Fat Bitch" stuff
like that. How did you guys come up with this stuff?
Well, its very comical and painted up, very entertaining looking.
Its all just there, man, when youre a clown. Its the
shit. That stuff is the shit because we didnt really know what we
were doing. And that adds to the freshness of it. We didnt have
any fans tellin us or influencing us or swaying us from one direction
to the other. We were just making the music. So we just went in the studio
and said, Lets make it and lets make it how we want
it. We didnt have any mail or anything. We didnt know
if songs were supposed to be eight minutes long or two minutes. We didnt
know. And I think thats pure. Thats the shit.
Were you doing shows back when "Carnival of Carnage" was out?
Hell, no. Well, when we had Carnival of Carnage out, we did
a show with Esham. I met him at a radio station. Him and his brother were
doing an interview at a radio station, so we ran down there to meet him.
I was fascinated about his shit because I collected local rap. I collected
all local shit.
Ive been learning more about the groups that were out between 1988
and 1994 in Detroit. Who were some of the early Detroit rap groups and
artists you liked back then?
Fuck, yeah, brother. Awesome Dre, Kaos & Mystro, A.W.O.L. I never
liked Detroits Most Wanted, but Merciless Amir was the shit. Fuckin
Papa J. Smoove had a good song out. Smiley she was the shit. Man,
I had all of that shit. Triplex, Detroit Box, there was fuckin a
lot of dope shit. It just blows my mind how much talent there is everywhere.
Its just all about who you know and theres so much politics,
man. You wouldnt believe the stories Ive heard about the music
industry. Like Kaos & Mystro were so fresh, man, but they just never
blew up. Look at Esham. His shit never got a Grammy, but look at how dope
the shit is I mean that whole flavor of music, the wicked shit
in general. (Its) rap thats not about everyday shit. Its
so dope. But look at Scarface. I keep seeing this quote that Haystak said.
They asked him, What would it be like if you won a Grammy?
And he said, I could never accept a Grammy knowing that Scarface
aint never got one. Thats the truth, man. I look at
Awesome Dre. He was one of the greatest of all time in my book. Fuck that,
he was the shit. I brought him back and put him in front of the juggalos
and they booed him off stage, straight up. I had him open up the show.
That was in 1995. I dont know what the deal was, man.
When "Carnival of Carnage" came out in 92, were you even
referring to it as the First Jokers Card back then?
Well, thats the thing. We dont even say the word juggalo
on that record. We were calling it a Jokers Card because that was
the idea of the cover. It kind of took its own. The own thing manifested
Did you ever think in the early days that youd eventually release
six Jokers Cards?
I mean, it just seemed like it was forever away. It seemed like I would
never get to that point.
How did things change for ICP when the Second Jokers Card, "The
Ringmaster," came out in 1994?
We started playing shows and we started selling more records. A lot more,
you know? Ringmaster is one of my favorite records. I love
every Jokers Card like you wouldnt believe. I represent everything
Ive ever said. I dont regret one lyric, especially on the
One of the classic ICP songs, "Chicken Huntin," first appeared
on "The Ringmaster." How come ICP has dissed rednecks on several
songs over the years?
Fuck rednecks, straight-up, because 99 percent of them are racist fucks.
What inspired "Chicken Huntin"?
Its about killin racist rednecks because theyre fuckin
bigots, man. Ive seen it, man. Ive got friends that are from
the South that slip up. Rednecks, they just slip up and say racist things
that are wrong with me. And Ill just be like, Whoa, dog. What
the fuck? And theyll be like, I didnt mean for
it to come out like that. And its just in the nature of rednecks,
these racist fuckin rednecks. I mean, if youre a redneck and
youre not a racist, then obviously you know that Im not talkin
about you. So theres no reason to get heated. But Im talkin
about the racist fuckin rednecks that fuck their daughters. It just
makes me sick.
Why is "Mr. Johnsons Head" your favorite song from the
Thats my shit. Even today, they say Columbus discovered America.
Its just crazy. Ive seen rebel flags hang at schools. And
rebel flags, in the Civil War, were fighting for the right to have slavery.
This is whats going on in school and this kid goes crazy so he murders
his teacher, Mr. Johnson, and puts his head in his book bag. And he just
keeps going to school all week, while they have substitutes. And hes
laughing about it while they make up lies and say (why) Mr. Johnson isnt
in. Hes like, Bullshit. I left that muthafucka dead last night
in the hallway. Hes dead. So its a fresh-ass song, man.
You and Shaggy 2 Dope are two of the most creative rappers going today
in terms of the story lines in your songs and the stuff you come up with.
Every song from the first five Jokers Cards are so memorable that
I could quote many of them to this day. Why do you think your songs have
Because its got a magic to it. And if you dont know what the
magic is, when you hear the Sixth it puts it in plain old English.
When "Ringmaster" was out, you played concerts roughly once
every other month in Detroit. How did things change with the era of the
Third Jokers Card, "The Riddle Box"?
Thats when we set our sights outside of Detroit because we said,
Man, we think were as big as we can get in Detroit.
We had sold like 60,000 Ringmasters. We were like, Fuck
it. We threw a dart on a map and it landed on Dallas, Texas. And
we said, Lets go to Dallas and blow up. We had all our
samplers of Riddle Box and we painted up our Riddle
Box vans and we went to Dallas. We stayed there for a couple months,
blowing up, putting it in all the stores, going to high schools, handing
out samplers, going to the strips, going to the clubs. Were geniuses.
How did you end up getting a record deal with Jive for the Third Jokers
Card, "The Riddle Box"?
We sold enough records. We had some guy shopping us, trying to find a
deal. And Jive came in and put their dick in our butt. Youre not
supposed to put a dick in a butt. Youre supposed to put it in a
neden. And thats where the whole problem came in. They fuckin
sucked. Every record label sucks. And it all sucked before we were able
to do what we
wanted to do. We were on Jive and they didnt know how to market
our shit. They sucked.
If I had "Riddle Box" in front of me right now, Id definitely
put on "Ol Evil Eye." That song was tight. What inspired
I pulled it out of the Dark Carnival. Its one of the meteors floating
around. Check this out, man. If you sit there and think, Man, the
new stuff, it isnt like the classics. Its different
thats because theyre not classics yet. Wait about 10
years and then youll be like, Yeah, thats the shit.
Im tellin you.
Whats your favorite song on "Riddle Box"?
12. Because I love it. It tells a fresh story. It only kills
11 people. Its supposed to be the whole jury dies. It convicts a
man innocently of murder and (condemns) him to the electric chair. And
then he comes back to life and kills the 12 jury members but he only kills
11 and he kills the 12th on the Hells Pit record. Its
The whole controversy surrounding the Fourth Jokers Card, "The
Great Milenko," helped ICP gain national attention. And the fans
who caught on in 1997 ended up going back and buying all your previous
releases. Why do you think ICP albums are so collectible?
Because its bomb-ass. And its got the Dark Carnival in it.
Itll all be explained on the Sixth. Everything, all of that, why
its so dope, will be explained on the Sixth.
When you went gold and then platinum with "The Great Milenko,"
you were the first rap group to come out of Detroit and do that. In the
next few years, Kid Rock, Eminem, D12 and Uncle Kracker followed that
success. Does it amaze you that ICP did it first?
It blows my fuckin mind. It freaks me out. Every day everything
freaks me out. Every day I look at my situation, especially now
the last eight months or so. Man, forget about it. Its just raining
diamonds all over my face. The positivity is so crazy, man, I cant
even begin to explain it. Its like nothing can go wrong. Even if
it went wrong, its
still all to the good. I dont have no beef with Eminem or none of
them. I dont give a fuck. I dont got time for beef in my life.
Fuck all of that. I just want to fuck hoes and do shows.
Do you like any of Eminems songs?
I like that new single hes got a lot. I think its the shit.
That beats the shit. I think its awesome. I wish it wasnt
that faggot rapping. I think the singles off the hook.
What about D12? Do you like their music?
No. I dont like any of that shit. I never listened to that shit.
I knew they were punks. They were all part of that Hip Hop Shop or whatever.
A bunch of emcees with backpacks battling each other... Fuck off!
Going back to "The Great Milenko," beyond the controversy, people
had to like what they were hearing on the album for it to go platinum.
What made that release so solid?
I think it was learning the game, learning how to work in the studio and
come up with ideas. And hearing juggalos and what they like and dont
like and mixing it in with the new music I was getting into just made
it all evolve into what it is now. As were going through, (were)
picking up things, applying them here and there. When you discover a new
sauce for your teriyaki burger, you learn that shits good and you
start eating that. You just start learning and you pick it up like a snowball.
Right now, were about a muthafuckin avalanche.
Psychopathic Records has got some of the best merchandising strategies
and product in the music industry. So many times, I like a particular
band but I cant even find a decent T-shirt of theirs to wear because
theyre all bland. When did you start putting out the shirts, hats,
jackets and all the rest of it?
It was always there. We never did it any other way. We always had massive
merchandise. We never said, Lets have massive merchandise.
We always assumed thats how you do it. We just assumed you have
25 different kinds of shirts. I always assumed every band did. I always
assumed every band, at their concerts, had 35 different kinds of shirts.
I just never looked. Now, I realize they dont. But thats just
always how we worked.
Take Kid Rock, for instance. I have all his albums, but he doesnt
have merchandise thats as cool as Psychopathics stuff. Why
wouldnt he have more merchandise for his fans when he could make
a ton of money from it?
Because none of his fans really give a fuck enough to buy his shirts.
Theyre all part-times. Theyre just radio fans. They dont
want to represent him like that. He doesnt mean enough to them.
When its on the radio or MTV, its everybodys. Its
not yours, its not personal, its not your discovery. Its
everybodys shit. Youre just a peon to them. People dont
feel the urge to represent Kid Rock and wear his shit, tattoo his name.
It seems like Im always seeing ICP fans wearing your T-shirts. What
does that mean to you?
I feel great because its all explained in the Sixth. People feel
the urge to represent it because theyre representing themselves.
Its a juggalo world. Its like we put it down for the juggalos.
Its all for the juggalos.
The Fifth Jokers Card was "The Amazing Jeckel Brothers."
What was your goal with that album being that youd just gone platinum
on your last one?
Our goal with the Jeckel Brothers was to say, Fuck it,
man. Were gonna show you just how we do things. Now that were
platinum, everybody (thought) are we gonna switch our sound up, are there
gonna be radio-friendly singles, whats the deal? Boom. The first
radio single is Fuck the World. We just showed everybody what
time it is, right up in their bitch ass. Two feet dropkick style.
What was your favorite song from the "Jeckel Brothers" album?
Man, theres so much dope shit on there. Play With Me,
thats the shit. Nothings Left, thats the
shit. There was a gang of bomb-ass shit on there.
The songs on "Jeckel Brothers" were great live as well as on
the album. Was that what you were aiming for?
Yes. Big time. Now, Im in a touring mode. Ever since Milenko,
its like, Man, I know how to rock a crowd. And thats
all I gave a fuck about that Im able to come out and that
A good number of ICP songs that never made it onto a Jokers Card
are still classics. How come you never did more with songs like "Pumpkin
Carver," "Fat Sweaty Betty" and "Southwest Strangla"?
We recorded gangs of songs on every album. Some of them just dont
fit into the formula, some of them just aint good enough, some of
them you just dont want to put on there. As an artist, you just
dont want to use that color. But you had the urge to make the song.
But it might not necessarily go on your pizza. The world is like a bitch
and I can finger-fuck her from the back, I can flick her nipples, I can
fuckin do what Im gonna do to her. But Im not gonna
go ahead and twist her nipples just yet. Im just gonna go ahead
and hit it from the back and spank her ass a lil somethin.
But Im gonna leave her left nipple alone. Tomorrow, Ill go
ahead and get again on that left nipple. Thats how it is when you
make songs and you make an album. You say, Im gonna hit them
up with this a little bit later on its own. This aint gonna be on
an album. You just feel when something dont belong there.
It aint right. You just cant stop thinking about it when it
Since you were a fan of Eshams music even before you knew him, what
are some of your favorite Esham albums?
Judgment Day, Dead Flowerz, just everything, bro.
Its a damn shame it took 10 years, but its a damn shame that
its the ending of this era. It was fun, we can write books about
it, make movies on it. Whatever. Its time to do our thing. Its all
fine and gravy. The struggle, Remember when Twiztid was House of
Krazees, blah, blah, blah. Its fine. Its interesting.
Its time to put the shit down.
You talk about the start of a new era. What do you picture the new era
Beautiful. Awesome. Like so much skins, man. So many bitches and just
so much weed and just rollin with my homies. Freshness. Were
all moving to the same neighborhood in Detroit so our girls can hang out
when were on tour. And were just gonna go out and fuck hoes
and make zeros and rock shows. After the Sixth is out and the cats
out of the bag about everything, we can make any kind of music we want.
And the freedom to just say, Fuck it. I can do anything I want now.
... We can come out with the Soopa Villains album anything we want.
Its the shit. Were finally all together, contract-wise, legitimately.
Its time to tell another story.
When you said earlier that the Sixth will mark the end of the world, are
you talking about the juggalo world or the Dark Carnival or something
Im talking about the mystery. Everything that is the mystery about
us, the Dark Carnival, everything. It all is exposed.
Where do you see your music career going after the Sixth? Will you be
rapping for another 10 years?
I see me making music for the rest of my life, straight up. Ill
be doing rap. Ill be rapping muthafuckas heads off. Whatever
styles come, Ill flip em. I smack emcees.
In terms of production, this will be the first Jokers Card and the
first ICP album without your longtime producer, Mike E. Clark. What is
the real story as far as the split between he and ICP?
Mike Clark and I parted ways just at the right time, man. He got a place
up north and hes doing his own thing now. Hes all to the good.
Hes off living his life. I love Mike and we have no beef or nothin.
Its just that, man, we needed a new sound, a new everything for
the Sixth Jokers Card.
Did you feel like you needed a new sound because of the "Bizaar"
and "Bizzar" albums that came out in 2000?
No. I loved "Bizaar" / "Bizzar." See, I could slap
you through the phone for that. I love everything I ever put out. I dont
regret none of it. I dont think Mike Clarks skills lacked.
I didnt think he had the ability to take us where we needed to go,
in the direction we needed to go.
Do you still talk to Mike Clark?
Not really. We never really talked outside the studio anyway. As much
as Ive known him throughout all the years, we never went on any
fuckin camping trips, believe me.
Is there any chance that you and Mike Clark would work together in the
Well, no because we do our own shit now. We dont really need him
for nothin. Mike Clark was an awesome thing, but some things run
You were quoted a few years back saying something like: Without Mike E.
Clark, our music would sound like crap. Is that accurate?
Oh, I said a gang of shit like that. Thats just giving Mike love.
Ive also said that I fucked Alyssa Milano and I have herpes in my
face. Ive said a lot of shit, brother. I dont regret any of
it. I was just giving Mike love, hoping Mike would read that and be like,
Oh, man. Hell, yeah.
But you meant it at the time, right?
I dont really think so because I just made the greatest album of
my life without Mike. Maybe I did mean it at the time. Maybe I thought
it. I probably did think it at the time.
All your friends who you name in your songs have become larger than life
in the juggalo world. Im talking about Billy Bill, Nate the Mack,
Rude Boy, Jump Steady, Tall Jess. What do you make of that?
Believe me, man. Come to the Gathering. Theyre fuckin famous.
Thats crazy, too. But that comes from old school Sir Mix-A-Lot,
when he would give his homies shout outs. I always thought it was the
shit. And youd always hear about Kilo G on N.W.A.s records.
So I was like, Im gonna give my boys shout outs. And
my boys are still my boys. They havent gone anywhere. Just because
times gone by, I still know my crew. We stay tight like that.
Through ICP shows and albums, youve introduced fans to rappers Greeze-E,
Capitol E, Marz, Project Born, Psycho Realm, Kottonmouth Kings and the
Phunk Junkeez. How come you dont work with these guys?
No. I dont do things with people that cant bring something
to the table anymore. I feel like Kottonmouth Kings sold the juggalo world
out when they toured with D12.
Project Born used to be on Psychopathic from 1994 to 95. Werent
they supposed to do a song for the Sixth?
We were gonna do a song with them, but then they opened their mouths up
and bragged about it to everybody and they fucked it up. We were gonna
do a song with everybody. We were gonna try to get Marz, everybody from
our past down to Capitol E on the Sixth Jokers Card.
We were gonna get everybody, but it all fucked up when they opened their
mouths up. They fucked the whole song up because the song wouldnt
complete without them. The whole idea was shot if anybody talked. They
were the first ones we called and they were the first ones to talk. So
thats how that went.
Is there any thought of possibly working with The R.O.C. from the House
No. Like I said, youve gotta be able to bring something to the table.
I think were done building our family. Its the shit right
now. Everybody that matters is here, as far as Im concerned, for
what we need to do.
I recently interviewed James Smith, Eshams older brother who used
to run the business side of Reel Life Productions. Will he have any involvement
with Psychopathic Records down the road?
No. I dont think so. Probably not. Well, he could be.
Why havent there been more than a few Esham and ICP collaborations
over the years?
Because we were from two different companies. After awhile, we were going
for our own and we were doing our thing.
Being that you and 2 Dope have signature voices, I wonder why ICP hasnt
collaborated with other artists, outside of the Psychopathic roster, more
often. Any ideas?
Because a lot of people dont want to fuck with us because were
so fuckin tarnished, man. ICPs got such a bad name. Radio
stations, magazines, everybody they hate us. Some fans in St. Louis
destroyed a radio station that was dissin us. Thats spread
everywhere. Radio stations dont even want to play our shit. And
then theres other
juggalos that call radio stations that do play us and say, Fuck
you. Dont play it. Its for us. Its crazy. Weve
got a really bad reputation thats spread through the management
to these artists. And they dont want to fuck with us. They dont
want to fuck with ICP
because theyre like, Man, thats just bad news.
But then theres other artists that dont give a fuck, like
Three 6 (Mafia) and shit, that are the bomb. Id rap on anybodys
shit if they asked us to.
What else would you like to say to all the ICP fans who are looking forward
to picking up the Sixth Jokers Card?
Man, 10 years. Ten fuckin years, man. Do you know how long that
is? Ten years, weve been tellin everybody to wait and its
worth every minute of it. Esham, ICP, Zug Izland, Blaze Ya Dead Homie,
Natas, Twiztid, Anybody Killa, the Psychopathic Records family, Dark Lotus,
the Psychopathic Rydas, Soopa Villains. Were all up in this bitch
balls deep, forever. Its the end of the world and the beginning
of a brand new one. Now lets ride this muthafucka till the wheels
fall off, in the words of Martin Lawrence. And Im out like Vanilla
Ices high-top wave hair.