Showing posts with label gangs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gangs. Show all posts

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Insane Clown Posse: Branding Geniuses or Violent Gang Subculture?

ICP Fans, image from website
From both a musical and branding perspective, the Insane Clown Posse (often dubbed "ICP") are a bizarre phenomenon.

The ICP is a rap duo composed of Joseph Bruce and Joseph Utsler, who perform under the respective personas of the "wicked clowns" Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope.

The duo performs a style of hardcore hip hop known as horrorcore known for its elaborate live performances.  The duo has earned two platinum and five gold albums.

ICP may be counter-cultural, but they are very brand-conscious, and have developed an incredibly dedicated following of fans surrounding their musical genre.  They are no strangers to successful merchandising, either.

Logo on Tote Bag ($10 on ICP website)
For example, the band adopted the "FAYGO" brand soft drink, by referencing the relatively unknown Detroit-based soda brand in several songs.  The group's fans are widely credited with supporting the company.

ICP's hardcore fans, dubbed "Juggalos," are such a dedicated and cohesive subculture that the FBI recently categorized them as organized criminals.

The FBI's 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment report identified Juggalos as a "hybrid gang" akin to violent groups like the Crips and Bloods.

But ICP is now fighting back for its beleaguered fans, by filing a civil lawsuit against the FBI for unlawful discrimination.

The lawsuit seeks to stop the FBI from "violat[ing] the rights of Juggalos on the mistaken belief that they are 'gang members,'" according to a statement posted on a new website,

Being labeled a "gang member" can result in much harsher penalties for certain crimes, according to the Justice Department’s National Gang Center.

To fight back, the Insane Clown Posse’s new website is offering a free legal review to any ICP fan who may have been profiled or harassed.  Fans can fill out a form online, for potential inclusion in the lawsuit.

“We’re not attacking the FBI, but they got this wrong,” Bruce said in a statement. “The Juggalos are not a gang, and that needs to be fixed."

The lawsuit is “probably the biggest announcement of our career,” the duo said via Twitter.  “Yes we’re nervious [sic].”

It seems that even wicked clowns are scared of litigation.