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Insane Poetry

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Insane Poetry was one of the first horrorcore rap groups to emerge in hip-hop when they debuted with the underground single "Twelve Strokes Till Midnight" (1988) and offered their critically praised full-length debut, Grim Reality (1992). Blending horror flick-influenced surrealism with graphic, California-styled gangsta raps, the Los Angeles outfit had developed its own cult following before acts like Esham and Gravediggaz had got underway. Members of Insane Poetry came and went, but lead MC/producer Cyco (born Andrew Holiman) remained as the constant, creative drive maintaining the group's presence as horrorcore hip-hop became a mostly underground phenomenon in the new millennium. Cyco founded Insane Poetry in the late '80s with DJ Streek and Shakespear the One-Man Riot after he obtained a DJ residency at L.A. hip-hop radio station KDAY. The threesome's 1988 single "Twelve Strokes Till Midnight" placed Cyco in the right industry circles as he befriended Rodney O, known as part of old-school L.A. rap duo Rodney O & Joe Cooley. Rodney O helped bring IP (with new member Em-Dee in place of Shakespear) over to Sir Mix-a-Lot's Nastymix Records, who released their Grim Reality debut. Despite the favorable reception of the album and its cult-favorite single "How Ya Gonna Reason with a Psycho," Nastymix, whose roster was mainly club- and party-rap acts, didn't know what to do with the horrorcore group's maniacal image. Regardless, Nastymix folded, prompting IP (with Em-Dee now replaced by Pope) to record their second album, Blacc Plague (1996), for React/Polygram. Due to similar disagreements with Polygram in terms of promotion and support, IP departed the label. Except for a few 12"s and a three-track EP, Let 'Em Know (1999), IP was largely quiet during the late '90s. But as the L.A. underground hip-hop scene started to take off in the early 2000s, Cyco resurrected the group's name, collaborating with M-Boogie, Dilated Peoples, and Wake Up Show turntablist DJ Revolution. In 2001, Cyco co-founded Grim Reality Entertainment alongside producer Jason "JP" Pearl. With Cyco as the only remaining member, IP issued Faith in Chaos in 2003, followed by Fallen from Grace in 2007. ~ Cyril Cordor

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1988 in Los Angeles, CA

Years Active:

'80s, '90s, '00s