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Album Review

The Calm, as in the calm before the storm. Shaggy 2 Dope's spoken introduction to Insane Clown Posse's 2005 EP refreshes the group's ongoing self-mythology. "After this short calm, a vicious storm will arrive," intones Shaggy, "We call this storm the tempest" — and a haunted house organ creaks as he describes towering winds peeling away forests to reveal spooky crop circle messages. Hey, is that Carnivàle's Brother Justin behind all that wicked clown makeup? Whatever Shaggy and Violent J have planned for the future, ICP's lyrical and musical tenets are mostly unchanged. J and Shaggy continue to follow the gangsta method of amplifying street-level grit into a violent hyper-reality, and their production is often just a serviceable frame for whatever social bile they want to spit. The Cypress Hill-ian "Rollin' Over" boasts equally about bodies in trunks and bodacious bedroom prowess, "Rosemary" is a dark murder fantasy with a twist at the end, and the Esham-guesting "Deadbeat Moms" hybridizes blaring apathy, gutter humor, and unscrupulous sexual politics. The Calm even satisfies the hardest-core Juggalos with screams about hatchet chops to the dome. In other words, it's a pretty typical Insane Clown Posse release, catering to a thriving niche and caring little for the rest. Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J are stridently self-promotional and unfailingly proud — "Like It Like That" says as much over a cut-up Jimmy Walker yelling "Dynamite!" — and "Crop Circles" sketches their intriguing-enough new storyline with talk of mysticism, star charts, and chariots of the gods.

Biography

Formed: 1990 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Insane Clown Posse are a cartoonish metal/rap band with a vaunted live show that features open fires, chain saws, liters of soda dousing the audience (Faygo being the group's favorite brand), and more emphasis on performance art than the performance of music. In the world of the late '90s, that was more than enough to get them a recording contract with a major label, though the release of their 1997 album, The Great Milenko, came with a bit of controversy. Now just a duo, ICP were originally formed...
Full Bio

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